Kampala-The South Korean government is set to roll out a three-year strategic Saemaul Undong (SMU) development strategy countrywide after successful trials in four of the 123 districts.
The SMU concept, adopted in South Korea in 1970, is a community development approach that recognises a village as a unit of development, which promotes self-help and collaboration.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Prof Jin Kwang, the president Korea Saemaul Undong Centre, said the model has worked for the developing countries that have adopted it.
“The Saemaul Undong rural growth programme was a miraculous development in South Korea which both the UN and Unesco [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation] have endorsed as the best strategy to combat poverty in many parts of the world it has been tested,” he said, citing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America where it has reduced poverty.
Prof Kwang said when the programme was introduced in South Korea in the 1960s, it increased labour productivity both in rural areas and factories.
“This programme targets the poorest in the community and shows them that they can also develop using the resources around them by empowering them to belong to community, diligence, identification of the problems and they decide what to do and where to do it,” he said.
The concept was launched in Uganda 10 years ago.
The Local Government Minister, Mr Tom Butime, during a recent convention in South Korea called for the rolling out of the programme to other districts.
Ms Assumpta Ikiriza Tibamwenda, the technical adviser programme support Ministry of Local Government, said the concept was introduced to Maracha, Luuka Kabarole and Bunyangabo districts in 2013.
Ms Tibamwenda said the communities have created transformational projects which have helped them to start agricultural value addition projects, mechanisation of agriculture and small-scale irrigation.