Saemaul Undong refers to any community development movement, which builds a village or community to improve villagers’ quality of life based on the spirits of diligence, self-help and cooperation, and approaches by the villagers, of the villagers and for the villagers. Saemaul Undong is also based
on self-reliant decision-making through the process of planning, implementation, evaluation, and feedback to the next phase.

Goals of Saemaul Undong

  • Develop a modern, comfortable and convenient social community.
  • Establish companies that workers can be proud of and where sustained growth is achieved in a cooperative and trusting working environment.
  • Develop and maintain sound and healthy society whose members are able to enjoy pleasant and intimate relationships.
  • Build a continuously improving nation that we can be proud of.

Saemaul Undong's Guiding Spirit

  • Diligence
    The spirit in which we individually or all together bear responsibility in daily life, and thereby we can do our best to enjoy feeling rewarded.
  • Self-help
    The spirit in which we dedicate ourselves to our duty and role without relying on others and overcome any difficulty on our own, and thereby we can stand on our own stances.
  • Cooperation
    The spirit in which members of a community work together spiritually and physically to achieve a shared goal, and thereby we can harmonize groups or communities for the common prosperity.

Five Steps of Saemaul Undong

Step 1:

  • Three arrangements for the start: People, Seed Money, Basic Principles Forming a Core Group 1: Leaders
  • Forming a Core Group 2: Cooperative working
  • Forming a Core Group 3: Applying existing organization
  • Forming a Core Group 4: Sectional organizations
  • Raising Seed Money 1: Through sample cooperative project
  • Raising Seed Money 2: By cooperative work

Step 2:
Operation ofProjects

  • Principles and standards for selecting project
  • Planning a project
  • Persuading villagers 1: Set a model to villagers
  • Persuading villagers 2: "You can do it." Present results
  • Collecting consensus 1: Small group meetings
  • Collecting consensus 2: General meeting of villagers
  • Let everybody plays a part
  • Prepare and manage public property
  • Preparing center
  • Encouraging each other
  • We are one living creature. Let blood circulate
  • Getting assistance from outside

Step 3:
Main Stage ofProject

  • Project 1 for living environment improvement: Eliminate inconveniences of the houses
  • Project 2 for living environment improvement: Eliminate inconveniences of the village
  • Project 3 for living environment improvement: Create an environment needed for income increase
  • Project 1 for income increase: Remove the obstacles
  • Project 2 for income increase: Launch cooperative projects
  • Project 3 for income increase: Commercialize things around you
  • Project 4 for income increase: Introduce something new
  • Project 5 for income increase: Modify distributive construction
  • Project 6 for income increase: Operating factory
  • Consolidating community 1: Revise good morals and manners and extirpate evil practices
  • Consolidating community 2: Providing culture center and facilities
  • Consolidating community 3: Residents' credit union movement

Step 4:
Final Stage ofProject

  • Share results and celebrate success
  • Share long term prospects
  • Stabilization of joint funds
  • Active sectional organizations
  • Regularizing meetings for technology research
  • Establishing village hall
  • Publishing local newspaper
  • Establishing partnership with other regions and government offices
  • Setting up sisterhood relationship with foreign countries

Step 5:
Feedback atNational Level

  • Creation of a favorable environment by the Korean government
  • Provision of supplies and funds by the Korean government
  • Comprehensive government support system
  • Intensive information and technology education Saemaul Training Center

Development by Stage

Stage Priority Projects Characteristics GNP per capital
Foundation & Groundwork (1970~73) Improve Living Environments: expand roads inside villages, construct laundry facilities, improve roofs Increase Income: expand agricultural roads, improve farmland and seeds, divide labor Attitude Reform: diligence, frugality, cooperative atmosphere Launching and igniting the campaign Government-initiated activitiesTop priority on improving living environment 257 in 1970
375 in 1973
Proliferation (1974~76) Increasing Income: straighten rice field ridges, consolidate creeks, encourage combined farming, operate common working places, identify non-agricultural income sources Attitude Reform: Saemaul education and public relation activities
Improve Living Conditions: housing, water supply
Expanding program scope and functions Increasing income and changing attitudes Earning national understanding and consensus 402 in 1974
765 in 1976
Energetic Implementation (1977~79) Rural Areas: modern housing, special purpose plant
Urban Areas: paving alleys, cleaning Corporations and Factories: higher productivity, material conservation, sound labor management
Larger units of implementation by developing Linkages among villages in the same region Economies of scale Appearance of distinct unit characteristics 966 in 1977
1,394 in 1976
Overhaul (1980~89) Promote Cooperative Social Atmosphere: kindness, order, selflessness, cooperation Economic Development: combined farming, distribution improvement, credit union activities Improve Living Environment: clean roads, develop parks, build better access roads Reborn as a private sector-organization Dividing the role between government and Private sectors Escape from inactivity and contraction 1,507 in 1980
4,934 in 1989
Autonomous Growth (1990~98) Sound Atmosphere: develop traditional cultures, emphasize hard work and sound lifestyles, recovermoral ethics Economic Stability: economic recovery, urban-rural direct trade, diligence, frugality Improve Living Environment: cultivating better community environment, emphasizing autonomous living Reinforcing the basis of autonomy and self-reliance Meeting the need for liberalization and localization Efforts to overcome economic crisis 5,503 in 1990
10,548 in 1996
Second Phase Saemaul Undong (1998~2006) Mental Reform: build morals and a sense of citizenship
Improve Living Environment: revive the rural economy, protect living environment Social Security: help poor neighbors
Promote morals and achieve spiritual reform Build a warm community International Cooperation Business 15,830 in 2005