South Korea: African officials value Saemaeul Movement

George Sempeho, an official for the U.N. Millennium Village Project in Africa, delivers a speech on the Saemaeul Movement at KOICA headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. / Courtesy of KOICA

Officials from African nations involved in an U.N. project to fight poverty and develop economies across the continent found the Saemaeul Movement to be "extremely practical" during their stay here, according to the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Tuesday.

A total of 19 manger-level officials from Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal — participated in a program offered by KOICA, a foreign assistance organization, to promote adoption of Korea's rural development campaign from the 1970s.

KOICA invited the participants, who work under the U.N. Millennium Village Project (MVP), from
July 17 to Tuesday for them to learn the principles of Saemaeul Movement back in their countries. The Korean government introduced the campaign to modernize the country's rural areas and accelerate industrialization.

"I hope the program we offered serves as a stepping stone for the participants to bring their people together and develop their respective country step by step," KOICA President Kim Young-mok said.

Mwanika Francis from Uganda said he will promote the idea of a "can do spirit" when he returns home.

"I plan to designate several model towns to practice the Samaeul Movement and let them compete and benchmark each other to draw out the best result," Francis said.

George Sempeho from Tanzania said he found one of the campaign slogan, "Start small, beginning right now," impressive.

"Just like the slogan, I'd like to change the mindsets of our people in a positive way," he said.

By Yi Whan-woo
Source: Korea Times