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Korea vows ongoing helping hand for rural development

The Korean government is continuing to back rural development in Laos with the aim of supporting the country’s efforts to graduate from Least Developed Country status.
The Korean government’s rural development project is concentrating on the capital Vientiane and villages in the provinces of Vientiane and Savannakhet, using the Korean model of Saemaul Undong by focusing on local people’s participation.

Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Laos, Mr Shin Sung-soon, told media in Vientiane last week “Currently, we are implementing 30 pilot projects in rural development. In this, 13 projects are being implemented in Vientiane province and 17 projects in Savannakhet province.”
“Next year, we will implement rural development projects in Champassak, Xekong and Saravan provinces with the expected budget being US$12 million,” he said.
“Rural development assistance encourages people to participate in development projects themselves,” Ambassador Shin Sung-soon said. The Lao government highly values the Saemaul Undong initiative and has commended the Republic of Korea for the remarkable achievements it has made since the 1970s. This has been a good model for rural development and poverty eradication methods being applied in many developing countries, including Laos.
In Laos, the Korea Saemaul Undong Centre is running a project from 2009-2019 in the seven villages of Lingxan, Choum, Chaeng, Hatxay, Phonhae, Nakaeo and Nakhong in Thoulakhom district, Vientiane province, and in Pakthaep village in the capital’s Sangthong district.
In addition, the Korean government has granted Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Laos, notably in areas relating to rural development, education and health, which has contributed significantly to socio-economic development in Laos.
Every year, the Korean government provides support to financially disadvantaged and diligent university students under the project “Capacity Building on Community-Rural Development Based on Sam Sang and Saemaul Undong Directives”.
Special assistance from the Korean government has also been given following flooding caused by the collapse of a dam at the Xe-Pien Xe-Namnoy hydro project in Sanamxay district, Attapeu province, last year.
Support provided for the recovery effort has included the dispatch of Korean emergency teams on three occasions along with other forms of donation.
A Korean Disaster Relief Team composed of medics, nurses and support staff was sent and KOICA volunteers to Laos supported the team and provided treatment for 2,430 displaced people, according to staff at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to Laos.
They also donated medicines, medical equipment and relief supplies such as blankets, clothing and sanitary items to people in Sanamxay district.

By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update March 11, 2019)

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