Until the late 1960’s, the situations of Korea were worst in the rural area. Most farming houses couldn’t afford to buy food, so they did not have enough to eat. Young children had to give hands for farming instead of going to school. The gap between urban and rural areas kept broadening. The farmers were tired and exhausted of poverty and alienation. They hardly had any will of reformation. Besides they didn’t have any hope for their life to be better.
The government of Korea couldn’t expect any progress of the nation and couldn’t take the responsibility of supporting rural communities. The only possible breakthrough was the awakening and participation of people.Thus, the government proposed Saemaul Undong in rural communities to inspire the people and lead them into the progress of rural communities.
Saemaul Undong (SMU) refers to ‘‘New Village Movement”. The villagers build their villages to improve quality of life based on the SMU spirit by themselves, of the villagers and for the villagers. SMU spirit means diligence, self-help and cooperation. Saemaul Undong is basedon self-reliant decision-making through the process of planning, implementation, evaluation, and feedback to the next phase.