492. ‘Wish Saemaul Geumgo Cooperative Movement to become seeds of hope in Myanmar’

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“Myanmarese competent participants took education on Saemaul Geumgo Movement”

Nine former and current officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation of Myanmar visited Saemaul Geumgo and took training workshop to promote Saemaul Geumgo Movement in Myanmar. Saemaul Geumgo development model has two pillars. One is sustainable financial development stressing savings and the other is self-help development highlighting cooperative principle. The workshop was implemented from 22th August to 2nd September. It consisted of principle utilizing cooperative features, establishment and organization, savings, loans, accounting of Saemaul Geumgo. Thanks to their voluntary participation and discussion, textbooks were successfully published based on Myanmar circumstances.

“Myanmar farmers suffered from usurious loans and poverty”

Myanmar is the nation with high growth potential which has more than a five-thousand-year history, a mere 10 percent of illiteracy rate(2014 Burma Census), affluent natural resource like oil and gas. However, its GDP per capita is still 1,221 dollars(2015 World Bank), and poverty rate is a whopping 26 percent(2015 UNDP). It is one of the poorest nation in the world. In the past, banks like Myanmar Agriculture Development Bank(MADB) provided opportunities of taking loans and savings to poor farmers, but they stopped it after bank system collapsed in 2003. Officially only 1 to 3 percent of people take loans from banks, most poor farmers take loans with annual interest rates of 60 to 240 percent from private lenders, brokers and relatives.

“Saemaul Geumgo was seeds for rural development and poverty eradication in Korea”

In the meantime, Korea’s rural area also suffered from chronic poverty, financial isolation, usurious loans in the 1960s. Saemaul Geumgo was the one which played a pivotal role like seeds to reduce rural poverty by raising funds from savings and investing it in income generation activities. By saving rice and money, making it habit of saving, lending money to people in need, and investing funds in income generation activities planned by community itself, Saemaul Geumgo created a virtuous cycle of ‘savings→loans→investment→savings’. In addition, Saemaul Geumgo was established voluntarily and its decision was made on their own, so village people welcomed it and nurtured a spirit of independence.

“Wish Saemaul Geumgo Movement spread seeds of hope throughout Myanmar”

Myanmar former and current officials who successfully completed the workshop will start lectures to Myanmar village leaders in Myanmar Saemaul Undong Academy at Yangon in this October. In addition, KFCC(Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives) plans to support the establishment and operation of Saemaul Geumgo, and promote Saemaul Geumgo Movement to make seeds of hope become beautiful blossom. Former president of Thalyin Cooperative University, Mr. Thein Tun said, “Saemaul Geumgo development model based on savings is what Myanmar really needs, so I will modify and supplement it and make it take strong root in Myanmar, contributing to the Myanmar rural development”. We wish this small step of education can create big change in Myanmar rural development.

Author of this story
Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives
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