Indigenous Community Development Practices as a Substratum in Designing Poverty Alleviation Policies for Ghana: Lessons from South Korea’s Saemaul Movement

Duke O. Ofosu-Anim, Seung-Hee Back


Saemaul Movement was a community-based rural poverty alleviation policy of South Korea in the 1970s which contributed to ending poverty in rural communities. Its success can be attributed to how Koreans made use of indigenous community practices in policy design. The objective of the research was to evaluate the adaptation of Saemaul in Ghana, focusing on similarities in economic conditions and indigenous practices. The research utilised literature, interviews, and observations as the basis of methodology. The research findings revealed that the rural economic conditions in South Korea before Saemaul Movement was introduced was very similar to Ghana’s current rural economic indicators, which presents a reliable basis for comparative analysis on adaptation of Saemaul Movement in Ghana. Interviewees made a case for replicability of SM in Ghana. The results point to the existence of many similar indigenous rural community development practices which are prevalent in both case countries, and a possibility of developing poverty alleviation policies in Ghana based on existing indigenous practices as evidenced in the South Korean Saemaul Movement case. The researchers conclude that for poverty alleviation policies to work in Ghana, efforts in policy design must be based on utilising existing indigenous practices of rural communities.

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