Trans-Local Government Collaboration as an Approach for International Development Assistance: The Saemaul Globalization Project in Balincaguing Village, Philippines

  • Marvin Renelle Rollo
Keywords: local government, collaborative governance, international development assistance, Saemaul Undong, rural development


The implementation of development programs in rural areas has continued to be one of the most problematic responsibilities for international assistance and development agencies around the world. Neoliberal development policies have failed to resolve the urgent problems of reducing inequality and eradicating poverty, while current trends in international development assistance are yet to obtain sustainable and beneficial results. Consequently, a non-traditional instrument for international development assistance has drawn attention for researchers and policymakers. This approach is characterized by the active involvement and collaboration of local governments from around the world, otherwise known as ‘decentralized development cooperation’, hereinafter, ‘trans-local government collaboration’. At the very core, this paper aims to examine this approach though the case study of the Saemaul Globalization Project (SGP) in Balincaguing village, collaboratively implemented between the provincial government of North Gyeongsang, South Korea, and the municipal government of San Felipe, Zambales, The Philippines. The SGP is a comprehensive rural development project that originates from South Korea’s Saemaul Undong (New Village Movement), promoting sense of ownership and self-reliance among the beneficiaries. In terms of the provision of livelihood opportunities, construction of infrastructures, capacity-building, and skills and technology transfer, the project is deemed as a success during its implementation from 2012 to 2016. Hence, this paper hypothesizes that the successful implementation and administration of SGP in Balincaguing village is a result of the effective trans-local collaboration between the local governments of North Gyeongsang and San Felipe. With the success of SGP in Balincaguing village, this paper suggests that an effective trans-local government collaboration is a supplemental approach for international development assistance and a determining factor in the successful implementation of development programs in rural areas.


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How to Cite
Rollo, M. R. (2021). Trans-Local Government Collaboration as an Approach for International Development Assistance: The Saemaul Globalization Project in Balincaguing Village, Philippines. Thai Journal of East Asian Studies, 25(1), 43-63. Retrieved from
Research Article