Global Peace Foundation – Korea announced that it will expand the All-Lights Village Project to Cambodia later this year. GPF-Korea President Kyung Eui Yoo met with Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chay Ly during his trip to Cambodia in March where the two agreed to move forward with the international development project. The partnership is based upon a mutual agreement to focus on community and national development. President Yoo told Korean media outlet NewsIs, “All-Lights Villages is not simply a project to construct independent villages. It is a project for national reconstruction.”
The All-Lights Village Project is bringing aid of a new kind. In partnership with national and municipal governments and local leadership, the All-Lights Village Project is cultivating grassroots development driven by local ownership. This is a significant step away from drop-and-go aid, and a move towards locally responsive sustainable development. The work on the first village in Cambodia will begin in July. By next year, the hope is to establish villages across the nation.
The Korean and Cambodian experience share some similarities. Cambodia is still recovering from a civil conflict still fresh in its memory. It has not fully recovered from the scars of war and genocide. Similarly, even though South Korea has risen at a remarkable pace into the ranks of the developed world over the past 60 years, the shadow of an ongoing civil conflict with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea looms heavily along the 38th parallel.
Much like South Korea during her rapid growth after the Korean War, according to Least Developed Countries (LCD) Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Cheick Sidi Diarra, “Cambodia’s top asset is its human resources.” Under-Secretary-General Diarra told the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries in 2011 that Cambodia has the potential to see development enough to get out of being an LDC, provided it can properly harness and cultivate its human resources.
President Yoo acknowledged that these shared experiences may prove useful as GPF-Korea bring the All-Lights Villages to Cambodia. He said, “The All-Lghts Village Project is a way to bring the unique Korean experience of industrialization and democratization to regions in the world in a localized manner.” Through All-Lights Villages, GPF-Korea is building partnerships with Korean citizens, businesses and corporations in order to provide development tools for developing nations. President Yoo hopes to eventually bring retired veterans of Korea’s industrial boom to consult local All-Lights Village leaders.
The All-Lights Village Project was created to “build villages that embody the vision of ‘One Family under God’.” The project begins with providing off-the-grid villages with solar powered lanterns and streetlights. The long-term venture includes education, economic and livelihood capacity building and community development programs that aim to create self-reliant, sustainable, and happy communities. The values embodied in the vision of “One Family under God” provide strong ethical foundations for good governance and shared prosperity for all members of the village.