Our work in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

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Our work in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Concern Worldwide’s work in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) mainly focuses on improving food security and nutrition, water and sanitation, responding to emergencies and building resilience. We currently work in four provinces – Kangwon, North Hwanghae, South Hwanghae, South Pyongan – and in Pyongyang district. In 2015, our programmes directly helped 121,742 people.

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Improving food security and nutrition

Sustainable food production

In 2015, Concern worked on improving livelihoods and nutrition on 46 farms across 14 counties in four provinces.

We are helping to increase sustainable food production by establishing community-based greenhouses, irrigation systems, and goat’s milk and soya bean processing facilities. We also help local people to increase their technical and management skills through training, exchange visits and attending conferences.

Improved techniques

We have introduced conservation agriculture techniques which help increase crop yields, reduce soil erosion and reduce the amount of labour required to produce food.  We are improving crop storage facilities to help reduce post-harvest crop losses, and are conducting crop trials for improved varieties of crops.  Our programmes also supply food processing equipment to the cooperative farms so that they can process their crops into nutritious and easily digestible foods like popped maize or soy noodles.

Pak Yon Chun, farm manager, is happy to see the good harvest thanks to a portable irrigation system installed by Concern. Photo taken by Concern Worldwide.

Water and environmental health

A large part of our work focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene promotion. In many parts of DPRK, people have to walk long distances to access safe drinking water. There is a lack of proper sanitation facilities leading to the spread of diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases.

Improving water provision

Concern helps provide clean drinking water supplies to communities by constructing gravity-fed and solar pumped water systems. We also help communities to build latrines, especially in institutions such as schools, kindergartens, nurseries and hospitals. In 2015, we worked with seven farms in four towns and 13,667 people directly benefitted from improved water and sanitation facilities thanks to our programme.

Jong Hyon Hwa from Daesong Ri, Singye County in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea benefits from a household water supply provided by Concern. Photo taken by Concern Worldwide.

Coping with drought in 2015

Heavily-reduced rainfall led to drought in spring/summer 2015, severely impacting on the DPRK's crop production and affecting sanitation and hydro-power energy generation.

We responded to this emergency by providing over 100 portable water pumps. These helped both farms in our projects and their neighbours to ensure the rice seedling survived in sufficient quantities. We also rehabilitated 16 winter greenhouses.

Building resilience

Our programmes help to build families’ assets, and diversify livelihoods, which contributes to reducing vulnerability and building resilience. We’re working with communities on projects related to  conservation agriculture, expanding growing seasons with greenhouses, crop and food processing, reducing the effects of water borne diseases to ultimately reduce their vulnerability.

Concern works with rural communities to build their resilience to natural disasters such as flooding or drought. We support them to improve reforestation, improve water conservation and develop disaster preparedness plans. In 2015, Concern established two Early Warming Systems (EWS) which collects data such as temperature, precipitation and soil moisture and assesses anticipated weather and disaster risks. This information will increase cooperative farms’ resilience to hazards and guide farmers on how they can mitigate against disasters.


Our work in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is supported by the European Commission, Irish Aid, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, as well as other donors.

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