Development workers trained on Culture in Development

Culture in Development Training for Development Workers; Gulu, 28-30 May 2019


Since 2006, CCFU has focused on building a knowledge base on the inter-connectivity between culture and development, and developed training packages for corporate institutions, civil society, government agencies and other development practitioners on a “Culture in Development” approach. The Foundation has also sought to propagate a cultural dimension to emerging trends in the world of development in the Ugandan context by devising projects tailored to the beneficiaries’ cultural identities and aspirations.

Under CCFU’s Diakonia-funded project which aims at enhancing the empowerment of women using culturally defined rights in Acholi and Lango, the Foundation set out to sensitise development workers, including local government technical and political officials as well as members of the civil society on the role of culture in development through a 3-day training. The training was held from Tuesday 28 to Thursday 30 May 2019, at Hotel Pearl Afrique in Gulu, with some fieldwork in Awonyim, Angany and Adak areas of Pawel Chiefdom.

Training objectives

The training aimed at enabling participants to:

  1. Acquire a general understanding of the “Culture in Development” approach, its rationale and main principles
  2. Be introduced to a culturally-informed approach to gender issues
  3. Become conversant with selected Culture in Development methodological tools
  4. Have an opportunity to practice Culture in Development tools in field sessions
  5. Reflect on the relevance – if any – of a Culture in Development approach in their practice

Summary of training sessions

Day 1:

Day 1 of the training focused on creating an understanding of the concept of culture, and the “culture in development” approach. The “culture in development” approach one that “recognises and builds upon and integrates positive aspects of culture in all spheres of development; uses practical examples to illustrate the value of culture in development (as a resource); and acknowledges and manages the challenges associated with achieving synergy between ‘modern’ and the ‘traditional’”. The session explored the porous relation between culture and development aspirations, and concluded that where the two meet is where the concept of “culture in development’ would have been applied. Seven CiD principles were shared, including recognising culture as a resource; appreciating the positive aspect of culture; recognising negative cultural practices; managing change; fostering respect, tolerance and harmony; building on the existing for sustained benefits; appreciating cultural diversity as a source of wealth.

In a session on culture and personal identity, participants’ attention was drawn to the multiple layers of an individual’s identities and relations, for example by one can be a parishioner in his or her religion, the head of a family position, identify with a certain or several ethnicities, and a looked-up-to member of the community, etc. Realising such layers, participants agreed that no single approach can be sufficient in relating with an individual, let alone a community. The participants explored a cultural approach to understanding poverty and well-being, contrasted with economic values.

CCFU shared some fieldwork tools for carrying out a cultural baseline on different themes, and the participants spent the afternoon using these tools to prepare for the following days fieldwork, with three themes:

  1. Cultural resources for preserving the environment and addressing climate change
  2. Gender as a cultural controversy – a case of traditional governance
  3. The cultural provisions and resources for addressing child marriage and early pregnancy

Day 2:

During day 2 of the training, participants went to the field to trial test the tools which had been shared. One group met with male and female elders to discuss gender as a cultural controversy; another one met women and girls to discuss the cultural provisions and resources for addressing child marriage and early pregnancy; while the third group met with a mixed group of respondents to discuss cultural resources for preserving the environment and addressing climate change.

The participants shared their reflections from the field, most of which indicated bodies of knowledge embedded in taboos, practices, norms and customs that provide answers to challenges emerging in our communities and across the globe.

Day 3:

Day 3 focused more on appropriating culture to the achievement of gender parity. Participants discussed two themes: Gender, culture and politics; and Gender, culture and human rights. Participants explored the different ways they can make use of cultural practices for positive use, and the ways to mitigate any challenges caused by harmful practices especially by engaging the community which harbours such cultures.

Culture in Development: an action oriented training

Participants made their post-training plans on whose progress CCFU will need to check with them after 3-4 months.

  1. Sensitise the community on how to embrace culture within different development aspects
  2. Sensitise cultural leaders to put more women in their cultural leadership structures
  3. To continue to fight early marriages and pregnancies
  4. To sensitise the youth not to abandon culture because of modernisation
  5. Incorporate the CiD approach in our training programmes
  6. Include concepts of culture in proposal development for a comprehensive course of action and implementation
  7. Incorporate culture and CiD in our awareness radio programmes
  8. Outside my day job, this session will help a lot while educating people on the relevance of culture in regards to our health.
  9. Share the knowledge acquired with my colleagues at work
  10. Strengthen my advocacy on embracing culture
  11. Inclusion of cultural leaders in the activities we do
  12. Initiate a cultural drama group
  13. Planning development activities taking into consideration the cultural resources available
  14. Engage cultural leaders in Abim district on reducing teenage pregnancies and mitigating climate change
  15. Engage community leaders (sub county steering committee) in ending child marriage using the CiD approach
  16. Engage cultural leaders to revive good cultural practices
  17. Passing on the knowledge to fellow staff
  18. Continuous engagement with cultural leaders to demystify some of the negative traditional practices
  19. Incorporating cultural rights in the peace-building and conflict resolution thematic area of our organisation

List of participants

SN Name Institution
1. Francis Lokwiya Coordinator, ARLPI
2. Sharon Awor GWEDG – Gulu
3. Jackline Atim HURIFO
4. Alice Bongomin Acholi Education Initiative
5. Aciro Teddy Luwar District Woman Councillor
6. Allan Humphrey Nyero Acholi Education Initiative
7. Kevin Aciro Gulu NGO Forum
8. Kakanyero Brenda Claudia KIWEPI – ED
9. Delima Rose Ayoo Acholi Youth Suistanable Development – Kitgum
10. Doris Abalo Project Research Assistant
11. Mike Obwoya ODOWOL – Lamwo
12. George Nyeko Acholi Cultural Revival Group
13. Jakeo Ocan CDO Lamwo
14. Paul Kilama Senior CDO Lamwo
15. Nancy Akidi ActionAid Uganda – Lira
16. Oliver Achola Probation Office, Lira
17. Define Auma Lira NGO Forum
18. James Omara Elem Youth Chairperson, Lira
19. Beatrice Akelo Programme Manager, Child Restoration Outreach
20. Sophia Odyek Foundation for Integrated Rural Development
21. Sam Odongo Community Liaisons Office, Lira
22. Alice Aria OC, Child & Family Protection Unit
23. Tonny Abet GLOFORD Uganda
24. Andrew Emuna Project Research Assistant
25. Teopista Kizza AYDL
26. Okot Philips Ongom Ker Kwaro Palwo
27. Jennifer Anek Female Youth Councilor, Lamwo
28. Andrew Arnold Ocen Dynamic, Lira
29. Peter Fred Erwondo Youth Councilor, Lamwo
30. Dorine Lakomekech Chairperson, Lamwo
31. Joanita Ayenyo Refugee Law Project
32. Stephen Adea Lira District Local Government
33. Jovia Aciro KKA, Kitgum
34. Lillian Ajok Programme Officer, Children & Women First Organisation
35. Acan Carol Gloria Female Youth Councillor, Lira
36. John De Coninck CCFU
37. Amoni Kitooke CCFU