Promoting a ‘Culture in Development’ approach

“Culture in Development” refers to the selective and voluntary integration of diverse positive cultural resources (values, principles, beliefs, bodies of knowledge and skills) into development thinking and practice. It entails analysing the interface between “traditional” and “modern” thought, negotiating and compromising in order to define development that results in meaningful social, political and economic transformation.
‘Culture in development’ assumes a willingness to understand and appreciate the “rights of the other” to define and defend their worldview and thus entails respect and tolerance; seeking engagement rather than dominance.
To demonstrate our belief that development can only be sustained if culture is fully taken into account, we highlight local initiatives that illustrate experiences where cultural resources have been used to address development challenges in addition to training and advocacy work.

1. Research and documentation

So far, CCFU has published several case studies that explore culture in relation to Governance, Languages, HIV/AIDS, Education, Gender, Social Protection, Herbal Medicine and Economic Profit, among others. These case studies can be accessed online and in the CCFU Reading Room.

2. 'Culture in development’ training

CCFU has often been confronted with the questions: “How do you integrate culture in existing development programmes?” and in response, the Foundation designed a 10-day intensive training cycle. This 2-module course provides knowledge on cultural concepts and approaches, and tests culture-specific field tools and cultural analysis frameworks. A “Culture in Development” training guide for development practitioners has been developed and its second edition launched in 2016. In 2015, a guide on “Designing and Implementing Heritage Development Plans in Districts and Communities” was produced as well.
CCFU also supports individual organisations to integrate culture in their existing programmes and approaches. This could be in the form of training workshops, write-shops or reflection events, depending on the desired outcome. So far, CCFU has worked with NGOs, governments agencies and others in Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe to develop their ‘culture in development’ practice through training, accompaniment and mentoring.

3. Influencing perceptions on ‘culture in development’

CCFU works with like-minded organisations to promote a positive perception of culture and to demonstrate its value from different perspectives.

CCFU, in collaboration with the Bayimba Cultural Foundation, the Arterial Network and the Uganda National Cultural Centre, the Uganda Artists’ Association and House of Talent for instance launched the first ever Culture and Arts Conference.

The Foundation has participated in numerous events and conferences to advocate for a “culture in development” approach, starting with the Commonwealth Heads of State Conference held in Kampala in 2007, engagements with the National Planning Authority, the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and many others. Sample articles are available here