Culture

Culture is the way of life a particular people or society especially as shown in their ordinary behavior, habits, norms, beliefs and attitudes toward each other. Culture has also been defined as the complex whole of knowledge, wisdom, values, attitudes, customs and multiple resources which a person and community have inherited, adopted or created in order to flourish in the context of their social and natural environment[1].

Culture is seen as a robust determinant of food security and its influence on what society considers acceptable for consumption. Food and nutrition security in Uganda is influenced by cultural norms, beliefs and attitudes.[2] This has led to increased demand for food crops among marketers. It has further led to a change in the food basket of consumable and export products to the regional markets.  In addition, culture has positively increased students interest in education. Research has also shown that the use of mother tongue enhances retention of knowledge and interest in learning among pupils. For instance, government in 2007 embraced the local language instrument to spur primary level literacy and numeracy. According to the National Assessment of progress in Education (NAPE), in 2015 at grade 3, 71.7 percent of the pupils acquired high level of numeracy competencies and 60.2 percent in literacy in English compared to 2006 where the relevant indicators registered 45.6 percent and 42.6 percent respectively.

In Uganda today, culture has over supplemented health care services. This has given birth to more practitioners of traditional medicine compared to the allopathic doctors. About 70 percent of Ugandans use the services of traditional practioners for healing and herbal medicines[3]. For instance, due to the increasing number of users of herbal medicines, government through the Ministry of Health, set up the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Laboratory to study the therapeutic potential of natural products deemed efficacious for human consumption. 

However, culture on the other hand can hamper development. For instance, the aspect of communal land ownership has hindered both individual and public investments. Examples can be evidently seen in the recent conflicts in Apaa and Amuru land struggles.

In addition, cultural structures, systems and practices have led to gender inequalities especially where women are less entitled to ownership of land yet they constitute the majority of the agricultural labor force.

 

[1] Think piece on culture and Development; The cross-cultural foundation of Uganda

[2] The relationship between cultural norms and food security in the Karamoja sub-region in Uganda.

[3] Think piece on culture and Development; The cross-cultural foundation of Uganda