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Uganda: Analysis

Uganda: Analysis

 

Although Uganda was under British colonial rule for over 70 years, cultural diplomacy was still very much a big part of Uganda. With its 65 indigenous communities, there is no doubt that some kind of cultural diplomacy had to be exercised in order for these communities to coexist. Preserving the population’s different cultural identities has been a government priority even after the country’s independence in 1962. This can be observed in Article 37 of the Ugandan constitution, which states that every individual has the right to belong to, practice and promote their culture. The Ugandan government’s understanding of the importance of respecting the country’s different cultural identities is essential, especially as they are geographically placed in a region where neighbouring countries have been torn apart due to cultural differences.

The Ugandan government’s participation and collaboration with the four projects that have been investigated demonstrate the country’s acknowledgement of the efforts made to promote cultural diplomacy. Government participation is extremely important in order for these cultural projects to have a deeper and more long-lasting impact on the Ugandan community. Although there are many organisations that choose to work independently from the government, it would seem as if this is a disadvantage, since the Ugandan government visibly recognizes the efforts made by these organisations, and is more than willing to support them both politically and financially.

The wide range of projects shows how the Ugandan government, in partnership with civil society and the international community, is working towards reaching all corners of the Ugandan population. The BROSDI HCC project focuses on empowering children from rural areas through ICT, while CEEWA- Uganda’s BLD project works towards changing Uganda’s patriarchal society where women and youths are subordinate. The UNCC promotes the importance of culture, as well as actively working towards influencing the country’s national culture agenda. The MTTTC, through sports, works on gathering children from different ethnic backgrounds, social groups and countries, so that they can play together, learn about HIV/AIDS, and also build relationships across ethnicities.

All of these projects demonstrate the Ugandan government’s efforts to reach out to as many different areas of society as possible. So far, these projects have been successful and have had a positive impact where they have been implemented. However, in order to strengthen the impact of cultural diplomacy in Uganda, this should encourage NGOs to partner with rather than exclude the government from such activities. Such cooperation could lead to increased spending on, and policy development for cultural activities, with the result of more long-lasting initiatives and value-creation.

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