As much as cultural beliefs are great and should be upheld as they define a society, we should not hesitate to welcome constructive change for a better society.
I recall as a child when my dad used to tell me of how they used mini blackboards and chalk to write. In kindergarten, I used a pencil and a book. Today children in primary two are using pens and in some schools where technology is embraced, iPads and XO computers are the order of the day.
Culture is bound to change since it’s not static given the fact that there are uncontrolled forces in the world which catalyse change.
According to a document Barriers to ecommerce in developing countries by Japhet E. Lawrence, PhD1 and Usman A. Tar, PhD2 regarding Socio-cultural barriers to development stated that most cultures in developing countries do not support ecommerce and the conditions are not “ripe” because of lack of confidence in technology and online culture (Efendioglu et al, 2004). Electronic commerce (EC) has the potential to improve efficiency and productivity in many areas and, therefore, has received significant attention in many countries.
The document further stated that the social and cultural characteristics of most developing countries and the concepts associated with online transaction pose a much greater challenge and act as a major barrier to adoption and diffusion of e-commerce.
For example in Rwanda, social-cultural barriers hinder fight against HIV/AIDS. Because of some cultural beliefs, people’s way of life, thinking and even stigma have become obstacles to several campaign strategies in fighting the perseverance of the disease. With topics related to sex being considered as a taboo in the Rwandan culture, in some cases especially in the rural areas it’s still considered immoral for a youth to buy a condom. Moreover, if the person purchasing a condom is not married, that is another alarming situation all together.
Therefore, if we are to break cultural barriers that hinder development, let us acknowledge the fact that there is a problem and we have to find solutions than trying to hide behind cultural beliefs and traits. Even our ancestors who put these cultural beliefs in place, would understand that change sometimes saves lives.