Cultural Competence in Development

A LEAD Certificate Course


This course seeks to enable development workers to have a richer understanding of concepts like language, culture and identity, and to understand how these impact various aspects of development, and to develop thinking skills which enhance effectiveness in any kind of cross-cultural work.


  • Understand how culture is primarily about perception, rather than external forms

  • Understand how values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors often come from basic cultural assumptions

  • Understand how organizations also have “culture”

  • Understand how culture is transmitted across generations, or across departments in an organization

  • Understand how the concept of “cultural competence” has influenced a wide range of professional spheres, from medical work to business, education and government services


  • To recognize issues of cross-cultural differences, to analyze situations to identify the real problems so that helpful solutions can be found

  • To be able to discuss with their colleagues/fellow workers with better understanding and more clarity the specific cultural challenges in their work

  • To have an increased vocabulary with which to discuss cultural problems/challenges

  • To learn how to observe and interpret a culture and organize his or her learning

  • To learn how to begin to understand cultural issues from an insider’s perspective.


  • To learn to approach and explore other cultures with humility and sensitivity

  • Experience heightened sensitivity to other cultures as a result of becoming aware of one’s own cultural biases

  • Develop a deeper appreciation for the different ways people think and act, as a result of their cultures.

  • Develop a desire to grow professionally in the areas of cultural competence

Course Milestones

  1. Attend the Intro to Culture Learning Wkp

  2. Identify a Culture Learning Coach and share notes/observations regularly for a period of at least 1 year

  3. Write an ethnographic analysis paper on a key issue in your work which:

    • Describes the problem

    • Discovers key values/beliefs that impact the issue

    • Provides an “Emic” analysis of the problem

    • Synthesizes findings and suggest a culturally-informed approach to the problem.

  4. Write a self-assessment paper showing how you have learned/changed professionally as a result of cultural competence training.

  5. Be recommended by your coach/mentor for the Cultural Competence Certificate

  6. Receive the Certificate

  7. Keep learning!