Blog Post # 3

Situation: Jack is an American student who lived at a youth center in Kenya while working on a social venture. In this role, he lived and interacted with the children at the center and worked closely with the staff. One Saturday evening, kids under the age of 14 years were to receive presents that were sent by an international donor organization. A staff member at the youth center had picked up all the gifts the previous weekend and they were finally going to be distributed this Saturday. When it came time to give the gifts out after dinner, the staff members called Jack up to the front – as he was a guest – to assist in the gift-giving ceremony. The staff members had allocated the gifts for the children and labelled them – Jack’s job was to hand out the gifts to the kids. The only problem was that four children did not receive gifts and the staff members did not appear to be concerned about the four forgotten children. As kids began leaving the hall, they thanked Jack for the gifts. The kids were convinced that Jack had gotten the gifts for them. Jack felt a little awkward but at the same time reflected that a good relationship with the kids would help him in several ways during his five-month stay at the center. 


At the bottom of the boxes containing the gifts, there were a few black hats. The kids that did not get a present were brought over to the box and given a hat. However, they were upset about the fact that they were not given the hat as ceremoniously as the other kids. The staff gave them their hat and shooed them on their way as if they had some fault in this situation. As one of the little boys who did not receive a gift left the hall, he walked past Jack holding his black hat, and gave him a stare that clearly indicated that he blamed Jack for not receiving a gift. Jack met with the staff and discussed how the four kids were very upset and felt ‘left out’ after the incident. The staff did not acknowledge the problem and were a little piqued that they were being blamed for such a trivial matter. They were convinced that Jack was making a big deal out of the situation and were concerned that Jack would become a ‘children’s rights activist’ and create unnecessary problems for them. The only response they gave Jack was – “If you think there is a problem, then you go ahead and solve it”. If you were Jack, how would you proceed? 


Ethical Issues:

  • Not every child in this situation received equal treatment
  • Hindering a child’s mental growth from lack of consideration
  • Jack doesn’t want to push back against the staff as he is a visitor and comes from a different ethical background


Step 1: Determine the facts in the situation – obtain all of the unbiased facts possible 

  • Jack was asked to give out gifts on behalf of the youth center
  • 4 kids didn’t receive gifts ceremoniously and instead were given a black hat
  • The kid(s) blame Jack for not getting gifts
  • Jack tries to include the kids who are feeling left out, but the staff isn’t concerned
  • There is a cultural difference between Jack ( American ) and the Staff ( Kenyan)
  • Only one kid directly looked at Jack with a look of blame for not receiving a gift 
  • An organization donated the gifts 
  • Black hat having a negative stigma to it


Step 2 & 3: Define the problem and the stakeholders – those with a vested interest in the outcome. Determine and distinguish between the personal and professional motivations of the stakeholders.

  • Jack
    • Problem: He noticed that not all the children received gifts, causing some of them to feel “left out” so he wanted to bring this fact into the attention of the staff that would not strain his relationship with them.
    • Personal: Jack wants all the children to be treated equally. He wants to be well respected by the children and have a positive relationship with each other.
    • Professional: Jack will be staying with the children for a long period of time and wants to be seen in a good light. He wants the staff to make changes that would enhance their consideration of the children without causing a strain in his relationship with them.
  • Staff (Maintain the situation they currently have without escalating it in any unnecessary manner→ Jack possibly interfering could create bigger issues they want to avoid)
    • Problem: The staff is concerned about Jack placing blame on them for a mistake that they do not view as a big issue. The staff does not want the situation to be escalated. 
    • Personal: The staff does not want their reputation to be jeopardized. Professional: They also don’t want to interfere with the hierarchy and flow they have created and worked in. They want operations to continue to be smooth and avoid unnecessary turbulence.
    • Don’t necessarily care about the credit concerning the gift giving
  • Kids w/o gifts
    • Problem: These 4 kids didn’t receive gifts in the ceremonious manner the other kids did, so they likely feel left out
      • They likely also blame Jack and might treat him differently for the rest of his time w/ the center
    • Personal: Get a gift ceremoniously
      • Equal treatment
    • Avoiding embarrassment 
  • Kids w/gifts (secondary)
    • Problem: These kids received a gift in a ceremonious manner while 4 other kids were handed a hat that was unwrapped. They might tease the kids that got hats.
    • Personal: They might feel bad if one of their friends did not receive a gift in the way they did otherwise they are not affected.
    • Professional: N/A
  • Donors (secondary)
    • Problem: Donors recognize that not all children in Kenya are fortunate and could be better off with even a little extra of something.
    • Personal: Donors want to feel as if they are helping someone out and perhaps changing their lives by making a gift to people in less fortunate situations.
    • Professional: Donors feel that it is their duty & responsibility to contribute towards the happiness of children who are less fortunate due to their financial capabilities.


Step 4: 3 Solutions

Potential Solution #1: Have another smaller gift ceremony in which everyone certainly receives gifts

How does it solve the problem? The formerly left out children don’t continue to feel left out

  • Pros: Kids who were left out before forget about past experience and feel included
  • Cons: Unsure of financial ability to provide more gifts

How does it save face of those involved? Kids don’t continue to question why either Jack or the staff didn’t give them gifts

Implications on relationships

  • Short-term: The kids who feel left out don’t feel removed from the other groups
  • Long-term: Jack, the staff, and the children maintain a good relationship

Implications on the venture (Khanjan said to interpret venture as Jack’s work for the next 5 months) 

  • Short-term: Jack is no longer blamed for leaving 4 kids out
  • Long-term: Jack maintains a good relationship with the kids and can continue his personal and professional work without any underlying conflicts


Potential Solution #2: Do not continue to press the issue 

How does it solve the problem? : Jack is not going to apologize to the kids or bring the problem back up to administration.

  • Pros : 
    • Administration will be satisfied and Jack will maintain a respectful relationship with them as well as kids the who received presents in a ceremonious way 
    • Will not intensify the feelings of the children. 
      • For example: When a toddler falls, do not address the fact that they fell too much because it could lead to more crying and embarrassment. 
  • Cons
    • The four kids who did not receive gifts in a ceremonious way may remain upset with Jack. 

How does it save face of those involved?

This saves face because it does not redirect the blame to the administration or reintroduce the problem to the kids and administration. 

Implications on relationships

  • Short-term – Jack, the staff, and the children who received gifts maintain a good relationship
  • Long-term – Jack, the staff, and children maintain a good relationship 

Implications on the venture

  • Short-term – Jack may have some pushbacks when it comes to relationship building during the first weeks of his work. 
  • Long-term -Jack will be able to successfully continue his professional and personal work without underlying issues with the staff


Potential Solution #3: Plan a baking activity with the staff that revolves around the concept of bonding that will involve the children and the staff. Emphasizing the importance of making sure that there are enough ingredients for all the children and the adults involved prior to the event. Spend time with the four children that did not get a gift in a “ceremonious way”.

How does it solve the problem?

  • Pros: 
    • Jack is able to teach the staff, indirectly, the importance of making sure that everyone is equally involved and engaged. 
    • The staff is exposed to a new concept/culture of equal treatment and engagement in a subtle way. They will not feel as if Jack is brining unnecessary problems, but instead is engaged in establishing a positive relationship with everyone at the center while enhancing their sense of community with each other
    • Food is a necessity, so it will be easier to acquire rather than more gifts/resources
    • Children will have an enjoyable time participating in the activity and develop a deeper relationship with one another
    • Jack can restore his relationship with the four children that did not receive a gift
  • Cons
    • Possible financial burdens when it comes to providing the needed supplies 
    • Could interfere with school structure, schedule 
      • May need to be planned very in advance
        • Possibly cannot happen as a short term solution
    • The kids might not make the connection between the inclusiveness of the activity and still be upset about not receiving gifts

How does it save face of those involved?

  • This solution saves face because it does not redirect blame, instead it focuses on building up the relationships and teaches the importance of equal involvement with all of the kids and staff.


Implications on relationships

  • Short-term: Jack, kids, and staff have a better bond
  • Long-term: Could dictate positive relationships for the rest of Jack’s stay there. 

Implications on the venture

  • Short-term: Will start off on a clean slate that will allow him to not face any barriers that could occur due to the 4 children no longer having as much appreciation and respect for him 
  • Long-term:
    • Jack will be seen as a foreigner who is actively engaged with the community
    • The staff may learn the importance of equality 


Step 5 & 6:

  • As a former supervisors of kids at a day care located in a gym, I find it is very important to from positive relationships with kids
  • I also found that kids forget things fast when they are occupied by something else so this activity would be the perfect opportunity to improve relationships and put the past behind the kids and the staff
  • The best course of action in this situation would be solution number 3
  • Although this solution could not work as well as it intends and could cause a financial burden, Jake will still be able to successfully complete his work and save the face of everyone involved
  • If Jake is able to successfully complete his work and save face everyone involved will be satisfied in the long term
  • This solution also has positive short-term and long-term outcomes which is another goal of the decision being made
  • This solution is better than one because the ingredients for a cake ( or any simple baked good) is much cheaper than the funds required to buy more gifts
  • Solution 2 is clearly the worst pick out of the three because it does not have a positive short-term outcome opposed to the other two solutions

Step 7: List the sequence of actions you will take to implement your solution.

  1. Ask administration permission
  2. Ask for food allergies
  3. schedule a time that works for all kids
  4. Pick out a dessert
  5. buy the ingredients for this dessert
  6. inform the kids a week in advance and times leading up to it to get them excited
  7. Teach the kids how to make said baked good with you
  8. make sure to create a bond with the kid who gave me a mean look
    1. as well as the other gift less kids
  9. have the all kids help clean up ( team work building activity )
  10. enjoy the dessert together



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