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Who is Brianna?

Brianna is a passionate, resilient, humble, and loving black women. She was placed on this earth to challenge those around her just as they challenge her and to grow into the best version of herself everyday. Brianna is ready to grow, change, and lead everyday whether its in sports, academics, or her personal life. She is here to positively impact those around her.


How will you change the world?

Change starts with you! I am a firm believer of this statement and this is how I will change the world, by starting with me. You have to change and grow yourself before you can even begin to change the world.


What do you want your epitaph to read?

“She spent a life time fighting for what’s right, may her soul begin to rest and rejoice in her lasting memory”

Blog Post 13

Living an Impact-Focused Life

What’s your Why?

I believe I was put on this earth to:

I believe I was put on this earth to love greatly but not often, to share my story, to defy the odds, and to make a difference in the people’s lives who surround me whether it be large or small.


My purpose is to:

My purpose is to be what people need in their life while being what I need for myself. After all, you cannot pour from an empty glass.


I believe (my core values):

My core values are honesty, morality, empathy, and authenticity



The one thing I must do before I die is:

One thing I must do before I die is live!!


My advocates and supporters all believe I:


Can do anything I set my mind to, I just have to believe in myself and trust myself!


The evil I want to eradicate in this world is:

RACISM AND THE RICH…politics even


I want to work in order to:

Start a family and give them everything and more my parents gave me.


Walk the Talk – Your How

If you are truly committed to your Why, you show it in your everyday behavior. It is all air until you do it. Working from your Why, How do you prove that you are true to your Why in all you do?


I always:

Work to keep and open mind, work hard, analyze how any decision I make can affect my future, and maintain my happiness


I never:

I never let my snap judgments define those I am making them about



My work style is:



I try to treat people:

How I would want to be treated (the golden rule of course)


I approach problems by:

Considering all points of view/ ways the problem can be solved


Victories are time to:



If another attacks my point of view I:

Ask questions and respectfully give context on my point of view, continuously try to put myself in their shoes


If I fundamentally do not agree with what an organization or person is doing, I will:

Not support it or give them my money, if they go against my ethics they do not have my personal support




Your Credibility – Your Whats

You have just spent some considerable time at Lehigh, and specifically in the Global Social Impact Fellowship, on many whats. Your whats include lab research, formal presentations, writing research papers, engaging with people in other cultural contexts, building prototypes, designing and building systems, raising funds, hiring employees, etc. The whats you have collected along the way are critical to your credibility when you are entering the workforce or applying to the best graduate and professional schools. They signify a credible currency to which organizations can assign value. Create a list of your Whats that are truly reflective of your Why & How.  You did these things because you believe (Why) and you acquired them in the following (How) manner. These are examples you can use in interviews.

What Have I Done List of Experiences, Accomplishments, and Lessons Learned
Degrees, Minors, Certificates, Fellowships  

Bachelors of Science in Materials Science and Engineering

Research Experiences








Inventions and Innovations






(Social) Entrepreneurial Ventures










(Formal and Informal)







Formal Presentations

(at Lehigh and Beyond)




Awards and

External Recognition










Articulating and learning from GSIF-related Experiences. For each of these prompts, we want you to identify one and only one specific and compelling event/incident/experience/moment and identify exactly how you grew personally and professionally through that moment.

Teamwork Experience

(and Lessons Learned)



Communication is key, although I have always known this, how to work with other disciplines, how to effectively communicate issues and problems,

I’ve also learned that there will be team/group members that literally do nothing but that’s okay and you just have to do your best to engage them


Conflict Resolution Experience

(and Lessons Learned)

When resolving a conflict, you must give the other side/person time to defend themselves/ provide a perspective you may not have considered. Then no matter the response it needs to be handled with a team mindset because we are stuck together regardless so we need to still be cohesive and not let conflict disrupt the group dynamic

 However, if the conflict keeps arising this may need to be taking to higher levels for assistance


Leadership Experience

(and Lessons Learned)





I’ve learned that you have to be on top of your crap to be a leader and to be very open minded, also you cannot take things too personally while you are in a leadership position, afterall your team is working towards the same goal
Dealing with Chaos, Ambiguity, and Uncertainty (and Lessons Learned) Just go with the flow! Keep your mind open and stay on your toes! Don’t give up, you will figure it out!


Personally Challenging Experience (and Lessons Learned)


Staying engaged and generating probable solutions after the fieldwork was cancelled
Cross-cultural Experience (and Lessons Learned)


Didn’t go the the Philippines so none, however my group member was from Vietnam so I learned to stop using my slang when talking to him since it wasn’t slang that he was used to
An experience that helped you connect your GSIF work to your discipline / major.


Testing and experimenting on coconuts as well as dryer designs, writing reports and communicating our work


A moment that boosted your sense of agency and self-efficacy – you felt like you can speak for yourself, get stuff done, take on the world and make it better.


During final presentations over the summer I felt like I finally gained my footing and can speak well on my own account now
A moment where you felt like you truly have a strong sense of purpose and belonging in this dynamic, globalized interdependent world.


Recently, given the way the world is I have felt very purposeful in my efforts to give perspective on what it’s like to be black in America and have been having so many meaningful discussions that are much more important than the daily engineering curriculum I have been learning these past four years. 

Blog Post 12

Team: Sammy Powers, Ami Yoshimura, Brianna Wanbaugh, Tri Nguyen , Jake Donoghue


Develop a systems framework for the Global Social Impact Fellowship contrasting it with traditional programs. 


Figure 1: Traditional classrooms

In a traditional classroom, students typically attend lectures, complete assignments, study for exams vigorously and receive a degree once they have completed all the necessary requirements for their curriculum.


Figure 2: GSIF Conceptual Framework

In the Global Social Impact Fellowship, students apply what they learn in lectures and workshops and apply it to their projects, in the real world, which has real impact. These real world impact projects give students other opportunities for learning that is based upon more experiential experiences.

Blog 10 and 11


Grand vision

  • Increase the income of 3.5 million Filipino coconut farmers
  • Filipino coconuts farmers should be able to earn a livable wage
  • No Filipino coconuts farmers should live below $2/day 


Develop a conceptual framework that captures your vision of how your innovation and the ensemble/coalition you build around it will address the systemic challenges and improve the QoL for the target group.


Systematic challenge: Small-hold copra farmers do not have access to processing equipment or technology to produce higher value-added products.


Figure 1: Farmers harvest their coconuts, smoke/sun dry them, and sell them to the middleman broker, and the middleman broker sells it to the processing plants where it is then processed into higher value added products. In this process, the coconut farmers are unable to make significant income due to the middleman broker paying lower costs due to the consistency and quality of the Copra. 



Figure 2: Our innovation will reconfigure the extant system by enabling farmers to process their coconuts into higher value added products on their own, thus enabling them to take in more money than they did before.




Blog Post #9

Name: Jake Donoghue, Brianna Wanbaugh, Sammy Powers, and Tri Nguyen


Systems thinking challenge #1: Police corruption in Afghanistan 

  • 35M Population; 250,000 Policemen
  • 27% Literacy Rate (2019: 32%)
  • 13 Yrs, Billions Later →  Poor Personnel and Payroll Data (No verification)
  • Extremely High (Hierarchical) Corruption
  • 10% “Ghost” Policemen
  • Commanders get a cut from salaries
  • Poor Morale; Defection to the Taliban
  • Law and Order Crises; Public Trust



The corruption in the Afghan police bodies can be accounted for by the following factors: 1) low salaries; 2) poor working conditions; 3) poor recruitment and selection procedures resulting from poor literacy rate among the population; 4) a lack of training programmes 5) and opportunities for corruption due to inadequate controls of payroll data.


As a commander in chief of the police, we will have to collaborate with different entities among the governing bodies of the Afgan to bring in significant police and institutional reforms. The entities will be included but not limited to educators, influences, policy makers, citizens, governors, and more. To address the root cause of corruption and not just the “symptoms,” our solution will be grounded on these pillars: education, enforcement and prevention. The reform practices will be as follows:



  • Education:



  1. Implement additional education for policers to uphold integrity, professionalism, and adherence to human rights and laws
  2. Promote public education of anti-corruption intervention by publicizing the arrest and successful prosecution of prominent corrupted police officers
  3. Promote the public knowledge of anti-corruption laws and use the public to report corruption. 



  • Enforcement:



  1. Adding police auditors and anti-corruption intervention bodies to increase the accountability of the police force. These anti-corruption investigation bureau can be given authority to freeze assets, seize passports, propose reforms, etc. They might also have extensive powers to conduct an investigation, arrest police officers who are suspicious of bribery, and probe into a suspect’s financial evidence
  2. Within the anti-corruption investigation bureau, make sure there is a regulation system to make all anti-corruption investigators accountable for their granted power. For example, classify the main body into 3 sub-components, and have one group reviewed by the other 2 groups in terms of transparency and evaluative performance on a regular basis.  



  • Prevention:



  1. Provide incentive for fairness by making sure the working conditions are reasonable, the salaries are justified for a comfortable living environment, heavy penalties for bribery, and large bounties for reporting corruption
  2. Put emphasis on the recruitment and selection procedures of future police officers; making the process more selective so that the 
  3. Strong leadership, as demonstrated by the commander-in-chief of the Afghan police, will be essential to serve a role model and the beacon of hope and justice.


Systems Thinking Analysis:


Differentiation: The individual components of this large system include the community, Afghan Uniform Police, Afghan Highway Police, Afghan Border Police, Criminal Investigation Department, the Afghan Local Police (ALP) Now part of ANP, and the Afghan government.



Interdependence: Our solution depends on mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationships within the system, including connections between bodies and pillars. As a commander in chief of the police, we will work with several governing bodies in which both the people within the police system will benefit in addition to the governing bodies facilitating reform, as the improvement of the country will reflect them and their work. Additionally, mutually beneficial connections exist between pillars. For example, establishing an education plan can encourage accountability and in turn improve enforcement and prevention by emphasizing police responsibility to act in accordance with the law.


Holism: In order to increase the anti-corruption in Afghanistan, all components of the problem need to be considered in order to fully solve the problem. In this case, the police cannot exist without the community because there would be nothing to protect. If there is nothing to protect then any governing body of higher rank is not necessary. Therefore, these independent components depend on each other to create the problem and solve the problem.


Multifinality: The goal of our solution is to promote public trust in police, to minimize corruption, increase morale, and improve quality of life for the community. With this solution all parties involved will have their goals met. The community will have more trustworthy police because the rate of corruption will have decreased and if there is less corruption the community will be willing to report more crimes. Corruption will be minimized through education of the police and the public. The police will be educated to uphold strong core values such as integrity, professionalism, and their human rights and laws. The people will be educated through the shared knowledge of arrests and successful prosecutions. A strong leader will allow for the increase in morale among police officers. All of these together will lead to a higher quality of life for all of those involved.


Equifinality: As previously stated, our solution is founded on three pillars in which there are several paths to achieving our overall goal. Though there are many different approaches or “inputs” involved, the overall result or “output” to reduce corruption remains the same.


Regulation: Our solution has a system in place that helps hold the police accountable through our implementation of anti-corrupt bodies, public broadcast of arrests and prosecutions, as well as higher salaries to increase the will of the police officers to not be corrupt.


Abstraction: Though this issue focuses specifically on anti-corruption, our solution has broader applications. The implementation of our solution will result in a higher quality of life for the people of Afghanistan by ensuring a proper system that convicts crime and reduces the abuse of power. 


Leverage: If the salaries are being raised the selection process can be more competitive which will ultimately allow for higher quality police officers.


Systems thinking challenge #2: Water hyacinth

  • Water hyacinth infestation is a major problem on the shores of Lake Victoria. The moss doubles every month and blocks the fishermen’s access to the lake. It also results in spread of disease and hence they want it removed at all costs.
  • An entrepreneur has figured out that she can take the hyacinth, crush it, and use it to make compost and briquettes. She hires four people to cut the hyacinth, crush it with manual machines, and bring it to her workshop. 
  • This system works well for 2 weeks and her need for the hyacinth increases substantially. But the communities on the shores are unhappy that she is making money from the hyacinth. They stop her employees from accessing the hyacinth.
  • How does she solve the problem?



To address this challenge, the entrepreneur could try to incorporate the fishermen in her water hyacinth business. As the fishermen need to clean up the hyacinth to get access to the fishing area in the lake, they can also store the hyacinth on their boats during the process and give it to the entrepreneur in exchange of the shared profits earned from the production of compost and briquettes later. After having access to the hyacinth, the entrepreneur can hire labor workers to crush the hyacinth with manual machines and transport it to her workshop where she can make compost and briquettes. To prevent the community from thinking that she is solely the one that gets the benefit from the business, she could share 10% profits of the business from her products with the fishermen. To start off, the entrepreneur can partner with a few fishermen, and if these fishermen earned additional benefits in addition to their finishing income, this might motivate other fishermen to come and join the business. This will be a win-win situation for both sides. The entrepreneur can now get a steady supply of the hyacinth to make and sell her products, while the communities, including the fishermen and labor workers, will be able to earn additional benefits by taking part in the business. In addition, since the hyacinth is the source of the disease that is detrimental to the ecosystems, removing it from the lake on a regular basis is making a positive impact on the environment, which will not only protect the fish in the lake but also the health of the community who is more than likely to eat the fish from where the hyacinth is growing infestedly. 


Systems Thinking Analysis:



  • Fishers 
  • Labor workers – crushing hyacinth and machining compost/briquettes 
  • Entrepreneur
  • Lake Victoria community




  • The fishermen would be paid by the entrepreneur to clear the hyacinth from the water
  • The fishermen will be able to catch more fish 
  • The Lake Victoria community begins profiting from this as the local fisherman are bringing in extra money, and selling more fish to the local population


Holism: Overall, the removal of hyacinth will allow for more fish to be bought and eaten (food security) as well as a decrease in the spread of disease which will benefit the community as a whole.



  • Each individual stakeholder in this hyacinth business is working with different goals:
    • Entrepreneur: get access to the hyacinth that then she can make compost and briquettes 
    • Fishermen: clear out the hyacinth in the lake to do their fishing
    • Labour workers: can still process raw hyacinth and transport it to the entrepreneur’s workshop
    • Lake Victoria community: get rid of the hyacinth which is a source of a disease
  • The system itself also meet its own goals:
    • Get rid of the hyacinth
    • All involved individuals get benefits form the system



  • All stakeholders are working on different parts of the hyacinth business, but they all share the same goals: removing hyacinth and earning additional benefits from the business.



  • Create a quota in weight of hyacinth removed for fishermen to meet to ensure steady business
  • Be clear that 10% of the profit automatically goes back to the fishermen



Our solution has wider applications, as it improves the overall health of the environment and protects the ecosystem.


Leverage point:


  • Partnering with fishermen so that they are not left out

Blog Post #7

Q1: Describe at least 5 partnerships with individuals and/or organizations that have been formed to support your project and that impact the success or failure of your venture.


Please identify partnerships at the individual, team, and Lehigh / GSIF level.


1.What constituted the partnership?

2.How did the partner help you? How did you help them?

3.Was this a symbiotic relationship? Why or why not?

4.What would help strengthen this partnership and make it more equitable?


University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) (HEED Program)

  1. This partnership was born during the assignment or our project. We were given this connection initially.
  2. UPD students and a professor have given us insights on conditions in the Philippines as well as contacts for the Philippine Coconut Authority.  
  3. No, because of the pandemic we were not able to travel to the Philippines to collaborate with the UPD students. The UPD students were also sent home due to the pandemic where many of them did not have access to wifi so we shifted to communication with Jill Manapat only. However, due to poor connection it is hard to have productive zoom meetings
  4. More communication efforts would help strengthen this relationship but given the circumstances of the Pandemic 


Prof. Jedlicka

  1. Professor Jedlicka is the co-advisor to our project (for both TE Capstone team and GSIF).
  2. She provides guidance and insight to our team based on her expertise. We give her more information about different aspects of the copra industry, which in turn allows her to provide us with more suggestions and direction.
  3. This is a symbiotic relationship, as we are both reciprocating value. As we navigated through this complex coconut industry together as students and mentors, we taught and learned from each other: we taught her about the coconut knowledge that we found from literature, and she taught us how to better use that knowledge to advance our venture. 
  4. An increase in the team’s efforts would strengthen this relationship since the more we put in allows for more input on Professor Jedlicka’s end. 


Prof. Haden

  1. This partnership was built through GSIF and Professor Haden is a co-advisor to our project
  2. She helped us organize our ideas and helped us with where we should start with our project. We have helped her by teaching her about copra and the marketing of it in the Philippines. Also we will eventually publish a paper which will reflect well on her. 
  3. Yes, because Professor Haden acted as a guide for where we should start and we were able to teach her about our project. 
  4. More communication would strengthen this partnership.


Wilber (Brian Slocum and Michael Moore)

  1. Our partnership with the Wilbur Powerhouse is based on our need for help in designing and prototyping our dryer. We connected through our advisor and our own relations.
  2. They have helped us through the design, but also mainly the physical construction of the prototype through their skill sets, expertise, and their access to Wilbur. 
  3. This is less of a symbiotic relationship because they have given us more value than we have given them, through advising us through our designs and helping us build it.
  4. A more proactive approach to our design methods and an increase in understanding of the building process from our team. 


Lynne Cassimeris

  1. Cell Biology professor at Lehigh, whom one of our team members is taking a class with. 
  2. This partner has helped in furthering the understanding of what goes on a cellular and molecular level inside of cells, which can be applied to copra.
  3. This is less of a symbiotic relationship as she is providing her teaching on her profession and we are learning from it.
  4. What would strengthen this relationship would be being in more communication with her and asking more directly about potential guidance on how to work on copra more effectively.


Gregory Lang

  1. One of our team members worked at Dr. Lang’s Yeast lab
  2. Dr. Lang answered an email about what to do about aflatoxins when our team member emailed him and he provided his knowledge as he is a microbiology professor and has experience working on bacteria and yeast.
  3. This is less of a symbiotic relationship as we do not have anything valuable from our side of research to offer him in return for his teaching.
  4. More communication and working alongside him would strengthen the relationship and bring more equity to our project as we would profit from the more knowledge we gain about how to counteract spoilage and molding.

Blog #5

Q1 (Individual) List ten specific ways in which your teaming approach has changed/ evolved since you started, teamwork skills you have developed, and lessons you have learned

  1. Initially the group chats were not very responsive but now rarely does a message goes unanswered.
    1. This dynamic adds significantly to our productivity levels
  2. Since the beginning we would split work by who wants to do it, but to now we split work by who is most qualified to complete the task
    1. this produces higher quality work
  3.  At first we were always agreeing to what others in the group would suggest but now we question each suggestion so that we make sure we are considering all aspects before doing something or researching a topic
    1. questioning each other allows for our ideas to fully develop
  4. In the beginning when I would suggest ideas they were met with constructive criticism which they still are but I used to take it personally, however now I do not and that has really helped me to grow my skills in teamwork
  5. I have learned that criticism is a good thing and when there is none from your peers your initiative or goals can remain stagnant
  6. I have learned to be thorough and ask myself many many questions before presenting my ideas or findings.
    1. this allows for my research and findings to be useful and comprehensive when its time to share.
    2. If I didn’t ask myself questions while researching those same questions I could have taken extra time to consider would have been asked to me in our weekly meetings
  7. My group members are super reliable and super accountable so I’ve learned in our dynamic if you want something done do it yourself because the rest of the members will still put in effort where ever else necessary.
  8. Delegate responsibilities when you are team leader. Its a lot of pressure to handle by yourself and that’s what your teammates are for
  9. Consistency is key!! One thing my team has done is have meetings at the same time every week which is super helpful. When someone wants to meet it will be a Monday or Wednesday night so I know to not leave work for those nights incase we have to meet up
  10. Another lesson I have learned when it comes to group work is to always have an open mind and be patient!!
    1. Sometimes I can be close minded but I’ve been working on that so that I can be a better group member


Q2 (Team) Provide an updated collaboration plan


Team Name: COPRA                                                                          Date: 09/29/2020
Goals Personal goals:


Make as much useful contribution as possible, positively influence the group, create strong relationships,Improve my group work skills, ask more critical questions. 

Then I hope to use all these personal improvements to make a social impact that matters.


Learn more about coconuts processing and get hand-on experience on making coconuts dryers!

Build life-long friendship with peers at Lehigh and those in the Philippines


Provide hands on help with computer aided designing, fabrication (if at all possible), and testing of our drying chambers. Provide next year’s team with the necessary information to build off of and move toward getting our venture going.


Gain experience in conducting meaningful research and working on an interdisciplinary team. Make valuable contributions to move the project forward and create sustainable impact. Improve my interpersonal skills and develop a new mindset 


Contribute to the project in a meaningful way, understanding my own strengths and weaknesses , and learning how I can efficiently and effectively work within a diverse team. Help to better enforce communications within the team and outside the team, and become a better researcher and writer. Improve my own hard and soft skill sets including communications, and better understanding design thinking, engineering design, and supply chain.


Complete experiments and write results in a lab report

Publish a paper about the experiments and their relationship to the overall copra industry and how the result is an asset to copra farmers.


Publish a paper about the different antioxidants we have researched on

Pinpoint one antioxidant we can use for the copra processing 

Continue with our research and see if there are other things we can improve on

Brianna C:

Help team with adding background information to paper to provide readers with a deeper framework and history of its problems and clarity on why proposed solution are innovative and helpful

Project Goal:

The project aims to improve copra processing and process streamlining for elevating the livelihoods of copra farmers by generating additional income.

Is our Project Goal scaled to our resources (dreams, materials, skills, differences, etc.) and constraints (assignment, time, skills, etc.)?

As a team, we have the given resources and knowledge needed to design and prototype a device that can better process copra. Unfortunately, due to given circumstances, our access to both each other and the tools required are constraining the timetable for which this project will operate on.  

Since COPRA is a multi-year project, we as a team will lay up a strong foundation so that we can transfer the knowledge to other teams. The hope is that future teams will be able to scale upon the ideas and designs we come up with throughout this year.


Metrics for Success

    • Design, energy efficiency, and sustainability of the processing technique
    • Amount of high-quality copra that can be produced using new methods
    • Amount of additional income that can be generated for copra farmers
    • Scalability and Sustainability of the business model (can we actually get people to use this)
Roles Who is responsible for which deliverables?

  • Rozhin, Michelle, and Brianna C. will be responsible for the antioxidant testing and the deliverables that come from this.
  • Jake, Tri, Brianna W, Sammy, and Ami will be responsible for the engineering components and the corresponding deliverables that arise from this.

Which deliverables that require collaboration, subgroups & individual work? Who does each person depend upon to succeed?


  • Presentation – Collaboration
  • Preliminary Design Concepts – Sub group/Collaboration
  • Prototype – Sub group/Individual
  • Testing Data – Sub group/Individual
  • Final report – Collaboration

Do we need a project manager to coordinate? 

  • Yes, we do need one. However, specific to our group, we rotate our project manager once every three weeks so that everyone has a chance to step up and take responsible for the group’s success
  • We realize the importance of having a manager to help organize and coordinate group work and research, but believe that having a rotating leadership position helps alleviate the stress from one individual
Procedures Decision-making 

  • Consensus, our group has had very few disagreements
    • If consensus can’t be achieved we will default to majority rules/the advice of our project advisor

Effective meetings

  • We’ve conducting weekly meetings (along with multiple weekly sub meetings) to keep everyone on track and updated with all the key information regarding our project
    • Before each meeting we lay out an agenda to increase efficiency of meetings and help steer the conversation in the right direction
    • We write weekly briefs (in accordance with our TE 211 course work) to keep documented records on what work and research we do each week
  • We plan to continue holding these weekly meetings over Zoom at the same time and in the same fashion
  • Keep track of time during meetings
  • At the end of every meeting we make sure to assign weekly work to each group member to ensure that we can hold each other accountable

Meeting roles

  • During meetings the leader will facilitate the meeting and assign a different scribe for each meeting.
  • The leader role will be rotated every 3 weeks


  • Up until this week we had planned Zoom meetings once a week on Fridays from 2:00 – 3:00 PM
    • Bi-weekly meeting with two sub-groups, Prof. Jedlicka, and Prof. Haden
Relationships Teamwork

  • Our team has been very agreeable up to this point – we’ve had few disagreements if any
    • Our assumption is that transitioning to video chatting as our primary form of communication will not be a problem
  • For the Engineering team:
    • We have backgrounds in Materials Science Engineering, Mechanical Engineerings, Industrial Systems Engineering and Product Design
    • The team also consists of different backgrounds such as athletics, international, cultural, and greek life.
    • We have different interests outside of engineering: make-up and sports, band music, music composition, nature, and chess.
  • The Science Research and Business teams have been added to the to Copra team
    • The Science Research team have backgrounds in biology and are working on developing antioxidant research and experiments to help further the project
    • The business has background in economics and international relations which will help further the project in terms of working on the business background of the project 

Listening – As a team we enter group meetings with an open mindset and are ready listen to each other 

Team Name– Copra


Q3: (Team) Identify a real potential funding source for your project. Seek sign-off from faculty mentor and develop a detailed outline for the proposal with specific insights, arguments, and accomplishments.

This will be a work in progress for our team as we discussed with our advisor on Friday(Today) on how to move forward with this task.

Blog #5


Members: Ami Yoshimura, Michelle Hu, Sammantha Powers, Jake Donoghue, Brianna Wanbaugh, Tri Nguyen, Brianna Cimaglia, Rozhin Zahrouni


Top 20 FAQs and Answers



  • What happens to the middlemen if you eliminate them in the supply chain? (Ami)


A: At this stage, we don’t have a concrete answer yet, because we are still in the development phase of our products. 



  • What is the scale of the coconut farms in the Philippines? (Tri)


A: The majority of coconut farms are small to medium sized (around 5 hectares / 40 – 100 trees per farm).



  • How will you implement your product in the Philippines? (Sammy)


A: We are not yet sure at this stage, as we do not currently have a definite business model since we are still developing our product. 



  • How do you know that there aren’t better antioxidants out there that are just as effective or more than the antioxidants that you are using now? (Rozhin)


A: We have done extensive research on many different potential antioxidants and have read many scientific articles and journals on them before coming into our conclusion of the top antioxidants for us to use on our experiments. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to know about all of the potential antioxidants that exist, however, we believe that from our research we have found the best ones that are available and cost-effective.



  • What are some of the current solutions to the aging tree problem in the Philippines? (Bri C)


A: There are replanting, intercropping, and education programs designed by the Philippines Coconut Authority to address these challenges.



  • How do you make sure the coconut farmers will benefit from your solution? (Tri)


A: We will provide coconut farmers the cost-effective technology to produce high-quality copra and higher-value added products that they can sell directly at a higher price, which will earn the farmers additional income.  



  • To what extent do coconut farmers have access to energy? (Tri)


A: It is noted that 6.1 million households (half of the rural population) have no electricity in the Philippines. Our investigation suggests that more than 30% of coconut farmers do not have access to the power grid.



  • How will this solution be sustainable? (Brianna W)


A:  We hope to partner with a company based in the Philippines that can continue to aid and distribute our solution after we leave the Philippines



  • How successful are efforts to address the aging tree problem? (Bri C)


A: The PCA has established a few programs to address this issue, but many of them are purely informational with little execution and direct aid to farmers. These programs have certainly helped inform farmers about the issues, but there has not been significant change.



  • How long will this copra & antioxidant experiment take? (Rozhin)


A: This is a two part experiment that has been started from July, however, since it was decided that better results were needed with improved procedure plans, the experiment will be restarting during the fall semester and will most likely finish before the end of the semester depending on the results found.



  • What do you expect to see in your experiments and what is the goal of the experiments? (Jake)


A: On the engineering side, the experiments are set up with the goal of optimizing air flow inside the drying chamber. We expect to gather data that will allow us to decide whether we should utilize horizontal or vertical airflow moving forward.



  •  What are your next steps for the venture? (Ami)


A: The next steps entail testing antioxidant solutions, prototyping the dryer, and submitting research proposals to a few conferences. 



  • What are you doing in your experiments currently and what is next? (Jake)


A: We are constructing benchmark prototypes of our drying chambers and comparing the effectiveness of horizontal vs. vertical airflow on drying time. The goal is still to uniformly dry all the coconut meat in the drying chamber as fast as we can, so whichever method works better is what we will include in our drying design moving forward. Once we have identified the optimal air flow method, we will move to experimenting and designing our heating source and heat exchange mechanisms. 



  • Why are you doing this experiment and how do these antioxidants work on the copra? (Rozhin)


A: The current problem is the copra browning which reduces their financial value because of their unappealing visual quality, even if they are safe to consume and use even for other means. The browning of the copra occurs from a chemical reaction from its exposure to oxygen, known as enzymatic browning. The enzyme that plays the major role in this chemical reaction is called Polyphenol Oxidase (PPO) and another major enzyme that contributes to the enzymatic browning and is involved with the internal browning is called Peroxidase. Therefore, this reaction can be prevented from occurring through the application of higher acidity (pH<4), which lowers the chances of oxidation of the food and causing the enzymatic reaction to occur. Moreover, the copra also needs to have antimicrobial protection, so that they can last longer and prevent spoiling. Since the best antioxidants that we have chosen from our research are both acidic and have antimicrobial properties (which we also plan on combining the best ones together to create an even stronger antioxidant preservative), they are one of the best natural and cost-effective preservation methods for us to use on the copra.



  • Why are natural antioxidants being used instead of cheaper alternatives? (Rozhin)


A: Natural antioxidants are the best materials to use as preservatives of copra as this will make it safe and have no/less harmful side effects than other chemical or other cheaper alternatives. Natural antioxidants are the next best option, from their effective protection against oxidation and microbes, in comparison to more expensive preservation treatments (e.g. freeze drying), so they are the best option considering their ease of access, effectiveness, and reduced cost.



  • How do you imagine implementing these antioxidants into the supply chain and how will the farmers gain access to them? (Rozhin)


A: We are still in the process of determining which antioxidants will be used for preservation, so we have yet to know the full logistics of when and how they will be incorporated into the supply chain. We imagine that the antioxidants will be either sold to the farmers in packages or the farmers will be taught how to make those antioxidants treatment themselves (depending on the antioxidants chosen as preservatives).



  • How will the optimal antioxidants be integrated into the engineering team’s product? (Sammy) 


A: The antioxidants will be included in the drying and preserving process, though we are not sure exactly how until we discover more through our experiments. We are still determining if the antioxidants will be put on the copra before or after drying, and if they will be included as a part of our product, or if they will be sold separately.



  • How will you be able to scale this effectively? (Ami)


A: By improving one niche/aspect of the drying process and building a better drying solution with affordable materials, accessibility will be easier. We also have connections in the Philippines who could help with distribution. 



  • How likely is it that farmers will take to this kind of solution? (Jake)


A: This is something that we still need to figure out. Given that our project is in early stages, and that we have not been able to conduct field work, it has been rather difficult to gauge interest in our ideas. 



  • Why are we choosing the specific antioxidants we are using?  (Michelle)


A: All the specific antioxidants  we are using are all cost effective so it will not be another hardship on the farmers. Also all of these antioxidants do not affect the taste of the copra or the texture and they are accessible.

Blog #4

Part 1: Ethical Decision-Making In a certain region of East Africa, the growth of ~35% of the children is stunted due to poor nutrition. Traditionally, maize and bananas are the items most commonly made into a gruel and fed to infants beginning at ~2 months of age. The gruel is integrated into a child’s diet to complement breastfeeding until they are ~24 months of age. Mothers in the area firmly believe that the gruel is highly beneficial for their children, but scientific research has shown that it does not provide some key nutrients. HIV/AIDS is very prevalent in this region. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until an infant is six months of age, but the longer a child nurses when the mother is HIV+, the greater the chance that the virus will be transmitted to the child. You have received a grant to establish a women’s cooperative in this region. The donor’s intent is to simultaneously improve the nutritional status of children and improve the livelihoods of rural households. The grant for the women’s cooperative has sufficient funds for the women’s group to process and market a nutritious, shelf-stable porridge made from a large mix of locally grown produce. The nutritious porridge is intended to wean children off of breast milk at about 6 months of age. Approximately 500 women from three contiguous sub-locations have indicated their interest in joining the cooperative, in hopes of improving their livelihoods. However, they are skeptical of the porridge and its use as an early weaning food. Cash crops as well as subsistence crops are grown in the area, including maize, sorghum, cassava, several varieties of legumes (dried beans), French beans, coffee, pineapple, bananas, pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots, kale, white (Irish) potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Pesticides are typically used in growing some of these crops and can result in adverse health implications for infants.


How would you address the ethical health issues associated with prolonged breastfeeding in an area where there is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and few women are tested for the virus, very early introduction of supplemental foods to the diets of infants, and the possibility of pesticide residues in foods developed for infants and young children. What are your next specific steps to develop this cooperative? 


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

  • ~35% of the children in East Africa is stunted due to poor nutrition
  • The current gruel used to complement breastfeeding is not nutritionally adequate according to scientific research, but the moms believe the gruel is nutritious.
  • WHO recommends breastfeeding until an infant turns 6 months
  • The longer the child nurses when the mother is HIV+, the higher the chance of them contracted with HIV.
  • The donor who gave us the grant intent is to build up the women’s cooperative to simultaneously improve the nutritional status of children and improve the livelihoods of rural households
  • The grant has sufficient funds for a nutritious, shelf-stable porridge made from locally grown produce
  • The porridge is intended to wean children off of breastfeeding at the age of 6 months
  • The 500 women are skeptical of the porridge as a weaning food because it is too new (not something they’re accustomed to in their daily lives)
  • Pesticides are typically used in growing the crops used in the porridge
  • Assumption: not all women are aware of the adverse health effects resulting from the pesticides used in the crops to make the porridge
  • The area has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and very little testing


Ethical issue: Currently, mothers in the region combine breastfeeding with a non-nutritious maize and banana gruel for the first 24 months of their child’s life. HIV/AIDS is highly prevalent in this region, is not tested on a widespread scale, and can be transmitted through breastfeeding. Our job is to establish a cooperative that will work to give mothers a nutritional porridge that they can use to wean their children off of breastmilk at around 6 months. The problem is, some of the ingredients in this porridge are grown using pesticides, which could result in pesticide residues in the porridge itself. The ethical issue here is deciding whether to go ahead and feed these 6 month old children pesticide grown food, or to continue having the mothers feed their children breast milk with the risk of transmitting HIV.


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



  • Breastfeeding Moms:
    • Professional Motivation: N/a 
    • Personal Motivation: The mothers want to be providing their babies with the best nutrients while keeping them safe 
  • Woman joining the co-op
    • Professional Motivation: sell as much porridge as possible to the community (build up the co-op), make the best and safest product (porridge), educate breastfeeding mothers, make money.
    • Personal Motivation: help their own babies stay healthy, help their neighbors.
  • Babies
    • Professional Motivation: N/a 
    • Personal Motivation: Want to minimize their risk of contracting HIV and still intake their required nutrients.
  • Farmers 
    • Professional Motivation: produce as much of their crop for community consumption as possible, make money (maximize profit), collaborate with the women in the cooperative 
    • Personal Motivation: help the community stay healthy (provide the best crops)
  • Grant Donor (secondary stakeholder)
    • Professional Motivation: Have good reputation of making good deeds, want their money to be allocated wisely and productively for meaningful purposes
    • Personal Motivation: Want  women in the area to be healthier and have their livelihood improved
  • Doctors
    • Professional Motivation: Would want HIV cases to go down and  would want to allocate their resources and knowledge to other patients with other illnesses  
    • Personal Motivation: Prevent the amount of infants they see with HIV/Malnutrition
  • Us (researchers establishing the co-op)
    • Professional Motivation: To start a successful and sustainable co-op what will also enhance our skill sets and credibility, build up good record and establish their credibility for future fundings and resources 
    • Personal Motivation: Want to improve the livelihoods of women and children in the arena 


Step 4: Formulate (at least three) alternative solutions – based on information available, to have a win-win situation for your relationship and your venture.

Potential solution 1: Form the cooperative. Educate the mothers the dangers of breastfeeding children while being HIV+. After six months, have them wean their children off breastmilk with the porridge (without telling them the potential harms from the pesticides).

 Ethical Principle or code: Consequence-Based Thinking because we will be able to convince more women to use the porridge by not telling them about possible harms of pesticides. By “hiding” some negatives we will be able to stop breastfeeding earlier and prevent more cases of HIV in children.


  • The babies will have a smaller chance of contracting HIV from their mothers
  • Moms are more likely to switch to the porridge if they think that it is more nutritious than the cruel without any side effects. 


  • We are not telling the mother about the negative effects of the pesticides in the porridge so there is a chance that the porridge will affect the babies negatively in some way.
  • It is also unethical for researchers to not inform women the side effects of the porridge that was developed specifically for their children.
  • HIV+ education to the women and locals cost time and resources 

Potential solution 2: Form the cooperative to educate the Mothers the dangers of breastfeeding children while being HIV+. After six months, have them wean their children off breastmilk with the porridge, and tell them the potential harms from the pesticides.

Ethical Principle or code: Duty Based Thinking because we are doing the right thing, and most ethic thing by giving the women ALL the facts we have. We are telling them all the positives and negatives of breastfeeding and the porridge.


  • Mothers understand the dangers of HIV transmission through breastfeeding
    • Reduces the number of children with HIV
  • Mothers know when to begin feeding their children the porridge, the potential harms, and the nutritional benefits of the porridge
    • Reduces Malnutrition


  • The decisions now depend on the mothers’ intuition, which can go either way
  • The children still face the risk of contracting HIV+
  • The children are now at risk (if their mothers use the porridge) to the harms of pesticide residue in the food they consume

Potential solution 3: Form the cooperative to educate the Mothers the dangers of breastfeeding children while being HIV+. After six months, have them wean their children off breastmilk with the porridge that has gruel in the recipe, and tell them the potential harms from the pesticides.


Ethical Principle or code: Duty Based Thinking (for same reason as above) + Care Based Thinking because we are taking into account the personal relations with the women who prefer to use the guel and feel comfortable with it. 


  • The mothers will be more comfortable using an ingredient they trust in their new food supplement
  • the risk of the babies contracting HIV will reduce


  • The mothers might be hesitant because there is still a risk associated with using the porridge.
  • Adding gruel to the recipe might reduce the nutritional values of the original recipe, which might impose negative implications on the children’s growth and development. 

Step 5: Seek additional assistance, as appropriate – engineering codes of ethics, previous cases, peers, reliance on personal experience, inner reflection.

Step 6: Select the best course of action – that which satisfies the highest core ethical values. Explain reasoning and justify. Discuss your stance vis-a-vis other approaches discussed in the class.

  • Solution number 3 is ideal because unlike solution one and two it incorporates an ingredient into their children’s diet that they are comfortable with
  • Solution number three also allows the mothers to be aware if the downsides of this porridge
  • Although Solution one would allow for the least amount of push back from the mothers when encouraging them to use porridge it is not ethical
  • Solution 2 allows for the most push back from the mothers because it tells them the dangers of using the porridge and does not include any known ingredients that they like to feed their babies therefore it is the least appealing option
  • Ultimately, solution three allows for the least amount of push back in an ethical way making it the ideal solution

Step 7: (If applicable) What are the implications of your solution on the venture. Explain the impact of your proposed solution on the venture’s technology, economic, social and environmental aspects.

  • Socially this venture would allow for a healthier community/families as the chance of their babies contracting HIV would decrease
  • It will also allow for the mother to build a community with other mothers
  •  a sense of community could also be built between the local farmers, mothers, and the researchers
  • Environmentally there could be a higher demand for the crops they locally grow which means more pesticides will be used which is bad for the environment as they wash into water streams
  • Economically the farmers could see and increase in their profits due to more mothers using the porridge
  • Economically it will allow for the community of mothers to generate funds to help support their families and feed their children
  • It will also allow for them to out money back into their harvesting and cooking tactics which would allow for a technological increase

Part 2: Grassroots Diplomacy Six months after launch, the efforts of the women working in the cooperative you established are paying off, and business is thriving. The women work for about nine hours every day and earn KES 300 (about $3). Besides the wages earned, they have the opportunity to sell the produce grown on their small farms to the cooperative. This transaction is done at the prevailing market rate and helps the women make a little money on the side. The women like this arrangement because it saves them a trip (time + money) to the village market to sell their produce. The women enjoy working with each other and are happy with the cooperative; they have a strong sense of community and identity. However, there is one big problem. When a woman brings her hard earned money home, she has no choice but to turn it over to her husband, father, or brothers. Rather than using the money to support their families, the men waste it on alcohol and frivolous things. Though the cooperative is thriving, it is not achieving the twin social outcomes of improving the nutritional status of children and the livelihoods of rural households. As the entrepreneur who helped establish the cooperative, you are pained about the situation. Though you are loved and respected by the entire community, you do not have a direct say in the cooperative’s functioning. You are one of the seven members of the leadership committee that oversees all operations. The committee is elected on an annual basis and you have six months left on the committee, after which you will practically leave the cooperative completely. The other six members of this committee are local women who understand the problems and want things to change. They are not necessarily opposed to the men taking away their money but are upset that their hard-earned money is not used to feed their children. They are convinced that nothing can be done about it because that’s just the way it works in their community. What is your strategy to get the cooperative back on track to meet the twin social outcomes for the cooperative on a sustainable basis? 


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

  • The cooperative has been thriving for 6 months
  • The women can sell the produce grown on their farm to the cooperative for additional income.
  • The women work for nine hours a day and make 3$ 
  • The women like this arrangement because it saves them money and time 
  • The women enjoy working together and are happy with the co-op
  • The women have to give their money to their husband father or brother
  • The money the women make gets wasted on alcohol/frivolous things
  • The twin social outcomes of improving the nutritional status of children and the livelihoods of rural households are not achievable right now
  • You as the entrepreneur will leave the cooperative’s committee (you and other 6 local women) after 6 months. 
  • The entrepreneur does not have direct say in the in the co-ops functioning
  • Assumption: not all 500 women of the cooperative will work on growing the produce.
  • The women are upset that their hard earned money is not used to feed their children


Ethical issue:  Although the cooperative is thriving the goals of the cooperative are not being met because the women are loosing their hard-earned money to the men in their household when they return home from work. The women are upset because they wish their money would be allocated to feeding their family instead of on frivolous things. Therefore you as the entrepreneur cannot truly say your co-op is thriving until it is reaching its original goals and the money issue is addressed. 

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

Problem: The women in the co-op do not get to keep their money to feed their children, because the money is given to the men in the household. You are leaving the co-op in 6 months and want to get the cooperative back on track. You want to get the cooperative on track of achieving the twin social outcomes in a sustainable manner.



  • Other 6 members of leadership committee
    • Personal Motivations: want to provide for their family, wants to keep good relations with the men and not cause issues, wants to keep good relations with the other women in the co-op. 
    • Professional Motivations: maintain position on the leadership committee, make a decision that satisfies everyone in the co-op and in the community.
  • Men in households:
    • Personal Motivations: buy products and goods that are personally satisfying (alcohol, and luxury items)
    • Professional Motivations: Work and provide for their family, but also take the money that the women bring home.
  • Breastfeeding Moms:
    • Professional Motivation: N/a 
    • Personal Motivation: The mothers want to be providing their babies with the best nutrients while keeping them safe 
  • Woman joining the co-op
    • Professional Motivation: sell as much porridge as possible to the community (build up the co-op), make the best and safest product (porridge), educate breastfeeding mothers, make money.
    • Personal Motivation: help their own babies stay healthy, help their neighbors.
  • Babies
    • Professional Motivation: N/a 
    • Personal Motivation: Want to minimize their risk of contracting HIV and still intake their required nutrients.
  • Farmers 
    • Professional Motivation: produce as much of their crop for community consumption as possible, make money (maximize profit), collaborate with the women in the cooperative 
    • Personal Motivation: help the community stay healthy (provide the best crops)
  • Grant Donor (secondary stakeholder)
    • Professional Motivation: Have good reputation of making good deeds, want their money to be allocated wisely and productively for meaningful purposes
    • Personal Motivation: Want  women in the area to be healthier and have their livelihood improved
  • Doctors
    • Professional Motivation: Would want HIV cases to go down and  would want to allocate their resources and knowledge to other patients with other illnesses  
    • Personal Motivation: Prevent the amount of infants they see with HIV/Malnutrition
  • Us (researchers establishing the co-op)
    • Professional Motivation: To start a successful and sustainable co-op what will also enhance our skill sets and credibility, build up good record and establish their credibility for future funding and resources 
    • Personal Motivation: Want to improve the livelihoods of women and children in the arena 


Step 4: Formulate ONE solution – based on information available, to have a win-win situation for your relationship and your venture. Approaches [1/2/3: repeat for every action] 


Optimal Solution: The cooperative will establish a partial credit system that allows women to earn more benefits by storing some of their earned money rather than cashing out $3 every day. These benefits can be in the form of discounts on local goods and porridge for the kids.The committee will decide the procedure on how to cash out (limit per day, what products can be purchased with high credits), making sure that money will be spent towards their kids rather than being wasted by the men in the households. However, the other portion of their pay (lesser part) will be in cash so that they can still save face with the men in the households. Additionally, the women will also be allowed to take home roughly two servings of porridge each day to ensure their kids are being fed.


How does the solution meet twin outcomes?


The women in the co-op will be able to use their pay to provide for their families now (through the credit system), and also will still be bringing back physical money to the men at home (so it doesn’t disrupt cultural norms and cause issues in the community). The women will not have to confront the men about wanting to use the money for other non-frivolous things. On the other side, you are still “paying” the women in the co-op. Altogether, this solution will help meet the twin outcomes: better nutrition for the children and improved livelihood for rural households.



  • The women have to spend a certain amount of their earned pay on food for their families. 
  • The women are allowed to bring home porridge free of charge each day to nourish their children.


  • The men will still be receiving some of the women’s pay and using on personal luxury items.
  • The women will only be able to use their credit earnings on porridge, or food/products that are within the co-op (or agreed upon by the committee). 


How does it save face of those involved? 


The co-op partial credit system allows for the women to still bring home a smaller portion of physical money that the men will be able to spend how they want to. The women will now be given an opportunity to spend their money how they want (on their families) without having to confront the men. It will also save face for the co-op and the committee, because it is a very non-confrontational approach that attempts not to disrupt cultural norms. 


Implications on relationships 

  • Short-term 
    • The men will most likely be disappointed that the women are bringing home less money, but the men will not likely be too offended that they abuse the wives and the children because at least we still give them the impression that they are “in control” of the finance.
  • Long-term 
    • The relationships will be healthier between the men and women in the household because the men will still be receiving money though it is small and the women will be able to feed their children
    • The men might start changing their behavior and thinking more about their family.
    • The families will have access to more food and necessary items (live better)
    • If the children grow up happier and healthier, they could help out the family with higher productivity, which could raise the family’s income and contribute to the elevated livelihoods.


Implications on the venture 

  • Short-term
    • They co-op will have to be prepared to have more porridge available because the women in the co-op will now be buying more too.
    • Might be easier to pay the women (not need as much cash).
  • Long-term 
    • The committee will now have more power in deciding the ratio of credit to cash payments of the women, and also in what products they can use the credit on.
    • The co-op may be more successful because each of the women will now essentially be reinvesting their earnings into the company by buying food. 
      • More women may be able to participate


Seek additional assistance, as appropriate – previous cases, peers, reliance on personal experience, inner reflection 


We combined our own proposed solution as well as our peers’ in order to maximize the benefits to the community while saving faces for every stakeholder involved. Some of our peer’s suggestions:

  1. Gift card. Extracting part of the money that they earn per day to the gift card, which can be used to purchase goods in the grocery store. 
  2. Food Receipt. Require that a certain amount of the food is spent responsibly. Receipts required, incentives could be included to encourage more responsible use of money in the rural household.
  3. Hold meetings with the cooperative’s committees (6 women) and the community leaders (including both men and women) to bring up the issue and discuss how money earned by the women working for the cooperatives can be distributed in a more sustainable manner. 
  4. Co-op gives the women option to walk away with porridge everyday for free to address malnutrition problem


Our inner reflection: 

  • We do not integrate solution 1 and 2 into our proposal because we think it might not be as effective as the credit system in the context of giving  the power to the women to purchase food and necessities to support their families physically and mentally. 
  • We got solution 4 from our peers, and we think it is a viable idea that can help address the malnutrition problem effectively; so, we incorporate them into our solution. 
  • For solution 3, it doesn’t not necessarily solve the problem, but it reminds us that no matter how good our solution is, if we don’t have a good implementation strategy, it automatically becomes useless. The team will take this into consideration into our last step.

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


  • Ask the women in the leadership committee if they want a change. Get them to understand the system and the problem we are facing.
  • Validate it with committee and the men – talk to 25-30 people one on one, try to get them on board 
  • Bring everyone together for the large meeting
  • Try to moderate the discussion → move it towards to the grassroot diplomacy 
  • Ask the people in the meeting, “How do they want to structure the cooperatives’ finance?”
  • Figure out a set ratio of credit/cash pay, and implement ways the committee can adjust this over time if it doesn’t work.
  • Figure out what items the credit can be used for.
  • Test the system out for a few months, and reconvene with the committee to make adjustments if needed. 
  • Before you leave, make sure you communicate candidly and clearly with the 6 women in the committee about the vision and core mission of the cooperative, making sure everyone is on the same page. Encourage them to find and educate younger members about the mindset so that the venture keeps flourishing even after your departure.

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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