CINQ Blog 4, case #3

Step 1: Determine the facts in the situation – obtain all of the unbiased facts possible. Clearly state the ethical issue.

  • 35% of the children in this East African region have stunted growth.
  • If children are breastfed for too long they have a higher chance of contracting HIV
  • Maize and banana gruel is the common food for the babies starting around 2 months to 24 months and accompanies breastfeeding. The gruel isn’t that nutritious even though people think it is
  • People are skeptical of the pesticides and the adverse health effects they can give to the babies
  • You have a grant to establish a women’s cooperative to improve the nutritional status of the children and improve the livelihoods of rural households.
    • The funds will help women’s group make nutritious self-stable porridge to help children ween off breastfeeding.
    • Approximately 500 women in the area are willing to join
  • WHO says to breastfeed exclusively until 6 months
  • The longer someone with HIV breastfeeds the more likely they are to transmit their diseases to their child


Step 2: Define the Stakeholders – those with a vested interest in the outcome

  1. Children at breastfeeding ages
  2. Lactating mothers
  3. Women joining the co-op
  4. Women’s cooperative grant donor
  5. You as a researcher
  6. Local farmers
  7. Doctors / Health network
  8. The actual co-op


Step 3: Assess the motivations of the Stakeholders

  1. Children at breastfeeding ages
    1. Don’t want to get HIV
    2. Don’t want pesticides in their food
    3. Want to grow up healthy and alive
  2. Lactating mothers
    1. Want their babies to grow up healthy
  3. Other Women
    1. They may be in the women’s cooperative making the porridge as part of the project
    2. Potential employment opportunity with the cooperative
    3. Will want their future children to be healthy
  4. Women’s cooperative Grant Donor
    1. Want women to be healthier
    2. Want their money to go towards a productive venture (worthy investment)
  5. You as a researcher
    1. Want to make everyone happy
    2. Professionally need to develop a successful co-operative  – this is your main motivation not the ethical issue in question
  6. Local Farmers
    1. Your crops may be used to produce the porridge that will be created with the women’s cooperative.
    2. You will make money
  7. Doctors
    1. Want healthy communities
    2. Be equipped in the case of new health problems arise because of pesticide use?
  8. The future co-op
    1. Motivated to stay open
    2. Be useful – help women
    3. Make money


Step 4: Formulate (at least three) alternative solutions – based on information available, using basic ethical core values as guide


The problem: How can you ethically decide for a mother what types of pesticides you give her child when you know the child is malnutritioned and her breastfeeding may be dangerous.


Solution 1:

  • Potential solution: Form a section on the cooperative and educate women on the different risks of the porridge and HIV and let them decide, also produce the porridge and sell it.
  • Ethical Principle: virtue-based because a good person would educate the community about the problems so that you engage them in the decision-making process.
  • Pros: Promotes healthy choices among the women and they
  • Cons: the women could possibly make the wrong decision and put their child in danger. It is very hard to educate any possible buyer.


Solution 2:

  • Potential solution : Form the porridge – privately test the new supplement for pesticides, based on the assumption that pesticides are better than HIV. Don’t tell women about the dangers of pesticides. Teach women that after 6 months they have to stop breastfeeding.
  • Ethical Principle or code- consequence based thinking because if your goal is just to choose the healthier option, just take the fastest path of getting there by telling the women to make the porridge without educating them about anything.
  • Pros: You don’t risk damaging the reputation of the porridge and thus don’t give babies HIV. You are solving the problem as you see it as quickly as possible.
  • Cons: Is this moral? No. You are choosing for every mother in the community.

Solution 3:

  • Potential solution: cooperative grows its own crops without pesticides and uses those ingredients to make the porridge and give the porridge to every mother so that there is no risk of the babies getting HIV
  • ethical principle or code: virtue based. Be a good person and look for the best solution to improve the standard of living for the community.
  • Pros: ensure that every child is getting healthy nutrients and not getting HIV. This could make the co-op self sufficient and a closed loop system which is great.
  • Cons: growing your own crops adds another level to the co-op and will require investment (though odds are the women are educated about growing staple crops).

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


Relying on my work with the mushroom team I know how valuable it can be to specifically engineer all the aspects and inputs in your business. You can realize how to create no waste and be as efficient as possible.

I think solution two while it might seem like the best choice to a robot is immoral and I could never carry that guilt if the pesticides became a big problem.


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.


Out of the three solutions that our group came up with I would choose solution 3. From working in agriculture I know that most people (or at least some who you could hire) would have background knowledge on staple crops. If your product is being sourced from local crops it would be beneficial to source your own. This would allow you to grow the co-operative and employ more women as opposed to outsourcing. This also eliminates the ethical issue of pesticides. Now you are giving women a completely safe alternative to breastfeeding which will hopefully help children stop breastfeeding earlier and thus avoid contracting HIV.


Step 7: 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.


This heavily impacts your co-operative. It could easily cause logistical problems and will make the co-op harder to organize and will be much more work for you. While it will save you money in the long run because you won’t need to pay farmers for crops and you can supply them yourself in the set up of the venture it will require a larger start up cost which may or may not be covered by the grant. This may irritate the grant donor who would not be in charge of making this change.



Step 1: Determine the facts in the situation – obtain all of the unbiased facts possible. Clearly state the ethical issue.

  • The women in the cooperative are making alright money off of the venture (about $3 USD)
  • Cooperative also gives the women the option to sell their own family’s crops to the cooperative, gives them a little more money
  • Children of cooperative women aren’t getting fed
  • Money is being wasted by the men


Step 2: Define the Stakeholders – those with a vested interest in the outcome

  1. Cooperative women
  2. 7 women on committee
  3. You as the entrepreneur
  4. Children
  5. Husbands, brothers, fathers
  6. Grant donor


Step 3: Assess the personal and professional motivations of the Stakeholders

  1. Cooperative women
    1. Personal: they want the money to be used for their children. If they speak up, they might be subjected to domestic abuse.
    2. Professional: they want their hard-earned money to be put into good use.
  2. 7 women on the committee
    1. Personal: they want their fellow women to have control over their paycheck because “girls stick together”
    2. Professional: same thing but as committee members, they want to do what’s best for the cooperative
  3. You as the entrepreneur
    1. Personal: the morally good person in you just wants equality
    2. Professional: you want the grant that went into creating the cooperative to be used wisely
  4. Children:
    1. Personal and professional: they want and need healthy food to grow up healthy
  5. Husbands, brothers, fathers
    1. Personal and professional: they want that extra pocket money to spend on useless shit that will give them a good reputation among their men friends and have that cultural capital for socializing.
  6. Grant donors
    1. Personal: they want to empower women
    2. Professional: they want their money to be used well.


Step 4: Formulate (at least three) alternative solutions – based on the information available, using basic ethical core values as guide


  • Potential Solution: Convince the board to: economically incentivise families to spend money responsibly by showing receipts spent on food, water, etc. If they are spending the money responsibly they get an X% raise so long as they continue spending responsibly
  • How does it solve the problem?
    • Pros: incentivises the families to spend money better, gets
    • Cons: more cost to the coop- HOWEVER this incentive may be as expensive as other solns
      • Also, this solution creates a need for much more bureaucracy which may be difficult to implement and enforce
  • How does it save face of those involved?
    • It doesn’t give the men a choice not to spend the money on food and necessities, so the women aren’t “taking” money from them.
  • Implications on relationships
    • Short-term: Gives women more power
    • Long-term: might make the men upset once they catch on
  • Implications on the venture
    • Short-term: should solve the problem for the women
    • Long-term: might not work at all, might lose money, is a huge logistical nightmare


  • Potential Solution: Convince the board to:  Barter instead of money for the goods because then the women will have no money to give to their husbands
  • How does it solve the problem?
    • Pros: Takes away the ability for the men of the households to take the money and use it for their personal use
      • The women will still be rewarded for their work but will be given things that will benefit them and their whole family (not alc and shit)
    • Cons: Men might get heated, cooperative would probably have to create some sort of store that the women can go to and exchange their points for goods, goods offered to barter for might not be what the women need for themselves and fam
  • How does it save face of those involved?
    • Women feel better knowing that there isn’t money being wasted and their kids can still get fed if some of the exchanges include the porridge itself.
  • Implications on relationships
    • Short-term: Women are bringing something home to their families that will
    • Long-term
  • Implications on the venture
    • Short-term: how do you get the goods to trade for- will give more responsibility to the co-op
    • Long-term: This creates a centrally planned economy vibe where the co-op would be deciding what goods the women can purchase and would eliminate the choice and benefit of the free market. Would likely come to irritate the women.



  • Potential Solution:  Cooperative keeps the money and keeps track of what each woman has earned, this is like a “share” within the co-op: money reinvested results in better wages eventually (has the benefits of a bank). The co-op makes rules about what you can withdraw money for and there is a cool down period before you get the money.
  • How does it solve the problem?
    • Pros: The women regain some control of their money
    • Cons: the men still have a little control, wiggle room to break the rules
  • How does it save face of those involved?
    • Cooperative grant donors can say they are addressing the issue. The men don’t lose total control and thus won’t act irrationally or in anger. It can be phrased as a new good business idea instead of a solution to a problem that no one wants to admit is happening.
  • Implications on relationships
    • Short-term may initially be confusing and hard to explain to workers
    • Long-term will give women control, higher wages, and better quality of life
  • Implications on the venture
    • Short-term lots more work
    • Long-term more money to reinvest into the co-op, basically a constant loan base


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


Solution 3 was Khanjans idea and I really have no knowledge of how this would work or if it occurs in the real world beyond what he told me.

I know that men in the real world would react very poorly and perhaps spell the end to the co-op if they lost control of money they viewed to be theirs. One should be very careful when interfering (even indirectly) in domestic affairs.


Step 6: Select the best course of action – that solves the problem, saves face and has the best short term and long-term implications for your relationship and venture. Explain reasoning and discuss your solution vis-a-vis other approaches discussed in class.


I believe that the best solution is solution 3. Solution 1 and 2 would become logistical nightmares supper quickly. There is too much doubt in whether or not solutions 1 or 2 would achieve the desired outcome. In the case of bartering the co-op would have to order goods and they wouldn’t know exactly what the women want, this would result in loss of money so this solution could never work. In the case of solution one it seems smart to incentive people to buy better goods but the men would feel attacked by this and perhaps react poorly as well as lie about the money spent. The co-op would also not make money from this and thus wouldn’t have an obvious source to give out the monetary incentives.

Solution 3 is possible and will save face for those involved. It doesn’t have the problems that solutions 2 and 1 have.


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


First, you must win over the other 6 board members. Starting with the ones most likely to agree with you. Then move on the workers and make sure to include their male family members in this discussion. Angle it as a savvy business opportunity and a way for them to make more money (along with control for the women but don’t tell the men that). Slowly win over more and more people. You may have to make compromises or add to the solution and that’s okay as long as you don’t change the outcomes and impacts. Make a very specific and agreed-upon set of rules for withdrawing money and make sure the entire co-op is a part of this discussion. Then work hard to make sure the system, when put in place, is efficient and fair.

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