Case 3

Part 1: Ethical Decision Making

FACTS OF THE CASE

  • High HIV rate
  • 35% of the children stunted 
  • Mothers who are HIV positive risk transmitting to child if they breastfeed
  • Few women are actually tested for the virus
  • Pesticides typically used in growing the crops 
  • Current food they are getting isn’t nutritious
  • There is a grant to establish a women’s cooperative
  • The goal is to wean children off breast milk at roughly 6 months old

The main goal is to improve the nutritional status of the children AND improve womens’ livelihood.

Ethical issue: How can the women’s cooperative prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child AND prevent children from eating pesticides? Is it worse to get HIV or eat pesticides?

STAKEHOLDERS AND MOTIVATIONS

  • Mothers 
    • Want children to be healthy
    • Don’t want to pass HIV to children
    • Don’t want children to have adverse effects from pesticides
    • Want children to be properly nourished
  • Children
    • They are directly impacted by the breastfeeding/pesticides
    • They need to obtain all required nutrients 
  • The donor
    • Wants its money to be spent properly
    • Wants a good reputation
  • Us
    • Provide nutritious porridge for the children
    • Ensure the cooperation is built right and is sustainable/scalable
    • Invested in seeing the impact through 
  • Women’s Cooperative
    • Wants to provide children with a nutritious porridge to wean children off of breast milk
    • Are skeptical of the impacts of pesticides and of HIV transmission 
    • Wants to attract investors to the cooperative
    • Want to bring in a stable income to support their families
    • Wants good reputation
  • Local cash crop farmers
    • They grow the crops that are being bought for the porridge
    • Financially invested

 

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

Solution 1: Have the cooperative grow their own produce (pesticide-free) and employ more local women 

Ethical Principle: Duty-Based

  • “Do only that which you would want everyone to do”
  • We would not want our children and communities eating crops sprayed with chemicals

Pros: 

  • Creates jobs for women
  • Not only the cooperative but the community as well can have access to clean and healthy crops
  • Can be fully in control of the crops 
  • Children will get the nutrition that they need

Cons:

  • It may cost more setting up another piece of land
  • Have to educate the women on farming practices
  • Will put some farmers out of business

Solution 2: Wash the produce when it gets to the cooperative
Ethical Principle: Virtue-based thinking

  • “What is ‘honest’ depends on social traditions, history, etc. the gruel the children receive already has pesticides and the solution would reduce HIV transmission while possibly  decreasing pesticides in gruel. 
  • Ethics often times can rely on judgement

Pros:

  • There would be no more/significantly less pesticides in the food
  • They get the nutrients they need
  • Don’t need to breastfeed so avoid HIV transmission 
  • Cheap way to avoid pesticides

Cons: 

  • The water may not be clean so we would need a water filtration system
  • Hard to tell if washing is effective
  • If the pesticides were treated with wax then they could be trapped beneath the waxy surface

 

Solution 3: Develop a vitamin supplement to add to the gruel so that children can continue eating gruel but also be nourished
Ethical Principle: Consequence-based thinking

  • Although the children would still be eating pesticide-contaminated gruel, they would definitely be getting the nutrients they need through the supplement
  • The benefits outweigh the negatives

Pros:

  • They get the key nutrients that they need
  • Don’t need to breastfeed
  • Can argue that pesticides are better than HIV
  • Using the base recipe – may be cheaper

Cons

  • Probably have to import the supplement which might be expensive
  • Still getting pesticides 
  • Could possibly alter the taste
  • Supplements may not be as nutritious as incorporating healthy foods 
  • The mission is to create opportunities for women and this does not follow that

 

SEEK ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

Some of us were on the malnutrition team in Sierra Leone and have learned the importance of incorporating whole, nutritious foods into childrens’ diet, but have also learned about  supplements that can be effective too if they need to be used.

 

SELECT BEST COURSE OF ACTION

Solution 2: Washing the produce with filtered water
This will easily get rid of the pesticides in the food and children will be able to eat clean and nutritious food. Although it might be expensive to get a water filter, this will be a one-time upfront cost. There might be slight maintenance costs in the future that the cooperative will have to cover (because the donor money will eventually run out) but this will be much cheaper than starting up a new farm, so it is better than Solution 1. Additionally, it is better than Solution 3 because eating whole foods is much better than using supplements and Solution 3 still gives children pesticides.

IMPLICATIONS OF THE SOLUTION

  • There would be an added step in the preparation of the porridge
  • We have to educate the women to make sure they properly wash all the fruits and vegetables
  • We have to know how to install a filtration system properly so that the water is clean 
  • They will have to upkeep the costs of maintaining the filtration system, even when the money from the donor runs out
  • Children will not be getting as many pesticides and will be properly nourished 

 

Part 2: Grassroots Diplomacy

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

  • The business is doing well
  • There are multiple income earning opportunities (can sell produce from their own small farms)
  • Women have to give money to husband
  • Cooperative not achieving both improving nutritional status AND improving livelihoods
  • I do not have a direct say in how the cooperative functions
  • I have 6 months left to make a change because then I have to leave the cooperative
  • There is a 7 person board
  • Men waste money
  • Women are upset that the money that they are earning is not being used to feed children, but don’t care that they are not in control of the money because it is culturally normal
  • The children of the women in the cooperative are not getting the nutrition that they need

Ethical issue: How can we achieve the twin social outcomes without disturbing the culture?

 

STAKEHOLDERS AND MOTIVATIONS

  • Us
    • Personal and Professional
      • We want to achieve twin social outcomes
      • We want to financially empower women
      • We want the children of the women in the cooperative to be fed nutritious foods
      • We want cooperative to be successful
  • Women in the cooperative: 
    • Personal
      • Want to use the money they earn to support their families
      • Want their children to be healthy and fed
      • Want to have a good relationship with their husbands
    • Professional
      • Want to make money from the cooperative and their farms
      • Want the cooperative to be successful
  • Children
    • Personal
      • Need the money that their mothers are earning to be used to support them
  • Men
    • Personal
      • Want to be in charge of the money
      • Want to buy alcohol and frivolous things

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

Solution 1: Compensate the women in goods (i.e. food, personal care products) instead of money

  • Pros:
    • Women are able to support their families with goods and foods
    • The products and nutrients are going directly to the children in town rather than just to the cities
    • The children will have more resources
  • Cons:
    • The husbands could be upset that the women aren’t bringing money back with them
    • Hard to always predict exactly what women need
    • The women may be less willing to work such long hours without monetary compensation
    • Might be hard logistically
    • Hard to continue after I leave in 6 months
  • Saves face for 
    • the women because they do not have to directly face their husbands, but are getting the desired outcome of putting the money towards the family
    • the cooperative because they would achieve their joint goals and run a more ethical venture
  • Implications on relationships 
    • Short term
      • Men may be angry at the women for not bringing home money
      • Immediate unhappiness within family units
    • Long term
      • Family will be better off so it may eventually build relationships in the family
  • Implications on venture
    • Short term
      • The children will receive the necessary nutrition 
    • Long term
      • The venture will achieve both of its goals
      • The children will have more resources and become more nourished

Solution 2: Pay women their regular wages, but compensate them in goods (i.e. food, personal care products) in exchange for selling their produce

  • Pros:
    • Easier to integrate with the families because they are getting both money and resources 
    • Men won’t be as angry at the wives so the wives will be safer
    • Children are getting food and other resources that they need
  • Cons:
    • Men can still waste money 
    • Women are not completely empowered
  • Saves Face
    • Saves face for the women because they are still bringing in money and it will keep the peace between them and their husbands
    • Saves face for the cooperative because they are able to accomplish their goals and provide nutrients through the goods 
  • Implications of the relationships
    • Short term
      • Men in the family may be upset that they aren’t bring in as much money as before
    • Long term
      • Families will get used to this balance of goods vs. money and relationships will strengthen
  • Implications of the venture
    • Short term: 
      • The children receive more nutrients and are healthier
    • Long term
      • The venture will be achieving its duel goals
      • The children will get more resources and access to nutritional foods (the porridge)

 

Solution 3: Doing nothing 

  • Pros:
    • Not interfering in culture 
    • Women are not necessarily opposed to men taking money anyway 
    • Not putting women at risk since not taking money away from men 
  • Cons:
    • Men can still waste money 
    • Children do not receive as much food
  • Saves Face for the women and their husbands
    • The women do not have to disturb the family dynamic
    • The husbands are not exposed for their irresponsible behaviors
  • Implications of the relationships
    • Short term
      • There is no tension in relationships between men and women because the status quo is maintained
    • Long term
      • The issue could cause problems down the line as the children aren’t getting important resources like food and clothing.
      • There is still a power imbalance
      • Women will be disempowered
  • Implications of the venture
    • Short term
      • The venture isn’t accomplishing its goals
    • Long term
      • If the venture cannot accomplish its goals it is not ultimately successful
      • Looks bad on us (the people who established the women’s cooperative) 

 

SEEK ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE
“First, do no harm”: This is an important part of healthcare and should be an important part of our venture too. There is a clear issue due to the power imbalance, but we do not want to make anything worse by trying to fix this problem. We don’t want to replace one problem with another, potentially more dangerous problem.

SELECT BEST COURSE OF ACTION
Solution 2: Pay women their regular wages, but compensate them in goods (i.e. food, personal care products) in exchange for selling their produce
We don’t want men to waste money but we also don’t want men to be angry at their wives and create an unsafe environment for the women. Giving the women only money and making no changes (Solution 3) would perpetuate the power imbalance and the problem would continue. The children wouldn’t get the food and resources that they need, and the women’s lived would not be improved. Giving the women only goods (Solution 1) would make the men angry, because they want the women to come home with money for them to spend. This may cause violence in the household and the men may not allow their wives to come to work. Therefore, I think that Solution 2, giving the women their salary in money but trading them goods for produce from their farms, is a good middle-ground. This way men will still have money to spend and not be angry, but the children would still be getting some food. It might not be the optimal amount of food, but at least it is something and they will live in a safe environment.

IMPLICATIONS OF THE SOLUTION

  • Children may not get all of the food and resources that they need
  • The Women’s Cooperative is approaching their dual goals, but will not completely reach them
  • There is minimal interference with culture

Case Study 2

Facts

  1. Jack is in Kenya for 5 months
  2. Center for former street youth
  3. Jack was the gift distributor but the gifts were from a donor
  4. 4 kids didn’t get gifts during the ceremony and ended up getting a black hat at the end
  5. The center didn’t care that the kids didn’t get gifts

 

Issue: How should Jack handle the 4 children being left out of the ceremony, without overstepping and upsetting the center?

Stakeholders and motivations:

Jack
Personal: He wants to be liked by the children
Professional: He wants to have a good relationship with the both the children and the center

Kids who didn’t get the gifts: Everyone wants to be recognized in the ceremony and receive the same gifts

Center
Personal: think Jack is dramatic and they just want to stop being bothered, might be offended if Jack comes in and criticises them.
Professional: They don’t want Jack to become a children’s rights activist → criticism for things that they are doing because they are working with what they have. They 
don’t want him to come in and start criticizing this. zThey want to focus on bigger problems in the center

Funders of gifts: Want to maintain a good reputation and a good relationship with the center

Funders of Jack’s venture: want their investment to be worth it

Solutions:

  1. Solution: Jack can approach the children separately and give them real gifts by themselves – privately don’t involve the center
  • How does it solve the problem?
    o Pros: kids have the gifts
    o Cons: this will not improve their standing with the other children because it is not in the ceremony
  • How does it save face of those involved: Jack saves face with the children they will like him now
  • Implications on relationships
    o Short-term: kids will be happy and have a good relationship with Jack
    o Long-term: they might still feel awkward that they were left out and have strained relationships with the other kids
  • Implications on the venture
    o Short-term: kids more willing to take part in his study
    o Long-term: it will probably happen again
  1. Solution: Present kids with gifts at the next event
  • How does it solve the problem?
    o Pros: kids will get the gifts ceremoniously and be recognized in front of their friends
    o Cons: kids might be embarrassed
  • How does it save face of those involved: children are saved face because they are given gifts in front of their friends, Jack saves face with the children
  • Implications on relationships
    o Short-term: Kids will be happy
    o Long-term: center might feel overlooked and resentful Jack worked around them
  • Implications on the venture
    o Short-term: it will be costly to buy new gifts and throw a new party
  • o Long-term: could harm the professional relationship between Jack and the children and Jack might have trouble continuing the work
  1. Solution: Do not give the children gifts
  • How does it solve the problem?
    o Pros: no cost and the center is left unbothered.
    o Cons: kids are sad and don’t get gifts
  • How does it save face of those involved – center does not have to deal with problems
  • Implications on relationships
    o Short-term: kids may not like Jack or the center
    o Long-term: kids might be less willing to work with Jack and help him accomplish his goals
  • Implications on the venture
    o Short-term there might be tension
    o Long-term the center will be happy Jack obeyed them but will probably do it again

Personal Experience: Some of us have met “Jack” at Mountaintop and know that he is a nice person, and think that he would give the children gifts

Best course of action: The best solution is for Jack to give the kids gifts separately. These gifts should be similar to the gifts that the other kids got, in order not to give them special treatment because that would cause another problem and a cyclic competition. This solution will save his face with the kids, and they will be more willing to work with him. The center will not find out, so it won’t hurt his relationship with the center either. He needs to have a good relationship with everybody so that he can get his work done. Unfortunately, the kids will not get recognized in front of their friends, but they will like Jack for doing the right thing.

Implementation:

  1. Jack will buy gifts that are similar to the ones that the majority of the center’s children got
  2. Jack will give the children their gifts on the side
  3. The center will not be involved. If they found out, Jack could explain that he was trying to make the children happy without bothering the center because they have other things to do.

Case Study 1

Facts:

  • There is a disease-causing pathogen in the water
  • Chemical additives can make the water safe
  • Lesotho is a developing country
  • Many people are needed to conduct research

Issue: Are the researchers taking advantage of the community members if they choose not to compensate them for their help?

Stakeholders and Motivations:

  1. Researchers: clout, the personal need to make a difference, prestige, passion for Lesotho, professional pressure – they may not be doing it to actually make a difference in the people of Lesotho’s health, but see this difference as an extra benefit.
  2. Community members: they are motivated by the desire to be healthy, and maybe by the money they can earn
  3. Publishers: contribution to science, money, reputation – likely not to help the people of Lesotho
  4. Government: public safety, votes, tax payer money, good foreign relationships
  5. Sponsor: remain reputable, money is well spent, good record, clout
  6. Healthcare providers: medical knowledge, better care for community, they want the community members to be healthier

Our alternative solutions:

  1. Pay the community members for their time and resources (cash)
    1. ethical principle: duty based
    2. pros: motivation and willingness to help, good relationship
    3. cons: costly, taking money away from something else, difficulty ensuring fairness in pay
  2. Compensate community members in means other than cold hard cash (ex: food or dinner
    1. ethical principle:  virtue based
    2. pros: save money, don’t create reputation of having cash to give out
    3. cons: have to be creative, no calculation to know if you are being fair
  3.  No compensation
    1. ethical principle: consequence based
    2. pros: cheaper, maximize grant money
    3. people may not be motivated to help, bad relationship

Experience: During our fieldwork in Sierra Leone, we paid people for their time and resources. This was a motivating factor and people helped us get our research done.

Our Solution: Compensate with money and have a fair and clear contract (we value quality data – and believe this is the best way to obtain data). This is best to minimize the risk of people feeling like they are (or actually are) being taken advantage of. If they are being paid a fair pay, which we will research and use to determine their rates, the community members will be more willing to help and the researchers will be getting the data that they need. If they are not being paid, they may choose to do something else that they would get compensated for, and the researchers would not accomplish their goal.

Implications: Direct compensation will motivate community members to help with the research project, and the project will get the quality data it needs more efficiently. There will be a good relationship between the community members and the foreigners. Additionally, paying the community members will not be that great of a cost to the researchers (to the point where it would make it not worth it to pay).
However, the risk of this approach is that people will think that foreigners will always pay them and this is a dangerous assumption. We do not want this to set a precedent for the future, and tie us down in any way. If they think that we will always pay them, and then we do not, this could ruin our relationship. We will work with employees to make our objectives clear from the get-go to prevent this from happening.

Blog Post 1

What are the top three things you learned during your GSIF trip this summer?

    1. What I learned: I learned the importance of strategic questions when gathering data through questionnaires.
    2. How I learned it: We went into our first round of questionnaires with several questions, some of which were irrelevant (i.e. they were not helping us to advance our research). We then refined our questions so that each question was giving us new information for our project and the future of it.
    3. Why it matters: It is important to ask meaningful questions so that you can use the data you collect to advance the project. It is important to only ask these questions in order to use time and resources efficiently, rather than sifting through the data afterwards to find only a few important data points.
    4. What I will do in light of this: After we refined our questionnaire, each question had a purpose. We will now be analyzing the data and it is helpful that each question will teach us something else.
    1. What I learned: People in Sierra Leone are very open minded
    2. How I learned it: We visited several clinics, villages, and a church. The CHOs in the clinics, the people in the villages, and the Reverend in the church were all welcoming to us. Through our questionnaires, we learned that mothers are very willing to make changes in their children’s diet in order to improve his or her nutrition.
    3. Why it matters: Sierra Leone has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world and it is important for people to be open to making a change so that they can better themselves and their lives.
    4. What I will do in light of this: We will continue advancing our product and business because it seems that this idea will work in Sierra Leone, due to their open mindedness.
    1. What I learned: How to maximize resources
    2. How I learned it: I felt very constrained with the amount of resources we had. We had limited access to translators at first, sometimes had trouble finding a driver to take us to wherever we needed to be, we did not have the same advanced baking equipment that we are used to, and we needed to be price conscious when buying ingredients to bake with. We learned how to handle all of these obstacles in order to progress our project effectively and efficiently.
    3. Why it matters: When working in Sierra Leone, it doesn’t seem that the resources are as plentiful as they are in the United States. In order to create a successful business, it is important to know how to fully take advantage of everything that you do have and maximize your resources and time in order to do so.
    4. What I will do in light of this: We were able to efficiently plan our time and resources so that we were able to complete the tasks we set out to do. I will do this in the future of this project as well.

How did the GSIF trip help facilitate your professional development?

    1. What I learned: I learned how to be flexible and adaptable.
    2. How I learned it: Sometimes things out of our control would go wrong (i.e. the bakery not opening when it was supposed to) and we had to change our plans at the last minute. We were constantly pivoting in order to accomplish the task at hand.
    3. Why it matters: Things don’t always go as planned, especially in Sierra Leone. However, things still need to get done.
    4. How I will make use of this fieldwork experience: We always had plan A, B, C, D, etc. We now know that in the future of this project, we are likely to experience the same type of unpredictability and we must be able to adapt to a changing environment so that our venture can be successful.
    1. What I learned: I improved my communication skills
    2. How I leaned it: People in the United States are very suggestive toward each other and often try to be overly polite. I came into Sierra Leone with the communication skills I use at home, but quickly learned that direct communication works better in Sierra Leone. We learned this through observing the way others speak to each other and follow up with each other.
    3. Why it matters: Without culturally appropriate communication, we would not have been able to accomplish our tasks in Sierra Leone.
    4. How I will make use of this field work experience: As we continue advancing our venture, I know that we have to be direct with people from Sierra Leone and constantly follow up. Even if it seems rude and annoying to us, it is the way that people in Sierra Leone communicate.
    1. What I learned: The importance of individual roles to team work
    2. How I learned it: Originally we did not have specific roles, and with 7 people, it was hard to actually get anything done without having roles. It was very chaotic. However, once Khanjan suggested that we each take responsibility for a certain area, we were able to be efficient and get things done.
    3. Why it matters: With so many tasks and so many people, it is important to be efficient in getting things done and to have proper communication. If the team knows that one person, for example, is responsible for everything with the translators, then other people don’t need to worry about it.
    4. How I will make use of this field work experience: This shows the importance of teamwork, and I know that throughout the rest of my education and career, it is important for me to know how to effectively manage a set of tasks as a team.

 

How did GSIF help you grow personally?

    1. Area of personal growth: I became less uptight and controlling
    2. How I achieved this: The environment in Sierra Leone is often unpredictable, and in order to be successful in our project, I had to learn how to be patient.
    3. Why it matters: Things in any setting, especially in Sierra Leone, do not always go as planned. It is important to not try to control everything because that is a waste of energy.
    4. What I will do in light of this: I will find a balance in my life of assertiveness and relaxation. I think it will make me a more successful group member and professional.
    1. Area of personal growth: How to properly gain respect
    2. How I achieved this: As an American and a woman, I stick out in Sierra Leone and was not always respected by the locals at first. However, with several interactions, I was able to figure out how to gain the respect of the people around me.
    3. Why it matters: It is very difficult to get anything done if you are not respected. We want our project to be successful, and cannot do that if the people around us are not on board.
    4. What I will do in light of this: I know that women are naturally not as respected as men in the work place. I will be assertive and take on responsibility so that people have no choice but to respect me.
    1. Area of personal growth: Taking responsibility
    2. How I achieved this: The tasks that we set for ourselves had to get done, even if there were set backs. I had to take responsibility for pivoting our approach in order to use our limited time efficiently so that we could accomplish our goals.
    3. Why it matters: Not everything works out the way you plan, and it is often not even your fault. However, in order to be successful, you need to take responsibility for everything.
    4. What I will do in light of this: It is my responsibility to make sure my project is progressing, and regardless of what happens, I will strive to make sure that the project is successful.

Blog 10

  1. M&E 
  2. Forecasted SROI
    For every $1 spent on the venture, we will generate $240 of social impact.
    Assumptions:
    • $1 makes 20 cakes.
    • 20 cakes can feed 20 children
    • It takes 1 year of eating the cakes every day for a child to be “cured”
    • In 1 year, $1 every day makes 7300 muffins and cures 20 children
    • Malnutrition costs the global economy 3.5 trillion USD per year (for 795 million people) so about $4400 per person per year. For 20 children this would be $88050
    • Spending $365 saves $88050, therefore spending $1 saves $240

Blog 9

GRANTS WE CAN APPLY TO

Design phase
Hershey: Professor Herz has a connection at Hershey and we have began to be in contact with them to establish a relationship. They might be able to fund testing of our cakes for the nutrients to make sure that our assumptions are right.

USAID DIV: We will have to test our muffins to make sure people like them and that mothers are willing to buy them and want to do so cost efficiently. This grant will help us do so. We will write a proposal stating how we will test our product and what the benefits will be.

Dissemination phase
USAID Food For Peace: They focus on development projects assisting food security which is ultimately the goal of our cakes. We will write a funding proposal to support the implementation of our cakes.

Gates foundation Global Grand Challenges: They don’t have any specific grant opportunities available right now but post them often. I know that this is a good opportunity because they have provided malnutrition focused ventures with grants in the past such as Creating Spirulina Microentrepreneurs to Solve Malnutrition and Folic Acid and Iron: Next Generation Nutrition in Uganda. I will keep looking at the website and wait for them to post a grant opportunity.

 

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

 

Blog 8

List five take-aways from Guy Kawasaki’s talk and explain exactly how you will integrate that concept/construct/strategy into your project. Make it compelling. Don’t write generic forgettable text.

  1. Make a mantra, not a mission statement.
    Right now my team has a mission statement. It is “To provide the children of Sierra Leone with locally grown, cost-effective, and nutritious foods to address the issue of chronic malnutrition in children 2-5 years of age.” I definitely will work on turning this into a mantra. Maybe something like “Local affordable nutrition” would work well.
  2. Make meaning not money
    It is difficult to not think about money when creating this venture because funds are so limited in Sierra Leone and we want to create something that will be sustainable. However, I do believe that a meaningful project will attract the right people and generate an economic profit and ultimately accomplish our goal
  3. Great products polarize people – think different
    When we are coming up with a product, we are trying to think of something that everybody would like but have found that this is impossible without making sacrifices. I am comforted by his point that creating something that one group of people LOVES is more important than creating something mediocre that everybody tolerates.
  4. Hire infected people
    It is important it social entrepreneurship to be “infected with love” and these are the types of people that we want to hire to work in our factory and the type of vendors that we want to sell our product. People who are passionate and really believe in our product will do a significantly better job in production and selling than people who are just in it for the money.
  5. Keep the business model simple
    I think that this is a very important point. We started the semester by trying to create a business model as an output, but really have learned that it is just a learning tool. We have been modifying it so that we are able to retrieve the important information and ignore the jargon that is not relevant to our venture and is just there for formalities.

In partnership with one or at most two team members, present a business model canvas for your venture.

Blog Post 7

List ten non-obvious assumptions about your target customers (or organizations) that you need to validate.

  1. The prices we have gotten from contacts in Sierra Leone are accurate
  2. Children are not eating other micronutrient focused supplements
  3. We can get ingredients in bulk
  4. Parents and their children can access street vendors
  5. A bakery will be willing to partner with us to produce cakes
  6. Parents are willing to spend money on nutritious food
  7. The price of our product is appropriate for the market
  8. Children like the taste of sweet potatoes
  9. We can scale up and produce enough cakes per day
  10. We will be able to dry the sweet potatoes and turn it into flour in order to preserve it during the seasons that it does not grow

List ten hypotheses about your project that you need to test during fieldwork.

  1. The street markets are the best place to sell the cakes
  2. The street vendors will want to sell the cakes
  3. The cakes will improve the levels of micronutrients in the children
  4. Children above age 5 will eat the cakes too
  5. The chocolate frosting will intrigue children
  6. Sweet potatoes will be easily accessible
  7. The cakes will increase the street vendor’s profits
  8. The business will eventually be self-sustainable
  9. “Cake” is the best word to call our product
  10. This type of product is culturally appropriate

What do you think you bring to your team? How has your perception of your own strengths and weaknesses changed over the course of the class? Please be specific.

I believe that I bring a sense of reality and organization to the team. We have spent a long time brainstorming different ideas to address malnutrition in children ages 2-5 and have come up with a variety of ideas. There are pros and cons of each idea, but eventually we needed to move past the brainstorming stage and into real development of 2 or 3 key products so that we can make the most effective use of our time in Sierra Leone. I have helped the group narrow down our ideas to the sweet potato cake and the raw sweet potato sticks and now we are able to focus on these products. It was hard to give up ideas that people have worked hard on and that have clear advantages, but it has to be done so we can progress.

With a large range of tasks, I also believe that organization is important. We have to prioritize the things that are due first, and figure out a good order to do things in in order to be the most efficient and effective in developing our products. I believe that I have helped my group to prioritize our tasks to get the most important and urgent things done first.

In the session with Dr. Dzomback, I also learned about some of my weaknesses that I didn’t know I had. She pointed out that anybody can learn anything, and I think this is a really important take away for me. My whole team is bioengineers and I am an economics student. I haven’t taken a science class at Lehigh and don’t know anything about vitamin A degradation or different micronutrients or the chemistry principles behind what we are doing. However, I haven’t taken the time to learn them either. I have just decided that I don’t know these things, but I know other things, so I won’t focus on that part of the project. I now understand that this is the wrong approach and am going to take an active role in trying to familiarize myself with the scientific aspects of the project so I can perform at my full potential.

Blog 6

Ten things I would do for the next presentation

  1. I didn’t present this time but I will present in the next presentation. I will practice my part several times so that I am prepared.
  2. I will make sure that our presentation is cohesive. There was some conflicting information in the presentation because of miscommunication between group members
  3. We will have a little bit more of a business plan for next time
  4. We will develop more FAQs that people could possibly ask
  5. We will include less background information and get right into the venture itself
  6. We will try to pack more data into the presentation instead of just including it in the backup slides
  7. I will try to be more confident when answering the questions
  8. I will try to make better eye contact when speaking
  9. I will try to answer more of the questions
  10. We will try to get everybody to speak

Does your work require IRB approvals? If yes articulate your IRB strategy.

Our work requires IRB approvals. We need IRB approval because our work requires human subjects and research. We have created a sweet potato cake and are now creating other products, and we will want to give them to children to taste test. Also, we will give them to children to decrease the rate of malnutrition. We will be using interventions and interaction with these children. Our project involves minimal risk – the children eating the cakes are not doing anything out of the ordinary that is much different from their daily lives. The only potential harm is consuming too many because then the child would be overdosing on vitamins, and we have been discussing this at length to reduce this risk. Our research group is a vulnerable population because they are minors so we will have to get parental consent because the children ages 2-5 can not provide consent themselves. This is also important to Sierra Leonean culture because of the importance of the mother and her opinion. We will include the fact that we are working with vulnerable populations in our IRB proposal. There is an International Ethics Review Board in Sierra Leone and we will have to get a verbal approval from them in order to do our work. They will not sign a paper but will verbally “okay” it. I believe that our project might be exempt, but if it is not exempt, it will be expedited. There is no reason for a full review by the entire IRB.

Develop a logic model.

Situation: Hidden hunger is killing children in Sierra Leone. The damage that micronutrient deficiencies cause is reversible between ages 2 and 5.

Priorities: We want to provide Sierra Leonean children with a nutritional supplement that will reduce malnutrition rates and improve health.

Inputs: business and engineering knowledge, planning time, money

Outputs:

We will reach bakeries to partner with, nutritionists, food scientists, children, and mothers.

We will develop a nutritional supplement (sweet potato cake) to children ages 2-5 that will include all of their required daily nutrients.

We will educate staff in the facility and women selling the cakes in the market.
We will create a product, a business plan, and a community network.

Impact

We will create knowledge about the importance of micronutrients and skills in baking the muffin.

We will give children access to a food that will improve their nutrition and thus their overall health.

We will reduce the rate of malnutrition and improve child and adult health.

Blog Post 5

  • I have a very Type A personality and I believe that my unique and effective design process would illustrate this. I like to thoroughly plan things before beginning to work on them and thus I would begin the design process by writing all of my steps out and then creating a prototype to fit these steps. If I realized that it was not possible, feasible, or reasonable to follow the process, I would adapt and change the written plan as I progressed through the project. Once I created my prototype to the best of my ability, I would have other people look at it so that there would be multiple sets of eyes focusing on it and looking for the mistakes that I would not notice. Afterwards, I would make adjustments based on other suggestions and finalize my model. I would keep the written process updated the entire time so I could do it over again following the process if need be.
  • I will validate my sweet potato cake (or other nutritional supplement if we decide to proceed with a different option) fully once I am on the ground in Sierra Leone. Our muffin is a prototype until we get to Sierra Leone and have children taste test it and until we experience the street markets in Sierra Leone and truly understand the cultural implications on our product. Once we have gotten critiques and made appropriate adjustments, we can update our product in whatever ways are necessary. For example, if the children have a specific complaint about the taste of the sweet potato cakes, we can try to adjust the recipe to make the product more appealing to them. If we notice that the sweet potato cakes are too expensive, we can try to make adjustments to lower the cost. Once we are on the ground working and have different input for our product, we will know that it is sufficient and fits well into the Sierra Leonean culture and markets. We have to make sure that it is understood and fits well within the context.
  • My philosophy of engagement has its roots in respect and meeting a community on their own level to interact. I believe that knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, and hesitations are important to interacting with any community. It is also important to note and acknowledge similarities and differences between you and the community you want to engage with. Acknowledging differences is a form of respect and will allow for more meaningful engagement. I plan on doing this in Sierra Leone in order to successfully implement our sweet potato cakes and get children interested in them. Meaningful engagement with a community also involves respecting them and not making them feel like victims to a problem going on around them. Engagement is empowering people to be in control of their lives and situations in order to better themselves. This will ne important in Sierra Leone as well. Child malnutrition is a crisis but we do not want the children to feel like helpless victims. We want to help them get the resources they need in order to reverse malnutrition, rather than just handing them a sweet potato cake and telling them that it is a cure all for their problem. It is important to give them the tools to help themselves as a form of respect and real community engagement. Another form of engagement and empowerment is making sure that communities feel like their voices are being heard, listened to, and understood. Ultimately, we are starting initiatives to help others and we want to make sure that they are being helped in the ways that they want to be helped. We do not want to force anything on anybody, as forcing somebody to do something or accept something would be disengagement.