Grassroots Deplomacy


Step 1: Facts

  • 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 babies starting around 2 months to 24 months and accompanies breastfeeding. The gruel isn’t that nutritious despite common opinion among the locals
  • People are skeptical of the pesticides and the adverse health effects these pesticides 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 the women’s group make a nutritious self stable porridge to help children wean 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: Stakeholders 

  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: Motivations

  1. Children at breastfeeding ages
    1. Are not old enough to understand their stake in this situation, thus have no needs other than food
  2. Lactating mothers
    1. Want their babies to grow up healthy
    2. Want to prevent them from getting health complications from HIV, pesticides, malnutrition, etc
  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
  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: Solutions

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

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 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
  • Cons: Is this moral? No

Solution 3: 

  • Potential solution: Create the cooperative. Have a questionnaire about the symptoms of HIV, give the porridge to women who may have HIV and tell them not to keep breastfeeding after 6 months, make all mothers aware of the risk of breastfeeding/HIV and give them the option of porridge or not, but also letting them know about the risk of porridge as well.
  • Ethical Principle or code: duty-based. It’s your duty to use the grant to get the best results and take the safest route.
  • Pros: educating women of their risks and offer them the choice to take the porridge or not.
  • Cons: not time-efficient.

Step 5: Additional Assistance

Was completed.

Step 6: Best Course of Action

I would chose solution 3 because it is the most ethical approach while also being efficient. This solution insures HIV+ women are not continuing to breastfeed their children and also educates the community.

Step 7: Implications

Sending out the questionnaire is not time-efficient, especially if your time is limited and the grant donor wants to see results as soon as possible.


Step 1: Facts

  • 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: Stakeholders

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

Step 3: Motivations

  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 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: Solutions

Solution 1: 

  • Potential Solution: Convince the board to: economically incentives 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: incentives the families to spend money better, gets
    • Cons: more cost to the coop- however this incentive may be as expensive as other solutions
      • 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

Solution 2:

  • 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)
    • 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: the men may want actual money and realize that the Co-op is trying to work around them
  • 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: the cost and logistics of finding goods may prove too expensive

Solution 3:

  • 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. 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: money isn’t being wasted
    • Cons: discrimination.
      • A lot of members would have to leave the coop
  • Implications on relationships
    • Short-term: The men may want to have liquid income from the co-op rather than illiquid
    • Long-term: the income is still theirs, so it will still benefit the family
  • Implications on the venture
    • Short-term: some people may leave the organization in the short term
    • Long-term: over a longer period of time, this system will cost the co-op the least and act immediately

Step 5: Additional assistance

Was completed.

Step 6: Best Course of Action 

Solution 3. This solution will probably result in a loss in the amount of members initially however, the solution will solve the issue of the incoming money going to the wrong expenses. Furthermore, the other two options will be more expensive over time and therefore will make the organization less efficient.

Step 7: Steps

  1. make known that there will be a change in the  way members of the co-op earn income over the next few months
  2. have a co-op wide meeting in order to show full  transparency to the women in the organization about how the payment changes form but will ultimately not affect the women negatively
  3. clearly explain how the women can withdraw funds from the new system and how to most effectively make use of the new system

Case Study 2: Grassroots Diplomacy

The Facts

  1. Jack is American on a social venture
  2. Jack is at a youth center in Kenya
  3. Int. donor Org. sent gifts for the children at the center
  4. Children are younger than 14, 4 of them did not receive gifts ceremoniously
  5. Jack was in charge of handing out gifts
  6. Jack was thanked for the gifts by the children
  7. Children were convinced the gifts were from jack
  8. Jack is going to be there for 5 months (lots of contact w/ the children)
  9. Children that didn’t get gifts blamed jack
  10. Staff did not care about the children not getting gifts
  11. Staff calls Jack a “children’s rights activist” because they were annoyed that Jack brought up the 4 children not receiving gifts and how he felt awkward

Stakeholders and Motivations

Both: Personal and Professional Motivations

  1. Jack
    1. Both: Wants to be liked by the children/wants them to be happy (save face)
    2. Both: Wants the venture to be successful and to be praised for his work, gain (even more) approval from the university/people backing him
    3. Professional: Wants to keep a good relationship with the center staff
    4. Personal: Wants to be approachable and be able to candidly speak/hang out with the children and center staff during his 5 months there 
  2. Children that got gifts
    1. Personal: Like Jack for giving them gifts, that situation gave him a good first impression
    2. Personal: Think the foreigner (Jack) got them the gifts and will get them more (bringer of gifts)  
  3. Children that did not get gifts
    1. Personal: Want to have the same dignity as the children that received the gifts ceremoniously, don’t want to be seen as “ unworthy” of receiving gifts  
    2. Personal: May think that Jack doesn’t care about them 
  4. Youth center staff
    1. Professional: Don’t want their work to be seen as unfair
    2. Professional: Do not care about the issues of the children, they care about the bigger picture and not about one kid, that didn’t get one gift, one time 
    3. Professional: Want Jack to help the youth center (make a difference) and do the work he is there to do, want his work to benefit the center/community as a whole (not just one child) 
    4. Personal: Want to be seen as people who are doing well and care about the children
  5. Int. donor Org. (Gift funders)
    1. Both: Want to look good, need to uphold a reputation that they are doing good, therefore they sent gifts to the children at this center
    2. Professional: Want to successfully present a nice gesture
  6. University (Jack)
    1. Personal: Want this venture to bring good publicity to the school
    2. Professional: Want the social venture to prosper and their funding to go to good use
  7. Parents of the children
    1. Personal: Want to send their children to good youth center that cares about their children
  8. Locals (Will hear about situation from parents of children)
    1. Personal: Could be expecting parents and may not want to send their children to the youth center


Possible Solutions


  • Jack finds/makes/orders gifts to ceremoniously give to the other children in front of the group


      1. Pros: The children who did not originally receive gifts would be happy because they were validated and got their gifts and ceremony. This act would mend Jack’s reputation/relationship with the original children who were originally affected/received a bad impression of Jack from the first ceremony. This will also make him look better in the parents and communities eyes because the event proves he truly cares.    
      2. Cons: This could cause an issue between Jack and the children who originally received a gift because some children have 2 gifts (black hat and gift) and some have 1 (gift). This will cost Jack money and time both of which could have been used for the venture. In order to pull off this ceremony Jack will need help from the center staff; the center staff already thinks Jack has overreacted and will resent him/dislike him/have a worse impression of him for making them do extra work. This event will also emphasize to the staff that Jack is a child rights advocate and could turn them off to working with him which could potentially greatly affect his venture. This event will emphasize to the children and the children’s parents/community members that Jack was originally responsible for not having enough gifts for all the children.


  • Jack wears a black hat every day (frequently) to make the other children feel special


      1. Solution pros: The children that were originally left out from the ceremony may feel more included, respected, or dignified since the foreigner/adult is also wearing their hat. The issue with the staff is mended with time, tensions from the ceremony will eventually fade as long as Jack leads the movement/makes an effort to move past that one moment. This solution allows Jack to save face quietly, and without confrontation, solving the issue with the children/community and the staff, and avoiding conversation that could potentially come across the wrong way, making things worse. By solving everyone’s adverse feelings towards Jack this solution benefits the venture by allowing it to continue without a bad reputation behind it. 
      2. Solution cons: The children that did not receive the original gifts could still be upset because the hat was not given to the ceremoniously. The children that did not receive the hats could feel left out and think that Jack does not like them/think they are cool because they don’t have a hat. Could result in a divide between the children and the community. The center staff could still hold a grudge against Jack which would hinder collaboration and productivity affecting the venture. 


  • Jack approaches the staff to try and save his own face by suggesting they change their perspectives on working with the children


    1. Solution pros: This straightforward solution will allow both Jack and the center staff to be on the same page when it comes to working with the children and would solve the awkwardness/tension formed from the ceremony rapidly. Would hopefully ease the tension from the ceremony and restart Jack and the center staff on the right foot. Could possibly change the centers staffs mentality to help improve Jack’s experience for the rest of the time he will work there. Could lead to increased levels of collaboration and productivity that would otherwise not be achievable. Could result in a better relationship between the children and the staff, bettering the youth center overall. 
    2. Solution cons: This solution only addresses Jacks issue with the center staff not the children. The children who did not receive gifts could possibly spread rumors about Jack and influence the other children not to like him. this would greatly impact his relationships with the children who he is supposed to be working closely with for the next 5 months, ultimately, greatly affecting the venture. Jacks suggestions could come off as inconsiderate because even though he might be right (it is wrong that only some kids get gifts and others don’t) he truly do not know the constraints the staff is working in and that there are probably way bigger issues than a few children not being presented a gift. This situation of Jack confronting the staff forms sort of a power complex; the staff could feel obligated to do what Jack wants them too because he is a foreigner and it could be frowned upon making foreigners upset. This solution could backfire and completely ruin Jacks chance to save face; he could lose dignity in the eyes of the staff and ultimately lose social influence. All in all, this solution will lead to less productivity and collaboration between Jack and the staff and Jack and the community/children.

Additional Assistance 

  1. Kenyan gift culture: Kenyan Gift Culture
    1. Guests invited to someone’s home may bring a small gift of appreciation.
    2. Common gifts to give are flowers and tea leaves.
    3. In rural areas of Kenya, coffee, sugar, flour, and maize are usually given. These gifts are presented in a woven bag (‘kiondo’ in Kikuyu). The host will return the bag at the end of the visit after placing gifts for their visitor inside.
    4. It is impolite to return a kiondo empty.
  2. American Gift Culture:  American Culture
    1. If you are invited to a wedding, baby showers, bar mitzvah, or other celebration, it is expected that you will bring a gift. Unless you know the host very well, the gift should be modest in value, about $20.
    2. For a wedding, the bride will have “registered” at one or two local department stores, indicating the items and styling she prefers. You can buy the couple a gift that isn’t listed, but most people buy something listed on the registry. If you buy an item listed on the registry, be sure to tell the store that you are doing this, so that the couple doesn’t receive duplicate gifts. For a baby shower, bring a gift appropriate for a newborn baby. For a bar mitzvah, bring a gift appropriate for a 13-year-old boy. Bar Mitzvah gifts tend to be more formal in nature. For example, a gold-plated Cross pen is quite common. Personalizing the pen by engraving the recipient’s full name will be appreciated.
    3. If you wish to give a gift when you leave to return to your home country, the best gift is something that is unique to your country. It does not need to be especially valuable or rare, just reminiscent of your home. Possibilities include a book about your country, an inexpensive handicraft or piece of art, or something else that reflects your culture. If the children collect coins and stamps, they would be very pleased with a set of your country’s coins or a selection of mint stamps from your country. Items that are common in your country but difficult to find in the USA are also good.
    4. If you owe a debt of deep gratitude to an American host family, a common way of repaying it is to take the family to a form of entertainment, such as a baseball, basketball, or hockey game, the ballet, or to a good restaurant.
    5. When giving gifts to a business acquaintance, do not give anything of a personal nature, especially to a woman. Do not give cosmetics. A scarf is ok, but other types of clothing are not. Something appropriate for the office is the best. But gift-giving is not as important in America as it is in other countries, so there is nothing wrong with not giving a gift.
    6. If you need help selecting a gift, talk to a salesperson at a department store. Tell them about the person who will be receiving the gift and the reason for the gift, and they will help you find something appropriate and within your budget.

The best course of action

In order to effectively mend Jack’s relationship with the children who did not receive the gifts and the center staff, Jack should wear the black hat that was also given to the children. Even though the children were not given the hats ceremoniously by wearing the hat Jack will hopefully make them feel included and respected. If the children appreciate this gesture this solution will mend his relationship with those specific children but also the other children and the community members who could have been influenced by these children’s adverse feelings toward Jack. The community members, children and staff will also be able to visually (with the hats) see that Jack truly cares about these children and that he wants to make things right. Jack will insure that the situation does not being clique by only wearing the hat every so often in order to insure the other children do not feel left out. 

With this solution, Jack will be able to mend his relationship with the center staff quickly and quietly. He will also be able to avoid confrontation which could possibly backfire creating more of a misunderstanding/divide between himself and the center staff/community. The staff will realize that Jack cares about the children (from his act of wearing the hat) but also that he respects how the staff felt about the whole situation. If Jack had confronted the staff about the issue or had told them that they needed to hold another ceremony, the staff would resent Jack even more and truly believe that he is a child’s rights advocate. The staff’s attitude toward Jack would radiate onto the communities view of Jack which would ultimately greatly hinder the progress for the venture, leaving him unable/challenged to have candid and professional conversations, but also effect Jacks ability to live and enjoy his 5 month stay in this community. 

In conclusion, this solution allows Jack to save face in a way that minimizes the risks of a misunderstanding that could cause even more distrust, aversion toward Jack and the community (children, parents, center staff). This solution will allow everyone to move on from the event (the gift giving ceremony) and come out of it feeling understood. This will allow the venture to move forward without a reputation/stigma behind it, which could negatively impact Jack in the eyes of his funding source (the university), that could have been formed if Jack did not address the gift giving ceremony incident. 

 Implement the solution 

  1. Jack should leave the ceremony behind him and come into work the next day approaching it as a new slate. (should not be holding a grudge against the staff/try to be petty)
  2. Jack should put on the hat in the middle of the day, nonchalantly. Hopefully, the staff have appreciated and followed suit to Jacks new look on a new day and have left the past behind him. 
  3. Jack should candidly get to know the kids and the center while wearing the hat. Hopefully, the kids who did not receive their gift ceremoniously recognize the hat. 
  4. Jack should continue to work on the venture, with the staff and play with the kids as if no feelings were affected at the ceremony. If anyone mentions anything, Jack should apologize if he negatively affected them in any way and move on. 
  5. Jack should wear the hat for his first few days at the youth center and then wear it periodically to insure the other kids do not feel left out. 


Case Study 1: Water Pathogen in Lesotho

The Facts: of the case, provided by the case study

  • There are 11 researchers, including yourself, traveling to Lestho in South Africa for 10 days 
  • Their goal during there time there is to test the water from different locations for disease causing pathogens
    • They will also be learning about how the locals store their water and how they retrieve it 
  • There are no specific benefits to the community within the scope of the research planned by the team of 11
    • We were told this observation was wrong however, if you read the case study carefully it says “the ultimate goal of the project is to understand the lifecycle and characteristics of a specific pathogen” they do not mention any research or plans to find ways to combat this pathogen’s effects on humans 
    • In my opinion it is wrong to say this research will benefit anyone in the community of Lestho, if a pathogen is found to cause disease in humans, this research team has not explicitly stated they are going to do anything about it, other than publishing their findings
  • The community will be aiding the researchers by leading them to the water sources in the area

Stakeholders and Motivations

Stakeholder: Research team (including yourself) 

Motivations: To benefit professionally from the publications coming out of the research, the chance to say you have worked across different cultures and locations to potential employers  

Stakeholder: Community members

Motivations: To help foreigners find what they need because they will be able to help and bring a solution in the future for the contaminated water (possible thoughts of a community member).

Stakeholder: Community members that help you 

Motivations: They could potentially be receiving compensation for their time and work, or even just a tip. Working with the foreigners could give them a positive reputation/sigma and open up better jobs for them. 

Stakeholder: Organization behind the researchers

Motivations: The organization that backs the researchers and gives them credibility will gain even more respect and publicity if the researchers are able to publish meaningful work. The organization has a lot of money at stake however, these publications can lead to grants that will ultimately be awarded to the organization not the researchers. All in all, the organization will gain more respect and publicity from the researchers work they support. 

Stakeholder: Government of Lesotho

Motivations: To help the foreigners achieve what they set out to achieve in order to create a stigma that Lesotho is an easy, helpful place to work in for foreigners; ultimately increasing tourism which will benefit the economy. The communities of Lesotho also have the possibility of gaining clean water which the government can say they played a part in providing to them; gaining political clout. 

Stakeholder: Anyone who reads the report 

Motivations: To use the information published to find a solution to inhibit the pathogens effect on humans and to sell the solution to Lesotho and other places being affected by water pathogens. 

Ethical Questions

Is it ethical to conduct this study from a human standpoint?

Is it ethical to conduct this study at all? 

Should people (people of Lesotho) be compensated for their time and resources?


  1. After their research is concluded, provide conclusions and results to the community members and relevant government departments for free and insure they understand the findings. 
    1. Pros: This solution will ensure that everyone involved/that could be affected by the possible pathogen is aware of its existence, ensures respect of the local stakeholders. With this solutions everyone is getting something out of the conclusions, the researchers are able to publish and the community has their water tested for free. 
    2. Cons: Leaves the country/community with potentially bad news and no way of immediately fixing the problem. People will be left to drink contaminated drinking water and the country does not have the means to find a solution. Could leave a bad impression on the country that foreigners are only there to benefit themselves. Community members/locals could possibly lose faith/trust in the government because they (possibly) can not help solve the problem.  
  2. Only provide conclusions and results from the research to the relevant government departments. 
    1. Pros: With this solution the government and leading bodies are informed and have gained something (knowledge) from the research groups presence. The relationship between the research group and the government could be solidified from sharing this information. By only providing the information to the government you are avoiding the situation were the citizens of Lesotho could possibly lose trust in government if they (the government) are not able to fix the water issue (if there is one). You are also avoiding possible panic from the people if they find out there is harmful bacteria in the water but no way to fix it/get clean water.  
    2. Cons: You are not telling the people who are directly affected by this research. This could be considered an ethical violation because withholding this information from them could possibly result in harm. If the citizens of Lesotho find out about the water situation but are not told by the government this could result in a political uprising. This situation would not be directly your fault, it would be the government’s fault because they withheld information, but this situation still needs to be taken into account. 
  3. To receive approval from the water ministry of Lesotho (or the equivalent) to conduct this test. 
    1. Pros: This solution will ensure that the researchers can get their testing done. If they are stopped or questioned by anyone in the community they can show them that they have approval from the government. Will allow the researchers to form a good relationship with the government. 
    2. Cons: Does not ensure the information is portrayed to the community members, the ones immediately affected by the pathogen. The community members/locals could view this situation as a bunch of foreigners barging into their community and doing whatever they want because the government told them they could. This situation could create a bad stigma for foreigners and potentially cause community member/locals to lose faith/trust in their government. 
  4. Pay the community members that help them achieve their goals (show them to various water sources). 
    1. Pros: Involves the least amount of planning/work before the trip. Can potentially save a lot of money on government approval submissions. Provides a few community members with a consistent, fair pay for a few days that will help them support their families. 
    2. Cons: Can not guarantee people will be willing to help them, especially if they have not received government approval. Once you pay someone for a job you can never take that back (decided to not pay them/someone). The other community members/rest of the people in the community do not benefit in any way from the foreigners research. It is possible that with this solution that Lesotho will never learn about the researchers findings and how it affects the country, even though the research will be publicly published. Poses the ethical question: is it okay to conduct an experiment and not explicitly state the results to everyone possibly affected by the results? 
  5. Do not pay the community members that show them to various water sources for testing. 
    1. Pros: If the community members are willing to help the researchers out without being paid that is one more expense that is eliminated (doing research overseas is very costly). Eliminates the situation where if you pay someone once for a task they never do anything for free again. Instead of having to walk to the water source that day the community members are being driven which saves them a bunch of time and is a form of payment that is not money.
    2. Cons: The community members could possibly think they are being compensated in a different way other than money (food, supplies). This miscommunication could cause tension and make it hard to work with the community members again. Another situation that could arise from not paying the community members is that the venture/researchers could be called out for taking advantage of the community members. This is a generalization: many citizens in developing countries go out of their way to help foreigners because it is believed the foreigners have a lot of money and they are there to help The researchers could be accused of taking advantage of this situation instead of paying the community members what is fair (especially since the researchers would most likely have to pay the community members back in their home country to help them do this same job). 

Previous cases and personal experience 

From what I know about clinical trials and the clinical trials they are running in Sierra Leone on sickle cell anemia. Researchers/doctors running clinical trials are not obligated to provide treatment or any follow up care after the trial is run. They must provide the patient with the outcome but they do not have to educate them on what the outcome means or the next steps they should be taking (unless they ask obviously). This can be applied to this case study. The researchers have no obligation to explain or provide any follow up assistance if the water is found to have a disease causing pathogen in it. The researcher do have to provide their finds, how they provide these findings is a slippery slope. Is publishing online publicly enough? Or should they have to provide the paper directly to the government? Should they have to provide the paper directly to the people? Should they send someone back to Lesotho to explain in person exactly what they found to ensure understanding? All these questions will be answered in my  best course of action plan. 

Best Course of Action 

The researchers best course of action would be to first receive permission from the government to conduct this research on their water. As for the community members, permission should be sought from the community leader and then volunteers from the community should be paid a fair wage for their time and knowledge (the people who will be taking them to the water sources). The community members must be paid for their time, there are too many cons that would greatly affect the relationship between the community members and the researchers and the researchers themselves (presented above) associated with not paying them. Once the research has concluded the researchers need to send a written concise/easy to understand letter of their findings on the water and possible pathogens to the government and local community leaders. These entities are then responsible for passing the message along to the rest of community or doing what they think is best with that information. This solution ensures that everyone involved has the opportunity to benefit from the researchers findings. By receiving permission and providing their findings to the government and local community leaders the foreigners are forming good relationships with every entity. If the research was only shared with the government trust could be lost between many relationships; between the people and the researchers/foreigners, between the government and their people. As for the local people themselves, the researchers have no way of ensuring they are conveyed the findings of the study, however, the people trust their local leaders and government and the researchers trust the community heads will provide information they deem as necessary to their people. By conducting their research in this manor all stakeholders are happy, the research is conducted (researchers, organization), a paper will be published (researchers, organizations), and what is learned is shared (researchers, organization, government, community members helping/not helping, people who read the paper). 


Implications of the best course of action 

A possible implication is that if the government and community members do not convey the findings to the people they will continue to get sick (possibly) and have the possibility of finding out the water is contaminated from someone else. If this happens they will lose trust in their leaders and foreigners which can cause major political unrest and make the country a hard place to work and visit, ultimately affecting the economy, for foreigners. 

Also if it is not explicitly stated/understood, the government/community may believe that the foreigners are going to find a solution to the water pathogen. The researchers do not have a plan to solve the pathogen contamination issue (per my interpretation of the case) therefore this could cause tension between the foreigner and local government relationship. This issue also has the potential to make the organization backing these researchers look bad and give them a back reputation. This miscommunication will not only have an impact on this venture but any other venture that tries to do work in Lesotho, all trust in foreigners could be lost. The interrelationship between the citizens, government and foreigners would crumble. All trust would be lost and the path to solving this miscommunication (not making it clear that the water situation would be solved) would be a he said she said situation. The citizens would be in the middle and have the most to lose; not only were they betrayed (possibly what they could be feeling from the situation) by the foreigners but they would be destroyed by their own government.