Blog Post: Week 10

This past week in class, we developed a conceptual framework for the GSIF program at Lehigh.

Ultimately, we felt that the GSIF program has different values depending on the perspective you look at it from. First, the fellowship can be viewed from the perspective of the venture. The goals of the ventures are to use creative solutions to make a sustainable impact on the world around us. Additionally, the ventures hope to develop in-country partners to build lasting relationships that will be beneficial in the future. Within the GSIF program, the actions that we take within our ventures help us to achieve these goals. These actions consist of workshops, fieldwork, publications, etc. It is the hope of the program that these actions then produce tangible results.

Personally, as students we also hope to become distinguishable, conduct research, and learn. To accomplish these goals we act by collaborating with people from all over the world, and engaging in research at Lehigh and in-country. These actions help us to become better students and add to our portfolio.

The Global Social Impact Fellowship is an incredible program that helps students to make impactful change in the world through collaboration and hard work. The conceptual framework that we have developed is attempting to encapsulate everything this program has to offer in a visual map.

Blog Post Week 9

This past week our team worked together to create a conceptual framework to achieve our overarching goal of reducing childhood malnutrition.

The chart flows from the bottom. Child stunting can be caused by a multitude of different reasons, but we tried our best to narrow it down. Ultimately we believed that lack of education, cultural norms, and poor infrastructure lead to shortcomings in the 3 A’s: availability, accessibility, and affordability. These 3 As lead to food insecurity and disease. Because of lack of proper healthcare these cause a deficiency in important nutrients and thus child stunting.

The solution to this issue begins with us (NewTrition)! We are hoping to utilize our products made from local ingredients taken from local farmers. We are hoping to make these products available and inexpensive. This will provide children with access to the micronutrients and hopefully reduce the rates of childhood stunting.

Blog Post Week 8

  1. Interdependence →  how factors(ideas, goals, people, projects) in a relating system all impact each other; pyramid from the bottom up
    1. Ex. 1: a lot of the projects take advantage of the interdependence between people and the “hierarchy” that exists between people
      1. Malnutrition tried to partner with community leaders such as the reverend david because of many people’s interdependence on him and the church
  2. Holism → a system that is viewed as it own entity; as a sum of its parts; looking at the pyramid from the top down/seeing the big picture 
    1. Ex. 1: Recycling facility — the public would just see it as something that takes in waste and produces product, forgets that the facility has many parts (machines, workers, managers, etc)
  3. Multifinality → Multiple unique outcomes resulting from a single initial product/system (win-win situation for all)
    1. Ex. 1: all teams: fieldwork
  4. Equifinality → understanding that a goal can be achieved in a variety of ways/ paths
    1. Ex. 1:  PlasTech Ventures and Cloop used to be part of the same team with the same goals, now they are both trying to reach the same goal but through different approaches.
    2. Safemotherhod and Ukweli — both want to end maternal mortality
  5. Differentiation → each part of a system has its own specific function
    1. Ex. 1: Malnutrition team breaking up and assigning roles after week 1 in SL 
      1. Working on specific parts like Manufacturing, Research, Supply Chain, etc. that interact to run the larger system
  6. Regulation → assessing the system to make sure that it is achieving goals to take corrective action and hold everyone accountable
    1. Ex. 1:  NewTrition checking in with Translators to make sure our interviewing questions are being conveyed and received correctly.
    2. Weekly team meetings — keep us all on track
  7. Abstraction → looking at broad ideas instead of focusing on specific details (zooming out or zooming in)
    1. Ex. 1: Safe Motherhood: trying to inspire grassroot action to work to raise awareness for broader issues through specific mini-stories
  8. Leverage Points → understanding that there are small things that can be done to create a large effect; places in a complex system where a small shift can create big changes 
    1. Ex. 1: Recycling Facilities: Gaining a relationship with Vincente Co to open up our network and knowledge
    2. KJ was the leverage point for the malnutrition team to be able to use the bakery
    3. Implementing a fine to give birth at home to encourage people to go to the clinic which saves a lot of people’s lives

Emergence is the process of an idea or concept coming into fruition. An example of an emergent system that has created sustainable and scalable social value is Cantaro Azul, which is a social venture based in Mexico that works to provide clean drinking water to more people. The venture utilizes small water cleaning facilities scattered throughout the country to distribute the drinking water. The venture employs solely women. By cutting costs and helping women earn a living, this social venture has made a sustainable impact in Mexico.

Hyacinth Removal:

  • Follow oil fracking ideas → pay local, waterside people of the community a small stipend for access to their areas
  • Other community members can be hired to collect and process the hyacinth, income generating solution for the community
  • Previous workers of hers now in charge of transportation/distribution for her.

Some Applicable Emergent parts:

  1. Interdependence/Holism/Differentiation:  Each process now depends on the process before it, and the more successful each step is the more the greater system thrives
  2. Regulation:  Paid on commission, so how much hyacinth they bring in instead of a salary day to day, forming accountability
  3. Leverage Points:  Advertise how workers are helping community and fishermen to create more sales
  4. Accountability: not paying everyone because that would be impossible
  5. Multifinality:  Community is reaching its goals and so is the entrepreneur

Blog Post Week 7

Partners in our Venture:

  1. World Hope
    1. We worked at World Hope and with their staff.
    2. They helped us because they provided us with workspace and connections in Sierra Leone. We helped them too because we expanded their reputation by involving them and tying them to our research.
    3. We should continue to participate in important projects so that we can continue our relationship with them.
  2. Betteh Bakery
    1. They allowed us to use their spaces for baking the muffins and roasting the sweet potatoes
    2. We helped them develop their business model and they gave us access to resources we needed. We attempted to make it an equal relationship but there were some kinks that we needed to work out.
    3. It would have been a stronger relationship if they were further along in their business and we were able to fully rely on them for the things that they said we could rely on them for. 
  3. Wesleyan Church
    1. We were able to establish this partnership through our relationship with the Betteh Bakery. Betteh Bakery is owned by the Wesleyan Church.
    2. They allowed us to use their church as a platform to administer our questionnaires. They provided us with tables, chairs, and volunteers who helped us effectively gather data. We helped the church by helping them with their core goal: helping the people of Sierra Leone.
    3. To strengthen this relationship, we should be sure to keep communications strong even when we are not in Sierra Leone.
  4. Allieu Bangura, Director of Nutrition at World Hope International
    1. Partnered to help us drive our project ideas, connect us with Director of Food & Nutrition, and to give us general guidance in the first stages of our project
    2. ^ Introducing nutritious product for them
    3. More communication
  5. Clinics/CHOs
    1. Our partnership with clinics and CHOs allowed us to gather data from mothers and children.
    2. The clinics allowed us to come and receive data from mothers and children. The mothers and children got to taste our food.
    3. This relationship was very beneficial. In order to make it more equitable and stronger we would need to bring enough food for everyone.
  6. University of Freetown
    1. Students from the university who interned at World Hope were able to help us with whatever we needed for our project.
    2. We gave their students real life experience in their fields that they were interested in and they helped us further our project. We worked together nicely but it was not necessarily equitable; we are students in charge of other students. 
    3. This partnership would have been strengthened if we were positioned closer locationally 
  7. College of Engineering (funding partner)
    1. The college of engineering gave us funding to conduct our research in SL this summer.
    2. To strengthen this relationship we can write a publication to bring publicity to the university and the college.
  8. GELH (funding partner)
    1. GELH funded $1000 for each of us to travel to Sierra Leone.
    2. GELH helped us by making it financially feasible for us to go. We help them because we are giving them a good reputation and helping them contribute.
    3. It will be a stronger relationship after we do the GELH presentation at the end of October; they will know exactly what we did and how they helped us.
  9. Creative Inquiry Dept
    1. The Creative Inquiry Department gave us funding for in country expenses 
    2. We gave them publicity for the project by coming back and producing projects
    3. We can make the relationship better by continuing to advocate and recruit new GSIF members 
  10. Health Ministry of Sierra Leone
    1. Aminata Shamit Koroma- the Director of Food and Nutrition at the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone is the originator of the project
    2. We would like general/official approval of our products from the Ministry of Health. If we hope to distribute our product in hospitals in the future, we will need a strong relationship with the Ministry of Health in order to gain necessary approvals as well. 
    3. This partnership still needs to be established in order to see how each of us can benefit one another, but we could help the Ministry of Health by expanding the number of affordable foods that can be used to fight malnutrition and stunting. 
  11. Translators
    1. World Hope employee (Jawara) helped us connect with them and establish a partnership
    2. They helped us to effectively communicate and administer our questionnaires to the Sierra Leonean people. We compensated them for their work and time.
    3. To strengthen this relationship, we must keep in touch with the translators so that we can use them in upcoming years.



Ultimate Outcome that we want to see:

  • Elimination or minimization of micronutrient deficiencies/malnutrition in children in Sierra Leone.   


How to build a larger movement to get to this cause?

  • Build a coalition 
    • Diverse group of individuals and organizations who work together to reach a common goal



Ultimate Goal: Elimination or minimization of micronutrient deficiencies/malnutrition in children in Sierra Leone.  

Name: NewTrition Coalition 


  • Sierra Leone President
    • Why the relationship is critical: approval of the products and support for marketing and distribution purpose
  • Sierra Leone Honorables
    • Why the relationship is critical: support for marketing and distribution purpose
  • Director of Food & Nutrition, Aminata Shamit Koroma
    • Why the relationship is critical: brains behind the project, so we would like her approval of the products we create
  • Ministry of Health and Sanitation
    • Why the relationship is critical: potentially need to approve the products we create in the future
  • WHI
    • Why the relationship is critical: help us build relationships with officials, companies, and mothers in Sierra Leone and give us credibility; can help us secure funding and approvals 
  • Mother Support Groups
    • In country
    • UNICEF
  • Soccer Player
  • Sierra Leone Standards Bureau

Blog Post Week 6


Team Name: _Malnutrition_(NEWtrition)   Date: _10/2/19__
Goals Personal Goals (small g)

  1. Neena – To contribute in any and every way possible so that we are able to advance our project forward to achieve the goal i have always had coming into this project: to help children become healthier. Personally, I hope to become a better teammate and learn better communication and leadership skills that can help me attain this goal.
  2. Kayla – I want to help with the project to see it pick off the ground. My goal is to find ways to preserve the muffins so that our shelflife can be extended and I want to set up the process in laying the ground work for clinical trials. It is important to me that I also have the ability to grow in my role in this project as we are losing some team members and I want to learn from them as well. It’s important to me that we remain one team and connected like we were in Sierra Leone.
  3. Karli – I hope to bring my unique background as an Economics major to our team to ensure that the business side is realistic. I have gained a lot of passion for this project, especially after seeing the impact that it will have on families in Sierra Leone. For this reason, I want to make sure that we will be able to execute our project in a cost effective, and smart way.
  4. Chris – My goals align with the development of the project’s products. I plan to continue the development of our recipes and the supply chain management to match it. I will also be focused on gathering grant funding for the project to do nutrition research and fund my trip there next year. 
  5. Seanna – My goals for this semester are to have a successful GHTC conference and for us to draft papers that explain our fieldwork experience. I also hope that we are able to define both recipes and develop successful business and marketing plans in order to take the next steps for our products.
  6. Rachel – Moving into this semester, my main goal in the beginning will be to research how we can preserve our pudding recipe through possible use of antioxidants/preservatives or through packing mechanisms, this way the product is more accessible for families.  After that I am hoping to help collaborate with the rest of my team to make a publishable paper of sorts on our research for a journal potentially. In general, I am want to keep our team close knit working as one entity and start ‘passing the baton’ to new members to forward the project.
  7. Matt – Over the next few weeks, I am hoping to analyze our research and use the data we gathered this summer to move forward. I would really like to publish a paper and apply for any grants that are available. Technically, I would like to determine the appropriate packaging to prevent the pudding from spoiling.

Project GOAL (big G) – Create sustainable and effective change for the children of Sierra Leone through providing them with a healthy, nutrient-dense, easily accessible, and cost affordable muffin and pudding.

  • Scaling to resources 
    • We got a much better sense of what resources would be available to us in Sierra Leone and what a realistic cost for those products would be. These are things that we will implement in our product going forward this semester
    • In Sierra Leone, we also learned to optimize how we use our biggest resources: our team members. We learned that by divvying up roles and responsibilities we work together better and get more done.
    • Once we know what our budget will be, and understand what grants will help fund us, we will know how to make sure we optimize these resources
  • Scaling to constraints
    • We do have limited time especially because there are deadlines for submitting papers to be published
    • Switch over of team members
  • Our metrics for success
    • Business success
      • How many people are producing / selling our product?
      • Are people making more money?
      • How many children are our products actually reaching?
      • Is NEWtrition sustainable (eventually)?
    • Improving health: Our hope is that the malnutrition rate among children in Sierra Leone will eventually decrease in response to our product
      • What is the malnutrition rate for children in Sierra Leone?
Roles Deliverables Responsibilities
Every team member was assigned to focus on one part of the data, and we will use each of our findings to write a paper and really understand our product and its capabilities in Sierra Leone.

  • Neena – microbial testing in muffin, nutrient testing in muffin, shelf life testing in muffin
  • Kayla – preservative use in muffin, clinical studies for both products, liaison to WHI and other SL organizations for mufin
  • Karli – supply chain and marketing plan for both products, 
  • Chris – muffin recipe improvement, grants for both products
  • Seanna – pudding recipe improvement, nutrient testing in pudding, liaison to WHI and other SL organizations for pudding
  • Rachel – antioxidant use in the pudding, preservative use in pudding
  • Matt – shelf life testing in pudding, packaging for pudding

Project Manager – At this point in the project, we have not decided on a project manager. At the end of this semester, we will need to decide on new project leaders because Chris and Seanna will be graduating.

Procedures Decision Making Procedure – We will communicate and voice opinions and ideas about a certain decision all together. We will try to work towards a consensus at first. If there is a large divide and a consensus does not seem possible, we will make a majority rules type of decision.

How we will have effective meetings – We will come into meetings with a clear sense of what we want to accomplish in that time. Decisions are best made in person when we are all together so we must make use of our time together to talk about bigger decisions and next steps. We will follow up on shared documents online and keep records of all discussions in meetings so that everyone has access to all the information. Kayla is officially our meeting scribe. Neena will be the facilitator and the time keeper.


  • We have a shared google drive in which we all have access to documents from each meeting, resources from SL, and all of our data
  • We know that from week to week, each member’s schedule varies greatly and therefore we have found out that coordinating a meeting time in the beginning of each week for that specific week is the best way for us to all meet up.
Relationships Although we do not have much diversity in majors within our group (6/7 of us are bioengineers), we do have Karli who will be very helpful with the more business-oriented aspects of the products. However, we are diverse in ages. We range from sophomores to seniors and have different perspectives because of it.

Our team name is NEWtrition. We want to create a new type of nutrition in Sierra Leone. We are creative and want to use our skills to make children healthier through our social venture. 


Blog Post Week 5


  1. Neem, indigenous tree in idea, is sacred
  2. Neem has been used for medicinal purposes, food production, toiletries, fuel, and pesticides 
  3. Chetan operates a business of neem products and employs 60 people
  4. Indigenous to india
  5. Tom Johnson is the Director of Oregon Organic Pesticide Services (OOPS) 
  6. Tom travelled to India on vacation and discovered the neem seeds’ use as a potent pesticide
  7. Tom imported neem seeds to his factory in the USA and experimentation and developed a formula for an organic pesticide based on the seeds
  8. Tom’s company invested $5 million to conduct extensive safety and performance tests over the next decade
  9. Tom’s company got security clearances from the EPA
  10. OOPS wants to set up a subsidiary business in the rapidly emerging market of India
  11. He got a patent for the pesticide and made a profit of $12.5 million in a year
  12. He can sell the product at a lower price than Chetan and reduce his business
  13. Tom demands a royalty from Chetan


Ethical Issue: Is it ethical for Tom to put Chetan out of business, and charge him a royalty for using neem products?

Stakeholders and Motivations

  1. Chetan
    1. Successful business of neem tree products that produces pesticides, skin creams, contraceptives, lamp oil, and more
  2. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA)
    1. Wants to ensure public health, safety and wellbeing
    2. Wants to ensure the environment is not at risk of destruction 
    3. No negative environmental consequences occur when pesticides are used
  3. Oregon Organic Pesticide Services (OOPS)
    1. Wants people to buy the pesticide from him/make a profit
    2. Put a patent on the pesticide and wants it to be followed
    3. Want healthy, organic patents 
  4. Tom
    1. Social impact
    2. Make money
    3. Tap into indian market
  5. Indian cottage industries
    1. Want social mobility 
    2. Want their communities to be profitable/ have good business
  6. Farmers 
    1. Want crops that are consistently producing good yields
  7. Consumers
    1. Want a price that is lower cost or the same cost as before
    2. Want to support their friends/family in India who are making money through Chetan
  8. Indian and US government 
    1. Want to improve local economy
    2. Responsibility to protect Indian business owners
    3. Secondary stakeholder


What rights does Chetan have? 

Chetan does not have any legal rights to the neem pesticide products. Once there is a patent on it, he is not legally allowed to sell these products. However, they do have rights to their other products such as skin creams, contraceptives, lamp oil and many other products because these have not been protected by any patents thus far. 

Is it ethical for the US company to uphold their patent rights?

Our team believes that it is ethical for OOPS to uphold their patent rights, but it is not moral. They are only taking legal actions, but taking business away from Chetan and on top of that, charging a royalty. 

Possible solutions

  1. Start pushing the other products they manufacturer such as skin creams, contraceptives and lamp oil. 
    1. Ethical or principle code: virtue based thinking
    2. Pros
      1. won’t have to fire employees
      2. they will still have an income
      3. continue to produce profitable neem products
    3. Cons: 
      1. Still will lose market share because they are losing the pesticide
  2. Chetan can suggest a merge with OOPS
    1. Ethical or principle code: consequence based thinking
    2. Pros: 
      1. Can still maintain Indian connection
      2. Can still make an income
      3. Can be considered CSR for OOPS
    3. Cons: 
      1. Chetan will not be able to function independently
      2. have to rely on OOPS for decision making 
      3. May have to lay off some employees
  3. Find loopholes in the patent- alter formula to make it different from what is patented
    1. Ethical or principle code: consequence based thinking
    2. Pros: 
      1. Produce an environmentally friendly product that is similar to OOPS
      2. Will be able to still produce pesticides
      3. Won’t have to fire employees
      4. Will still have an income
    3. Cons: 
      1. Still cannot produce it as cheaply as OOPS
      2. Probably will still lose profit

Seek Additional Assistance

This link has an article which talks about core values and the three guiding principles.

This link provides in depth information about intellectual property and copyright ethics.


Best Plan of Action
Solution 2: Suggest a merge with OOPS
It is in Chetan’s best interest to merge with OOPS in order to be successful. OOPS is able to produce products at a lower cost than Chetan due to economies of scale. This will maximize benefits fort those involved and minimize risk. Although Chetan technically has rights to products other than pesticides, OOPS could easily get these products patented, and Chetan cannot due to lack of resources. Therefore Chetan should not rely on other products, as there is a large risk. Additionally, even if Chetan finds a loophole in the patent and creates a new formula for pesticides, OOPS will still be able to produce it at a lower cost and Chetan will still lose business. Therefore, it is in Chetan’s best interest to merge with OOPS. This way, Chetan’s employees will still have a job. Chetan and OOPS are not fair competition, and it is not worth it for Chetan to try to compete. Although they won’t be able to function independently, they will be able to still benefit from the venture. 


Implications on the venture

  • The environment and people’s health will likely improve because an organic pesticide will be used
  • OOPS is well respected because they chose to partner with another company that improves the livelihood of workers in the Indian cottage industries. 
  • Chetan is able to have a sustainable business that people look up to/trust because they partner with a US company
  • People in the cottage industry have jobs, causing the local economy to improve 
  • People will have a greater awareness of “organic” pesticides in India

Part 2: Grassroots diplomacy


  • 6 months later, OOPS has 20 different neem-based products being sold in India
  • Most successful product is neem-based soap
  • Soap wrapper features photo of Tom Johnson
  • Chetan’s wrapper features a photo of his great grandfather (local legend)
  • Chetan met with Tom Johnson several times and Tom is open to a collaboration 
  • Chetan’s business is suffering and he’ll have to lay off half his staff
  • Half his staff feels cheated by Chetan, and the other half is confident that Chetan will find his way out

The problem: Chetan’s business is struggling with the existence of Tom Johnson’s business and he is forced to make decisions that may upset his coworkers.

Stakeholders and their motivations:

  1. Chetan
    1. Personal: 
      1. protect his employees
      2. maintaining his 7 generation family business
      3. Stay safe
    2. Professional: 
      1. successful business
      2. make money
  2. Tom/OOPS
    1. Personal and Professional
      1. expand OOPS
      2. stay on top of the Indian market
      3. make money
  3. Chetan’s employees
    1. Personal: 
      1. Protect their families’ hard work
      2. Keep the reputation of the business
    2. Professional
      1. Want to make money

3 Alternative Solutions

  1. Merge with OOPS and hire some of his local employees
    1. Pros: 
      1. Keeps some of his people employed
      2. OOPS will get Chetan’s loyal customers and make more money
      3. OOPS has a good reputation because it is an American business with personal ties in India
      4. Forces out some competition
    2. Cons
      1. Chetan will lose some of the history of his company
      2. Probably cannot hire all of Chetan’s employees
    3. Saving face: Chetan saves face with the employees that he saves jobs for
    4. Implications of relationships:
      1. Short term: Chetan’s employees may feel like they are being betrayed by chetan working with an American company, some people who are laid off will be angry
      2. Long term: eventually the employees who he keeps will get over there resentments because they are still making money
    5. Implications on venture:
      1. Short term: Chetan will be absorbed by OOPS
      2. Long term: The collaboration will have a larger market share, Chetan and local people will still be working for the company

  2. Dissolve the business and retire
    1. Pros:
      1. Doesn’t have to compete with OOPS
      2. Chetan still has money 
    2. Cons:
      1. Chetan’s employees will lose their jobs
        1. Lose their income
        2. Be angry
      2. Community will dislike Chetan
      3. The community will lose a long-standing business that is sacred to India
    3. Saving face: Chetan saves face with OOPS because he isn’t competing with him anymore
    4. Implications on relationships
      1. Short term: employees will dislike Chetan
      2. Long term: employees will still dislike Chetan, and the whole community maybe against him
    5. Implications on venture:
      1. Short term: OOPS does not have any competition
      2. Long term: OOPS may struggle because the whole community will be against them / not like them for the situation with Chetan

  3. Form a collaboration where OOPS produces and Chetan supplies
    1. Pros
      1. Take advantage of OOPS’ economies of scale
      2. Take advantage of Chetan’s local connection
      3. Employees can keep jobs
        1. Will be happy
      4. Chetan is not giving up all of his power
    2. Cons
      1. Due to the patent, OOPS has the power right now and will not do anything that will force them to give up some money
      2. Hard to prove that this will work
      3. People still may not like the connection to an American company
      4. The product may lose some of its local vibe / originality because OOPS is in charge of production
    3. Saving face: Chetan saves face with employees because they’ll keep their jobs, and saves face with OOPS because he will not be competing with them
    4. Implications on relationships
      1. Short term: good relationship with OOPS, employees might be unhappy that Chetan is partnering with an American company
      2. Long term: eventually employees will be glad that they still have jobs and that there was a solution
    5. Implications on venture:
      1. Short term: might be a little bit complicated
      2. Long term: will have economies of scale and close Indian connection with a lot of support

Additional Assistance

Indians might be upset with a foreign entity coming in and taking over, but if they are supported by locals, it might be easier for them to tolerate. We saw this in Sierra Leone when we used translators and World Hope International staff to put the community at ease. 

Best Solution
Solution 3: form a collaboration where OOPS produces and Chetan supplies

This is the best solution because OOPS will be able to use its American resources and have economies of scale. At the same time, Chetan will have the connections with the local Indians when supplying the neem products because he is Indian and has local employees. Everybody will be able to keep their jobs and Chetan will be saving face with all of his employees. He will also save face with OOPS because they are collaborating and OOPS is okay with this. This is better than solution 1, where they would merge, and Chetan would really be giving up his power. In this situation, he is still in charge of distribution, but unfortunately not production, so the product may lose some of what made it so special, like his grandfather’s face. Although people maybe unhappy with Chetan for collaborating with an American company, it is still better than solution 2 where nobody would have a job when he dissolved the company. Chetan should also consider speaking to Tom Johnson about incorporating some of Chetan’s traditions into the company to satisfy the workers. 

Solution Implementation

  1. Create a deal with Tom from OOPS about production and distribution
    1. Figure out profit split
  2. Explain to employees any changes in their roles
  3. OOPS uses their resources and economies of scale to produce at the lowest cost
  4. Chetan and employees distribute through local connections

Blog Post Week 4

This week in class we analyzed two different case studies one focusing on ethical decision making and the other on grassroots diplomacy. The first case discusses the issues of creating a cooperative in East Africa that addresses childhood malnutrition and HIV. The second case discusses issues the cooperative faced a few months after its creation.

Part I:




    1. Gruel (maize & banana) does not provide key nutrients
    2. Mothers like them gruel
    3. There are pesticides used on the crops
    4. ~35% of children are nutritionally stunted
    5. Want to transition from breastfeeding at about 24 months
    6.  HIV/AIDS is very prevalent in this region. 
    7. The gruel is integrated into a child’s diet to complement breastfeeding until they are ~24 months of age
    8. The WHO wants women to stop breastfeeding at 6 months
    9.  Mothers in the area firmly believe that the gruel is highly beneficial for their children, but scientific research has shown that it does not provide some key nutrients
    10. The longer a child nurses when the mother is HIV+, the greater the chance that the virus will be transmitted to the child
    11. Mother to Child Transmission of HIV is common
    12. Women’s cooperative grant
    13. Women are skeptical of the porridge
    14. Pesticides used can cause adverse health defects in children
  1. The cooperative is being created to address malnutrition among young children. However, the ethical question in discussion is:Is it ok to lower the risk of HIV/AIDS, at the risk of adding sickness to children from pesticides?
  2. Stakeholders and Motivations
    • Mothers
      • Personal: better health for their children, prevent spread of HIV, prevent ingestion of pesticides
      • Professional: want to earn money for family
    • Children
      • Face the direct consequences of pesticides and spread of HIV
    • Women’s Cooperative
      • want to wean children off breast milk through the use of their porridge
      • make money
      • skeptical of pesticides and HIV
    • Local Cash Crop Farmers
      • sell their crops to be made into the porridge
    • Researchers and Board member
      • Personal: provide a healthy alternative to help wean children off breast milk, avoid pesticides, avoid HIV infection
      • Professional: Sustainable cooperative, healthy children, see an impact through the creation of the cooperative
  3. Potential Solutions
    • Create a triage system to diagnose mothers with HIV before birth
      • Ethical Principle/code: Utilitarian
        • Useless to prevent against HIV if the baby gets it during the birth process
        • Pros: HIV can be better monitored for women, helps to ensure that the baby does not get HIV, women who test positive can seek treatment and help stop transmission
        • Cons: added task to medical staff
    • Eliminate crops in the porridge that have a higher risk of pesticide harm i.e. utilized covered crops like pumpkins, bananas for making gruel
      • Ethical Principle/code: Utilitarian – the greatest good for the greatest number
      • Pros:  Simple, no added cost or big change of process
      • Cons: Fewer nutrients from losing various other foods
    • Create a protocol that people can follow to properly wash crops. Also, recruit specific farmers that practice safer growing without pesticides.
      • Ethical principle/code: Duty and Virtue
      • Pros: Helps reduce amounts of pesticides left on crops, creates healthy habits, could prevent ingestion of harmful bacteria left on crops,  it could support local business and keep the economy strong in the community, it would eliminate the stigma around having food made with produce grown with pesticides. We could get a deal with a farmer for cheaper prices
      • cons: these farmers might not be able to handle the amount of produce required, the wash method may not completely get rid of all the pesticides.
    • Proposed solution: I believe that the last solution is the best course of action. By creating a protocol for how to wash crops and also recruiting farmers who use less pesticides this reduces the risk of making the kids sick. This will give the children the proper nutrients that they need. While there is risk that the kids could still get sick from the pesticides I think keeping children from breastfeeding and possibly exposing them to HIV infection is a much higher risk. While in Sierra Leone I noticed how much families cared for their children. They would do anything they could to make them healthy. For example, I noticed several protocols around villages for Ebola awareness. So, I think a protocol would easily be accepted. If a wash protocol was developed I think many farmers would change their practice to make it healthier. Solution 2 does not decrease the risk of pesticides and may end up making the product too expensive. Solution 1 is a huge invasion of privacy and may not appeal to women. In my opinion, the ethics that arise with solution 1 cause more issues rather than reducing them.
    • Implications:
      • Technologically: The technology in this solution is our porridge product that will be distributed by the women’s cooperation. This recipe will be strategically created to address areas of malnourishment in children. This would make children healthier.
      • Socially: Socially, women would be able to make money for their family, farmers would be able to practice safer farming methods, children can participate in more activities because they are healthy.
      • Economically: Women working for the cooperation will make money, the cash crop farmers practicing clean farming methods would make money


Part II (6 months later):

  • Facts:
    • business is thriving
    • Women work for nine hours a day and make about $3
    • Women save time traveling to market (and $)
    • Happy with the coop and the sense of identity
    • Women turn over their money to men in the family
    • Men waste the money
    • One of seven members of the leadership council
    • Have six months left on the committee
    • Committee wants things to change
    • A patriarchal society where men have say on money
    • Though the cooperative is thriving, it is not achieving the twin social outcomes of improving the nutritional status of children and the livelihoods of rural households.
  • Principle: How can the cooperative achieve the twin social outcomes of improving the nutritional status of children and the livelihoods of rural households
  • Stakeholders and motivations:
    • Mothers
      • Personal: Want the money to feed their kids
      • Professional: continue to support the venture
    • Children
      • Personal: want to be fed and healthy
      • no professional motivations
    • Women’s cooperative
      • Personal: Want to feel involved in the community
      • Professional: Want to improve the nutritional status of children
    • Local cash crop farmers
      • Personal: Want to prevent stunted growth in children
      • Professional: want to make money selling their crops to the cooperative
    • Husbands
      • Personal: Want the money the women make for their own benefit
      • No professional motivations
  • Potential Solutions:
    • The women will have a choice receive a certain amount of gruel each day as payment for their work instead of receiving money or they can continue to receive their payment in the form of money.
      • How does it solve the problem? 
        1. Pros: controls money flow going home, gives women choice to just take food for kids if that’s what they want and is needed
        2. Cons: the husband might be angry that not as much money is coming home and may influence the women’s decisions.
      • How does it save face of those involved? 
        1. Gives mothers the option to what they want without confrontation with husbands
      • Implications on relationships 
        1. Short-term: confused husbands, might be frustrated
        2. Long-term: adjusted, even distribution of food for kids and money for family when needed or want it
        3. Short-term:  supports women and their choices as to how to spend the money they earnedImplications on the venture
        4. Long-term:  Very empowering for women and could be good publicity for the venture
    • Women receive vouchers instead of money. The vouchers can be used to buy food at the coop
      • How does it solve the problem? 
        1. Pros: Money gets spent on food for the children, women in control of voucher and how it gets spent
        2. Cons: Husband mad that there isn’t any extra money coming in, the voucher can’t be put towards other goods needed (can only get food), does not support women selling food in markets (only within the co op) 
      • How does it save face of those involved? 
        1. Puts blame of money distribution on the co-op, not the women
      • Implications on relationships 
        1. Short-term: women are protected from unfortunate consequences
        2. Long-term: animosity and backlash 
      • Implications on the venture 
        1. Short-term: ensuring women are getting food to feed their children
        2. Long-term: principal-agent problem and company store logic
    • Have events where the women can bring their kids to work and pay for the kids’ lunch out of their wages, similar to daycare.
      • How does it solve the problem
        1. Pros: women will be able to pop in and see their kids, the kids will have access to nutritious food, the women will have control over some of the money to feed their kids
        2. Cons: husbands can still use the money to buy frivolous things
      • How does it save face of those involved
        1. Husbands don’t get mad at women for using money behind their back
      • Implications on relationships
        1. Short-term: Husbands will be happy with wives because they are bringing supplemental money home
        2. Long-term: Kids will get the nutrients they need from the gruel and be healthier
      • Implications on the venture
        1. Short-term: Women will enjoy working at the coop because they can be close to their children
        2. Long-term: The twin social outcomes will be achieved
    • I believe that solution 3 is the most viable decision because all stakeholders are getting what they want
      • husbands: getting supplemental money for their use
      • wives: empowered by coop and earn a wage to buy food for their children
      • children: healthier because they get to eat the gruel
      • cash crop farmers: still selling their crops to the coop and making money
      • women’s coop: achieving the twin social outcomes of improving the nutritional status of children and the livelihoods of rural households
    • The women do not mind giving their money to the husbands they just want to make their children healthy. By bringing their kids to work and feeding them the gruel for lunch, they are getting the required nutrients and the husbands are still getting money. They may still spend it on frivolous things but the women’s goals were accomplished.
    • Implications:
      • Technologically: The daycare would allow the children to be close to their mothers and have access to healthy nutrients
      • Socially: The relationships at home should be just as strong because everyone is getting what they want
      • Economically: The coop, farmers, women, and husbands are all earning more money. More women would be employed.

Blog Post Week 3


  • Jack is an American student working on a social venture in Kenya for 5 months
  • International donor organization donated gifts
  • Jack lives and interacts with kids at the youth center
  • Jack works with the staff at the youth center
  • Jack handed out gifts
  • Kids thought Jack provided the gifts
  • Jack was thanked for the gifts
  • 4 Children did not get gifts
  • Those 4 children got black hats unceremoniously 
  • Staff does not think there is an issue
  • Kids are resentful of Jack
  • Jack wants a good relationship with the kids and the staff
  • Staff thinks Jack is creating a problem out of nothing
  • Staff is worried Jack will act out of line

Problem: Jack wants to make a good impression on the children and the staff, but is in an uncomfortable situation as he is being blamed by 4 children for not giving them gifts and the staff refuses to address the issue. Depending on how Jack decides to respond to the situation could jeopardize his relations with the staff and/or children.


  • Jack: 
    • Jack’s personal motivations are primarily to formulate good relationships with the staff and the children that he will be working with over the next few months.
    • In the same way, this leads into Jack’s professional motivations because he is going to be working there for a fairly long time and an unhealthy relationship with either group would make his time unproductive and difficult.
  • Kids: 
    • The only motivations for the kids is to feel included. All the other kids received gifts and the four that did not want to feel like Jack cares about them. They do not have any professional motivations.
  • Staff:  
    • Professionally, the staff is trying to run their youth-center smoothly and focus on some of their more important initiatives than giving small gifts. They want to be respected by other organizations and visiting volunteers, like Jack. In this situation the staff do not have any personal motivations.


  • Do nothing.
    • By doing nothing, Jack is saving face with the staff and not treating the problem as a more serious problem than it is.
    • The pros of doing nothing are that the staff will not see Jack as being a “child’s rights activist”. This will be beneficial for Jack for the duration of his time spent in country, but also when he travels back to his university.
    • The main con of this solution is that he does not do anything to make the kids feel better. They still feel like they were shorted in the situation. In reality, this does not have a huge effect on his work in Kenya. The four kids may hold a grudge, but the other children at the youth-center have no resentment towards him. Additionally, over the course of the next 5 months, Jack will have the chance to improve his relationship with these four kids. If he is able to improve this relationship, he will be more productive in his venture long-term.
  • Jack wears a black hat
    • The case study states that the children were upset about receiving the four black hats. By wearing a black hat, Jack is making it seem cool and the kids will be excited to follow him.
    • The pros of wearing a black hat are that it avoids any awkward conversations and saves face with both the kids and the staff and is very easy to carry out. The kids will feel special that they get to wear something similar to Jack. Therefore, the short-term and long-term relationships with the kids and the staff are both strong creating the perfect environment for a successful venture.
    • The only main con of this solution is that it revolves around the idea that the kids find Jack cool and look up to him.
  • Buys gifts himself and gives them to the children ceremoniously
    • This solution would give Jack the best peace of mind, since he would be making the kids feel better.
    • The pros of this solution are that the children get normal gifts and feel just as important as the other children.
    • The cons to this solution are that the staff will be unhappy with Jack because he made a big deal out of something that they considered trivial. Additionally, this could cause the kids to feel even more singled out and thus uncomfortable.
    • This solution improves the short term and long term relationship with the kids and would benefit his venture if he is able to maintain this strong relationship with the kids.
    • However, this has the potential to seriously damage Jack’s short term and long term relationship with the staff. They will most likely not appreciate his gestures and may be difficult to work with in the future. Thus, the venture will suffer while he is in Kenya and when he returns.
  • After talking with my peers, most of us believe that for the good of Jack’s venture, which requires good relationships, it would be best not to do anything that brings a lot of attention to Jack and not overcompensate for a mistake that Jack didn’t even make.
  • In my opinion, the best solution to this issue is for Jack to wear the black hat. In my experience in SL, coming from America most people were super fascinated by us and would often run over to us/reach for our hands/call out to us/etc. I think by wearing the black hat, the children will think they are “cool” wearing the same thing as Jack. This creates a strong relationship with the kids, but also with the staff. He would be saving face with all of the stakeholders, which is important! The other solutions risk harming relationships with one of the stakeholders. This solution does not make a big deal out of the situation and therefore pleases the staff. These positive relationships will be vital to the success of Jack’s venture, which is the reason he is in Kenya.
  • This is a very easy solution and there are not very many steps to see it through. All Jack has to do is buy a black hat similar to those he gave to the four children and consistently wear it over the course of the next 5 months. In this situation, it is best for Jack to do as little as possible to be respectful to the staff and not single out any of the children.

Blog Post Week 2

In this case study, we analyzed the ethical decision of a group of 11 academic researchers to travel to Lesotho, South Africa to study a rare pathogen only found in several Lesotho communities. While traveling to these different communities, the researchers will need assistance from the community members to bring them to their water sources. The goal of the research is to understand the lifecycle of this pathogen and produce several publications. After the pathogen is studied, there is potential for others to create chemical additives that will make the drinking water in Lesotho safer. The major ethical question being analyzed in this case study is whether or not these community members should be compensated for their assistance in the project, and if so how?

The stakeholders and their motivations in this case study are as follows:

  • The 11 academic researchers are hoping to travel to Lesotho to gather enough valid data to publish articles that discuss their research, giving them technical credibility and experience that they can utilize in their future.
  • The academic institution funding these students is also a key stakeholder. By funding these students’ trip to Lesotho, the institution is expecting that the publications produced will bring publicity and academic prestige to the institution. 
  • The community members living in Lesotho are motivated to allow the researchers to investigate their water source because they want to know more about the pathogen living in their water, rather than being left in the dark.
  • The local government in Lesotho allowing the researchers to come into their communities want to make sure that no one is taking advantage of their people, land, or resources.
  • The publicists are hoping to gain quality research that will lead to successfully published papers. These publications will bring publicity to their company and will be a source of knowledge for anyone that is hoping to further research or develop a chemical additive to eliminate the pathogen.

There are a few alternative solutions to this question:

  • Do the study and pay the community members a small rate
    • This solution based on duty-based ethical principles keeps the community happy, creates strong relationships, and motivates community members to cooperate and help in any way they can. However, paying the community members may lead to expected payment in every future experience and is more costly than other solutions.
  • Complete the study without paying or compensating the community in any way
    • A consequence-based solution, this solution aims to maximize the benefits of the situation. The advantages to this solution are that expenses are reduced and gives the researchers more leniency with the money provided by the institution or through grants. The disadvantages are that this may lead to uncooperative community members and gives the institution a bad reputation in country.
  • Do not pay the community members, but mention the communities in the publications.
    • Finally, this virtue-based solution to the original question attempts to keep everyone involved in the situation happy. 
      • Pros: The communities mentioned will be the first to receive the chemical additive if it is ever produced.
      • Cons: The chemical additive may never be produced and therefore may keep the community members waiting, most members of the community who do not have access to internet will never see the publications.

This summer in Sierra Leone, the Malnutrition team had experience with both paid and unpaid translators. During our experience, we hired three translators, who were fantastic. They came each day excited to help us and were extremely helpful during interviews. We also had two unpaid interns that were assigned to our team. These interns worked hard, but were often unreliable. There were multiple days when our interns didn’t show up and we were left with less translators than we were expecting. In my experience, it was best to pay the people we worked with.

In my opinion, the best course of action is to pay the community members a small wage to help perform the study. I think this solution has the most advantages and least disadvantages. Most likely, the cost of paying these community members will not increase the expenses too drastically. By paying the people, they will be motivated and excited to help the researchers to achieve their goals and will create relationships that could be beneficial in the future. This will also give the most valuable and accurate data in the shortest amount of time. The other solutions discussed involve not paying the helpers or paying them through reference in publications. In my opinion, these are both basically the same solution. The community will not see any benefits from either of these options and will therefore not be as eager to help the researchers gather the best data available. 

By paying community members, I believe that people will be motivated to help the project in any way they can. This will provide the most accurate data, which was the primary goal for all stakeholders in the project. To prevent the expectation that foreign researchers will always pay the community members it will be important to brief the workers before they are hired as to the specific reason they are being paid. Also, a general hourly wage will need to be established prior to travel so that there is no confusion or competition. Additionally, it will be important to get in contact with a government official with experience in the country’s water source. They will most likely be able to give us a list of reliable contacts to use in-country.

Blog Post Week 1

In our first class back on campus, we spent some time discussing what we learned during our summer fieldwork earlier this month. After some personal reflection, these are a few things I learned.

  • Being in Sierra Leone for three weeks was such an enriching and illuminating experience. The most obvious thing I learned was just about the culture in this small, sub-saharan nation. Unlike anywhere else I have been in the world or in the United States, Sierra Leone had the strongest sense of community that I have ever experienced. Everywhere I went (bakery, shop, village, market, etc.) I noticed how much everyone meant to each other and how each person had their own role within their community. People were overwhelmingly welcoming and respectful to each other. Which unfortunately, is not something we always experience back in the States.
  • I learned how to negotiate and communicate in a market and in stressful situations. Often times early on in the trip, our team had to travel to the market to buy supplies to make our products. After experiencing the crazy markets a few times, I began to notice some vendors were trying to sell me their products for a higher price. To use our money responsibly, I frequently spoke to these vendors and negotiated their prices down to an acceptable price.
  • One of my favorite things that I was able to do in country was travel to people’s homes to get surveys filled out because through that one conversation, I was able to learn so much about that person’s values and personal priorities. To me it was interesting how different some of these priorities are. Based on my experience, religion and family are the most important parts of people’s lives.

Professional Development:

  • Professionally, my experience in Sierra Leone this summer was one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had. Our team worked on a daily basis with translators and interns. Our translators were paid and were working only for our group. The interns were assigned to our team and wanted to learn as much as they could from our project. So, I really learned how be in charge and lead a group of people. I frequently had to communicate with our translators and interns to tell them what needed to be done. Leadership is a really important skill to have and is something that I will utilize academically, athletically, and socially.
  • At the same time, I also learned how to step back and let someone else lead every once in awhile. To me, this is one of the most important skills to learn as a leader. Each person that I worked with had their own strengths and weaknesses, just like myself. There are times when someone else is more qualified to complete a task and I learned how to utilize all of these strengths on our team to make us the best we can be. Again, this is something that I will carry with me back in the States in all aspects of my life.
  • Finally, I learned how to make decisions in tough situations. Early on in the fieldwork I think our team ran into some issues when we encountered difficult situations. Not only is it important to be able to make a firm decision, it is also important to plan for when things go wrong. Multiple times in country we were forced to come up a plan b. Learning to adapt to the circumstances was vital to our success.

Personal Development:

  • Personally, I feel like I became more confident in myself. During my time this summer I was frequently put in situations that I had never been in before. I think the success of our team helped me to believe in myself and my ability to work through new experiences.
  • I also think I learned how to communicate better. Clear communication was critical in Sierra Leone whether it was among team members, with the translators, or just about anyone else. Good communication facilitated the strong relationships that we developed in country. Additionally, it brought our team closer together and I really believe that we will be a more cohesive and united team moving forward.
  • Lastly, I was able to make so many new friendships and formulate strong relationships with faculty and students at Lehigh. The group of us that travelled to Sierra Leone became incredibly close and frequently gave each other advice when they were stuck in a rut. I think these relationships will bring fresh ideas and help to our projects this fall.