Conceptual Framework for Ukweli


What Ukweli Does:


The conceptual framework here represents how Ukweli functions. Women are not able to receive basic healthcare becuase of little knowledge along with many other factors. Ukweli creates a bridge to that knowledge and therefore to the clinics. We also empower CHWs to do more in the rural parts by giving them the resources to help those around them.

Systems Thinking

What is Creativity Creativity – Thinking outside of the box.

-Creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ways of thinking or acting and to develop new and original ideas, methods or objects.

Where does Creativity Happen? 

-When collaboration, isolation, need, not thinking about the problem,

What is Emergence?

-Being the first of a new thing or the sum of several systems, for example, a bird flying

8 Tenets of System Thinking 

Multifinality – The idea that even though all the inputs into different systems are the same, different outcomes will develop. How does it address the needs of several stakeholders?

-For Ukweli, this is almost the base of the operations we are creating. The input is the test strips into the sierra leone healthcare system in order to lower maternal mortality rate but in doing so the CHWs are also given a supplemental income.

-For NewTrition, this is an example of the muffin serving the purpose of helping eliminate malnutrition in children, but also creating a system that can be implemented in various other countries with similar issues.

Equifinality – Given different incomes with the same goal, all end in the same output.

-Equifinality is present in Ukweli’s operations of training different PHUs and different CHWs throughout the Bombali District/SL. The various community health workers/PHUs/Villages that have Ukweli’s Test Strips can potentially be very different inputs, but all of these players are working towards the same goal of using Ukweli’s strips to lower the maternal mortality.

Abstraction – The idea of describing a system in more than one dimension, speaking to the interconnections and interdependence of the system.

-CHWs and NICs and all other health workers do different jobs to work towards the solution of a healthier Sierra Leone

Leverage Points- important points in a system that have a large impact with minimal changes

-Changing the ingredients in the magic muffin can change the nutrient profile along with the flavor. That could affect who buys or who gets the right nutrients

– For NewTrition, changing the branding of the muffin from a “therapeutic food” to just a healthy food allows for us to avoid the stigma attached to it. By just creating healthy food without claims we can easily merge into the current markets.

Regulation – The idea that in order for a system to be successful, it requires feedback in multiple aspects of said system to manage the high points and pitfalls of a system

-Ukweli Test Strips data collection systems are used to effectively understand the current standings of the operations of the venture

– For NewTrition, recipe questionnaires were collected to determine whether the product our team felt was best, was also accepted by the mothers and children of Sierra Leone.

Interdependence* – Mutually beneficial relationships between systems

-Sustainable development goals, better education improves health, improving health makes a better population, a better population can do bigger and better things. All of our projects work on one problem being faced in a developing country, but the improvement in one aspect helps to improve the others.

– For NewTrition, the team needs a local to cook to make nutritious products to address malnutrition in Sierra Leone, so a local bakery partnered with us and allowed us to use the bakery. In return, we helped them work out a business model for their bakery and did odd jobs they needed assistance with.

Holism* – The idea that the sum of the individual parts of a system is less valuable than the system as a whole:

– For NewTrition, giving children separate serving of each of the ingredients used in the recipe would be ineffective, but combining them into a muffin, in this case, makes a product that is better than the sum of its individual components.

Differentiation* the idea that a system needs different systems working together to achieve a cohesive solution

-Bundle of sticks i.e. marketing, sale, dissemination, teaching, transport, etc…

– For NewTrition, when we first arrived in Sierra Leone, we weren’t differentiated within the team and it led to problems of ‘who is in charge of what’. After a meeting with Khanjan, he helped us differentiate ourselves and the team was much more productive.

* Differentiation, Holism, and Interdependence are essentially the same thing


Design a multifinal solution to the water hyacinth problem discussed in class. Explain the solution and describe how it exhibits the system tenets of multifinality, holism, and regulation.


To fix the water hyacinth problem, I would compensate the region we are using to harvest the crop with a fair percentage of our profits. This would allow the locals to not feel as though they are being taken advantage of and allows the business to continue to help the community and provide income for the employees. This solution shows multifinality in that it serves to eliminate the problem of the locals being upset at the use of their local areas, and solves the issue of the business now missing a produce supplier. This also serves to add a new revenue stream for the locals on the water. It shows holism, as there is a now a codependent between the locals on the water, and the business. The hyacinth by itself doesn’t have any value and is actually a negative thing in the water. This solution allows for the people on the water to have a healthy waterway with less hyacinth and additional money for access to the water for harvesting. The business is allowed a free source of input material that allows them to have a business. The separate parts of this relationship gather no money, but together everyone makes a profit. Finally, regulation is incorporated in that the locals will determine what we pay, to some extent, and keeps our company in check-in that we want our product partners to be happy so the relationship is strong and stays for many years. If the people we get our source material from have to leave, we won’t have partners, so their health and well-being are crucial as well.

Partners of Ukweli

Friends of Ukweli

  1. Hassan
    1. Acts as a translator while we are on the ground. He currently is our community outreach employee and later he will be the distribution manager once we obtain product registration.
    2. Hassan helped us with translation and country relations. We gave him money.
    3. Not a symbiotic relationship yet because we have not properly compensated him, he’s being paid federal minimum wage and is our most important employee. He should be compensated at a surplus rate, not the other way around.


    1. Symbiotic because we are providing some sort of livelihood. We benefit in that he gets our test strips into the market and publicized.
    2. Transitioning to the Distribution contract will make our partnership stronger
  1. Carrie Jo
    1. World Hope Consultant on healthcare issues
    2. helped us meet the DMO in 2018 and find data on Koinadugu, Tonkolili, and Bombali districts. Helped Jordan with radio programs.
    3. CHAMPs project lead, useful to our venture because we can model our venture off of some of the things CHAMPs employs (ex: messaging strategy)
    4. Symbiotic relationship: Carrie Jo wants to improve maternal health in Sierra Leone, was even willing to give up some of World Hopes talk segments to promote our venture. We ask her for advice on how to establish relationships on the ground.
  2. Lori Herz
    1. Laboratory/ Technology advice for the project.
    2. Not a symbiotic relationship. (She does get acknowledgments on the papers) We basically go and ask her for advice for chemistry stuff.
    3. She gives us lab space.
  3. Allieu
    1. The Ukweli team relied on Allieu, as the health director of WHI, to assist operations in Sierra Leone, providing logistical support for Hassan and to champion our product at the Pharmacy Control Board.
    2. Allieu pushed our product at the PCB and helps Hassan manage his job of distributing test strips to clinics. He also helps out with getting the test strips from the Freetown port to the WHI Makeni office.
    3. Symbiotic because Allieu took this project on as part of his paid job responsibilities, and Ukweli benefits from his expertise and knowledge in-country
    4. This partnership could be strengthened by Allieu internalizing our venture’s mission more and pushing the PCB and MOHS to procure our test strip nationwide. Ukweli could also strengthen the partnership by providing earmarked funds for his responsibilities with the venture, instead of allowing Ukweli to fall as a side gig to his larger role with WHI.
  4. Sue Baggott
    1. She served as an outside partner to Ukweli in regards to funding acquisition.
    2. Sue provided us with insights regarding how to go about crowdfunding prior to fieldwork and checked in on us while on Mountaintop
    3. Not a symbiotic relationship, we gave her a gift from SL (I think?) but other than that we didn’t really do anything to help her out. She seems to enjoy advising and helping people with venture creation
    4. Continue to utilize her for help on potential funding sources to strengthen the partnership
  5. Saidu
    1. Mr. Country Director
    2. John Lyon and Khanjan connected us with Saidu
    3. He makes big funding decisions, facilitates decision-making forums
    4. Yes it is a symbiotic relationship because he wants World Hope to have as many successful projects as possible. Also his livelihood. We benefit because he makes progress happen with people on the ground.
    5. Hasson and Allieu report to him, he holds them accountable which helps us
  6. Bockarie
    1. Works in the finances office and keeps track of the test strip inventory. He also gives Hassan support on the ground. He sends updates every week.
    2. He helps us by keeping us updated with what is happening on the ground. We help him in the way we help Allieu. It is his job.
    3. This is a symbiotic relationship he gets paid.
  7. Sylvester
    1. Finance administrator and Makeni office lead (unofficially)
    2. Oversight on Hassan, he helps us with storage of test strips
    3. We provide him an impactful project and more capital in the office
    4. Symbiotic because he benefits from being a good manager


What constitutes the partnership

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

Was this a symbiotic relationship? Why or Why not

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




Friends of Ukweli Coalition

Our Vision:

      • 0 maternal mortality rate
      • Government of SL (Ministry of Health) Takes over the operations and distributes throughout the country
      • Expansion into Liberia and surrounding countries in West Africa
      • Focused on repairing damaged healthcare systems in developing contexts
      • Want more hospital partners to get the screen-diagnose-treat continuum
    • Would invite:


  • WHO


We Care Solar

      • Malnutrition team
      • Documentary team


  • Government of Sierra Leone: MOHS, Pharmacy Board


      • Funders in US and international markets
        • Grand Challenges Canada
        • Venture Well
        • USAID
        • Gates Foundation
        • NORAD
        • DFID


  • Nurse society (from Freetown)
  • World Hope International



  • IEEE representatives

Ukweli Team Profile

Cassidy: Ensure that the marketing license gets approved so our test strips can be distributed and sold to CHWs and clinic staff around Makeni. Maintain communication with Allieu to ensure he is working and collaborating with the Pharmacy Board.Jordan: Solidify funding sources for the team moving forward as a means to comfortably fund operations and Hassan’s salary and help out with logistics as the project moves forward (with our product registration in the near future) and as issues arise.

Naakesh: Maintain and monitor the interactions between our partners on the ground in Sierra Leone and Lehigh. Optimize Ukweli’s operations while the Marketing License is still being processed. Optimize the con-ops for when the Marketing License gets approved. Identify and address potential failure modes for the venture.

Rohan: Perform necessary lab work like comparative accuracy results for the test strip. To research and find a company that can perform proper sensitivity and specificity analysis at an absolute level.

Sage: Finish and publish Gabi’s paper. Keep internal budget of project expenses on World Hope end and flag any discrepancies. Searching for funding sources to sustain Ukweli. Government relations with Sierra Leone.

Zach: Create a WhatsApp group to communicate with Community Health Workers and other Ukweli Health Workers to provide them with information on how to market and use the test strips. Another goal is to produce at least 1 article that is published for Engineer 4 Change, which will help publicize Ukweli and help with possible funding plans.

Project Goals/Scale of Goals: One of the shorter term goals for Ukweli is to expand fully throughout the Bombali District. Currently we have the resources to create relationships with PHUs and CHWs by having Hassan travel throughout the district, but further expansion will require more resources.

Metrics of Success: Hassan’s relationships with clinics and CHWs based on the number of test strips sold. The CHW responses we get from Jawaras randomized calling.

Roles We all depend on each other to succeed. However, there are some roles we have designated on the team based on the team member’s major. For example, Rohan and Naakesh collaborate more closely on the lab and quality control side of operations. We do try to play by strengths and people’s interests for when we assign a task. However, we also like to encourage anyone to take up certain tasks because they can offer a different perspective.The roles and responsibilities our team typically takes are:

-Naakesh: project management

-Zach: graphic design, marketing and messaging

-Rohan: quality control, assay research & development

-Sage: budgeting, grant writing, research

-Jordan: messaging, grant writing

-Cassidy: device and medical regulations, messaging

Procedures In terms of decision making, Ukweli has generally been able to discuss our plans and then modify them to the point where the whole team can come to a consensus on what to implement.The team meetings that we hold are more than doing work on the project. The meetings are more used to discuss steps to take for the immediate future and to update the rest of the team on the progress of individual team member’s work. Zach usually keeps notes on the meeting as a whole, but the rest of the team contributes to note-taking when necessary. The team keeps up good communication through GroupMe where the whole team is responsive to any requests and questions other team members may have. Ukweli utilizes Google Drive for the majority of the teams work so the team can see any changes a team member makes as soon as the changes are made.
Relationships Our team is fortunate to have built, maintained and sustained solid relationships between the six of us. Each team member not only is committed to the success of the project, but also remains steadfast in supporting one another. No matter what occurs, we are all ready and prepared to jump in and be flexible and do whatever is required to correct or resolve the situation or advance the project. The connections we have developed have allowed us to understand one another in a more personal way outside of the project, which in turn translates to greater chemistry and a smoother experience when doing work related to Ukweli.

OOPS- Case Study

Case 1: Ethical Decision Making 

1: Facts of situation:

  • The 14 million trees in India have been used extensively over the past 2,000 years for medicinal purposes, food production, toiletries, fuel, and pesticides
  • Azadirachta indica (Neem) a tree indigenous to India
  • Neem is sacred
  • Neem is used for medical purposes, food production, toiletries, fuel, and pesticides
  • India employes about 100k people and used in pesticide industry
  • Pesticides are used widely across India
  • Chetan lives in Agra, India and operates a small business of neem tree products
  • including pesticides, skin creams, contraceptives, lamp oil and many other products
  • Family owned biz Chetan has HS education
  • Chetan employs 60 people
  • Does quality control reference
  • Chetan does not know the exact name of the neem seed extract, Azadirachtin
  • Has cultural knowledge but not a lot of knowledge in the science end
  • Tom Johnson is developing neem seed pesticides (affiliated with OOPS)
  • Johnson’s co invested 5mil to conduct safety and performance tests over last decade
  • Tom’s company has certification (patent) through the EPA to sell pesticides (worldwide patent)
  • Tom has made profit of 12.5 million during his first year
  • OOPS wants to set up biz in India
  • Economy of scale at play bc OOPS selling all over world and will likely put Chetan out of business
  • OOPS is demanding a royalty from Chetan’s business and other small industries that make neem-based insecticides


What rights does Chetan have and is it ethical for the US company to uphold their patent rights?

Stakeholders and Motivations

  • Chetan
  • Professional: Chetan wants to maintain his business without the royalties charged by OOPS ruining his venture
  • Wants to see his families generation long venture continue
  • Personal: Can be assumed that Chetan would struggle supporting his family members if his co. collapses bc royalties
  • OOPS
  • Prof: They want the business to work in India.
  • Personal: they want to provide effective organic solutions to pesticides so people do not get sick and that they can protect the patent
  • Tom Johnson
  • Prof: Tom wants money and he wants his business to be successful. He wants to tap into the market in India
  • Personal: He might want to give back.. I.e. help Indians
  • Chetan’s Family
  • Prof: not really
  • Personal: Wants to see the business grow. Distrust for westerners. They know the market very well. They hold the plant sacred and might be sus of the westerners.
  • Chetan’s employees (60+)
  • Personal: Want to keep their jobs to provide for their families. Same distrust of western influence as Chetan’s family.
  • Professional: Want a stable job that gives them income.
  • OOPS investors
  • Personal: n/a
  • Professional: Want the company to be as successful and profitable as possible. Also want the company to act ethically so that there are no scandals.
  • Other small Indian ventures that will have to pay royalties
  • These ventures will be charged royalty by OOPS on products that are tied to their patent. This would negatively impact their ventured greatly and may put them out of business
  • Indian People
  • Personal: want the product to stay the same price or go down

Alternate Solutions 

  1. Legal way (Patent binding)
  1. Tom obtained the patent so Chetan has no option but to pay the royalty
    1. Pros: Tom makes a lot of money and he is successful
    2. Cons: Tom puts people out of business and he is disliked by many causing his business to fail. Chetan is run out of business.
  1. Something in between: Tom Johnson and OOPS understand that entering the Indian market and collecting royalties from Chetan’s business will put Chetan out of business. To compromise, OOPS hires Chetan and his employees for a standard working wage. OR OOPS buys Chetan’s company
  1. Pros: Chetan and his employees already know how to make neem based products, Chetan also already has a following (loyal customers) Chetan and his employees retain a job.
  2. Cons: Wages under OOPS might not be the same as the wages Chetan and his employees were making independently. The change in oversight might be hard to adjust to and Chetan’s past employees may take their frustrations out on him.
  1. “Moral Way”
  1. Tom does not make Chetan or any other neem company pay a royalty to use neem in their products
    1. Pros: Smaller neem companies are able to stay in business, Tom will be in good standing with the other neem company and will be in a position where he can possibly partner/ask favors from them.
    2. Cons: Tom will not be earning the money from his hard earned patent, OOPS could be run out of business by the local businesses.

Best Course of Action

The best course of action would be something in between, number 2. It is not in Toms best interest to follow through with solution 1 or 2. If Toms goes with solution 1 or 2 there is a good chance OOPs will be run out of business. For option 1, Tom would have to go through a legal battle to ensure neem businesses are paying their royalty, Tom and OOPs will be receiving a lot of bad PR which can turn the loyal neem customer base against OOPs. While Tom is trying to make more by having businesses pay the royalty he will still end up going out of business because no one will want to buy OOPs products. For option 2, Tom is “giving up too many of his cards”. Tom has the upper hand by having a patent and the ability/infrastructure to make companies pay the royalties by caving and asking for nothing he is taking a big risk. The royalties might be the only thing that holds OOPs together; Tom can not insure the loyal neem customers will leave their regular providers to buy from OOPs. In order to take the less risk and predict the best outcome it is safest for Tom to make a deal with Chetan; to pitch to him (Chetan) that he should sell or come work for OOPS and that all of his long lasting employees also have a new home with OOPs. Tom will make the argument that if he enforces Chetan to pay the royalties he will be run out of business so in order to carry on his legacy and ensure his employees have jobs Chetan and OOPs should partner up. This is the best course of action for Tom however this might not be the best option for Chetan. The change in oversight and not having control over the process would be a hard adjustment for Chetan. Not running the business might also be a big issue and could be a loss in the family’s eyes and might even be worse than just selling the company. However, the argument for Chetan can also be turned the other way, it might be a better idea to have any type of legacy carry on than none. Finally, I do not believe this is an ethical decision making case study. I think it is a decision that is completely based around the possible business implementations.


A number of the implications are talked about in the solutions, and are used as reasons not to/to follow that solution. The main implication that both OPPs and Chetan are trying to avoid is being run out of business. Worst case scenario, Chetan partners/joins/sells to OPPs in order to save his business and employees however, OOPS still runs out of business because customers do not like the idea of buying from a foreign company, they want to buy from a locally run neem company.

Case 2: Grassroots Diplomacy

The Facts 

  • OOPS launched 6 months ago, crushing market
  • 20 different products
  • neem based soap – most successful
  • OOPS wrapper features a photo of Tom Johnson
  • Chetans wrapper features a photo of the founders great grandfather
  • Chetan has tried to convince Tom to leave the market or collab
  • Tom will not leave market
  • Tom is open to collaboration if it will make him money
  • Chetans business if suffering will have to lay of half his staff
  • Employees and families have worked with him for centuries
  • Chetan will not suffer as much from declining business because of his investments
  • Chetan s employees know he met with Tom
  • Believe Chetan has cut a deal with Tom/OOPS
  • Employees feel cheated and abandon
  • Some employees have resigned to their fate
  • Some are confident Chetan will find a way out
  • Some want to physically want to beat Chetan up


OPPS is dominating the neem product industry and small business owners like Chetan and his employees are in danger of going bankrupt and want OPPS to leave the market or collaborate.

Stakeholders and Motivations: 

  1. OOPS
  1. Personal/professional: Want to keep business growing and keep control over the market
  1. Tom
  1. Personal: Wants to be the top dog, wants Chetan to pay the royalty
  2. Professional: Want OOPS to grow bigger and make more money. Provide neem products for indians.
  1. Chetan
  1. Personal: Family legacy is on the stake. Employees are friends (assumption because they are long term employees) and he doesn’t want to seem like a bad friend by betraying them.
  2. Professional: Don’t want to go out of business and don’t want to lay off their long term loyal employees.
  1. Chetan’s family
  1. Personal: Don’t want to lose the family legacy. They’d feel sad if they have to fire employees who are also their friends. Don’t want to feel financially unstable when invested money later decreases too low.
  1. Chetan’s employees
  1. Personal: They’re long term employees and so are their relatives so it’s a personal business to them.
  2. Professional: They need the money to make a living so they can’t be fired.
  1. Employees’ family
  1. Personal/professional: They need their breadwinners to make money to provide at home otherwise they could starve and die.
  1. Neem customers
  1. Personal: Desire to get neem products at the cheapest price. Want the neem products they trust/have loyalty too.
  1. Other small neem product businesses
  1. Personal: Keep their employees’ jobs.
  2. Professional: Continue making money/grow profits
  1. Neem growers/gardeners
  1. Personal/professional: Want to make money selling neem.

Alternate Solutions

  • Solution 1: Chetan leaves his business and negotiates with Tom to find jobs for his employees at OOPS
  • • How does it solve the problem?
  • o Pros: Chetan’s employees have jobs, OOPs no longer has Chetan as a competitor, OOPs could possibly gain Chetan’s customers if they hire his employees
  • o Cons: Chetans family business dies, Chetan/his future family may have to find work somewhere else in the future (even though he is well off now)
  • • How does it save face of those involved?
  • Chetan will be able to say that he went out with the upper hand because he got his employees jobs.
  • • Implications on relationships
  • o Short-term: Chetans employees feel resentment toward Chetan because he bailed on the company but they are grateful because he found them new jobs.
  • o Long-term: Cheten and his family could lose their connections and respect within the community because they no longer have the long lasting family business (something to define them)
  • • Implications on the venture (OOPs)
  • o Short-term: Might be a learning curve, gaining and training all the new employees. Transition of the new employees might cause some tension.
  • o Long-term: OOPs makes more money ,is more successfully, moves on to phasing out other neem businesses
  • Solution 2: Cut a deal with Tom to use Chetans’ business’ image and brand name to further penetrate the Indian market, Chetan receives compensation from this deal (for using his brand) and his employees receive jobs.
  • • How does it solve the problem?
  • o Pros: Chetan gets to continue employing his workers, and his family’s legacy will continue on.
  • o Cons: Will likely have to surrender business capital and/or oversight. Chetan won’t have much of a say in how the business is run.
  • • How does it save face of those involved?
  • Chetan will be able to continue employing the same families and continue to generate a profit. Tom will grow his business and profit margin.
  • • Implications on relationships
  • o Short-term: Chetan will maintain his relationship with his employees and generate a relationship with Tom and OOPS
  • o Long-term: Chetan’s relationship with his employees may remain strong, but as his business and Tom’s continue to dominate the market, there could be increased tensions with other Indian Neem businesses and their employees.
  • • Implications on the venture
  • o Short-term: No layoffs will occur, management will likely change
  • o Long-term: The employees’ jobs will be safe, the overall business structure will be permanently altered, they will edge out other small Neem businesses
  • Solution 3: Chetan and Tom do nothing. Chetan will help his employees find jobs elsewhere (letters of rec).
  • • How does it solve the problem?
  • o Pros: It eliminates the tension between Tom and Chetan. Chetan’s employees can find new jobs and provide for their families. At least some of employees will remain employed
  • o Cons: Chetan’s legacy dies. There is no guarantee that his past employees will find new jobs in a timely manner. Customers may feel betrayed and may have a bad lasting impression of Chetan.
  • • How does it save face of those involved?
  • Chetan can confidently say that he never gave in to the forign company.
  • • Implications on relationships
  • o Short-term: Chetans employees feel resentment toward Chetan because he bailed on the company but they are grateful because he is helping them find new jobs/writing letters of rec.
  • o Long-term: Cheten and his family could lose their connections and respect within the community because they no longer have the long lasting family business (something to define them)
  • • Implications on the venture
  • o Short-term: Chetan’s business ends, Chetan’s customers feel like they have been betrayed because they can no longer buy from their favorite neem business
  • o Long-term: Chetan and his family will not have enough money to carry on with what they had left over from the business. Chetan’s customers will eventually transition over to OPPs, OPPs will gain more customers and will become more successful

Best Course of Action

Chetans best course of action would be, solution 2, to cut a deal with OPPs that benefits the employees and Chetan. Solution 1 and 3 are not viable because Chetan does leave the market with anything to show from it. These two solutions are also unfavorable for the employees because for solution 3 they are not guaranteed a job and solution 1 they are going to work for OPPs without their long time boss, Chetan. Solution 2 is optimal because Chetan is still carrying out his legacy, by letting OPPs use his branding (his great-grandfather’s face) and bonus he will be receiving a steady compensation for it. Chetans employees receive jobs and still feel like they are working for the family business because it is their (Chetans) branded product they are still providing with OPPs. And finally OPPs will also benefit from this deal for they are receiving the rights to the branding that is holding them back from taking over the entire market. OPPs will be gaining a large number of customers with this deal and ultimately money. They are also avoiding bad PR by partnering with Chetan instead of just running him out of the market.

Steps to Implement Best Course of Action

  1. Chetan and Tom/OPPs will meet in private and will discuss Chetan’s plan (to give up his branding, receive compensation, employees plan).
  2. Once Tom/OPPs has agreed to the plan, specifies will be worked out/discussed, type of branding OPPs can use, how much Chetan will be receiving as compensation, wages and positions for employees.
  3. An announcement will be made that Chetan and Tom/OPPs are partnering and the plan for employee integration.
  4. Chetan employees will be phased in to work at OPPs after Chetan’s business officially closes.
  5. Chetan will start receiving compensation for the branding, Chetan’s employees will be receiving consistent work, OPPs will be more successful on the market.


Ethical Decision Making & Grassroots Diplomacy Part 2

Welcome Back! In class this week, we talked about two separate ethical decision making/ grassroots diplomacy cases. In the weeks past, I included the case study but due to its length, I am going to describe it below:

There is a women’s cooperative in Kenya that was designed to reduce the risk of HIV transmission between mothers and children due to breastfeeding. The strategy that the cooperative used was to create a nutrient rich porridge that effectively weens the child off of the milk. The more time the child is allowed to breastfeed, the higher the likelihood of HIV transmission. Both cases have unique problems so I will analyze them accordingly:

Case 1 Case 2
Step 1: Determine the Facts. What is the Issue here and why is it important?
·        Approximately 35% of children are stunted because of poor nutrition.

·        The mothers believe that the porridge is effective.

·        There are 500ish women who are active in the cooperative.

·        There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in this region and high transmission rate between mothers and children.

·        Women are skeptical of early weening à There may be a lack of understanding about the dangers of letting the baby have breast milk.

·        The goal of the cooperative is to have a “shelf-stable” porridge that is effective

·        There are several key crops that grow in this region: maize, sorghum, cassava, legumes, coffee, pineapple, bananas, pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots, kale, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. These crops could be used in this recipe.

·        There is a general issue about pesticide use in this region and how it can harm everyone who consumes the porridge.

·        The current recipe is not very nutritious.

·        Although women are working in the cooperative and earning money, the men in the household are taking it and spending it on alcohol (Case 2 specific)

·        You are a member of a leadership committee for the cooperative and you have six months left on the committee (Case 2 specific).

·        Women are convinced that nothing can be done (Case 2 specific).

·        Twin social outcomes goals are: improving the nutritional status of children and improving the livelihoods of rural households (Case 2 specific).

The issue here is that the we need to find a way to make a safe and nutrient dense product for mothers to give to their infants. Mothers are skeptical of this product currently because of the potential health issues associated with pesticides, they do not understand the dangers of letting the baby have breast milk, and the product is not currently guaranteed to last (it is not shelf stable yet).  This is extremely important as the transmission of HIV to children and malnutrition huge issues that plague many people in sub-Saharan Africa. The issue here is that while the cooperative is doing well and women and children are healthier, the money earned from the work the women do is not being put to good use. More specifically women are upset with the fact that they cannot effectively take care of their infants because the men in their house are taking the money and using it to buy alcohol. The women are put in a difficult place because they do not want to go against their husband but they want to help her baby. This decision that must be made here is who has autonomy over the money and how do you make sure that the mothers can feed her children while upholding the twin social outcomes?



Step 2: Who are the Stakeholders for these cases? & Step 3: What are their motivations
·        Mothers who are breastfeeding

o   The mother does not want her child to become malnourished or contract HIV. They want a solution that reduces the risk for harm to both herself and her child while offering the best result.

·        Infants who are being breastfed:

o   The children need to eat food. Ultimately, they do not know or care where it is coming from.

·        Non-lactating Women

o   They are invested in the health and wellness of their community. In addition, this cooperative presents an opportunity to help her when she needs assistance later. This could be a potential source of income for the future.

·        Farmers

o   The farmers want the community to be healthy. They are extremely interested in the profits that they could achieve through collaboration with the cooperative

·        Medical Professional

o   They want their community to be healthier. They might want to support the cooperative because it helps reduce the issue of HIV transmission and malnutrition

·        Cooperative’s Funder

o   The funder wants to see progress with the project and that their money is being put to good use

·        You

o   You want to design the product such that the all of the concerns are addressed while still being effective. There also are personal/professional motives at play.

·        Local Government

o   They want the community to be healthier. In addition, they want people to be healthier and the cooperative to succeed so that the community develops and there is more social and economic growth

·        Males in the household (Case 2 specific).

o   They have no professional motives here but there are several personal motives at play. The males want to control their household, they want women to abide by social and cultural norms, and they want to drink alcohol but cannot afford it regularly.

Step 4: What are three alternative solutions?
1.       Utilitarian Approach

Ultimately, HIV/AIDS is a far worse issue to have than worrying about the effects of pesticides. For this approach, just give the mothers/infants the porridge and worry about the pesticides later. (+) The infants get vital nutrients from the porridge while staying away from the mother’s milk which may have had HIV in it. (-) could possible poison the child

2.       Deontological Approach

Outsource the ingredients so that the porridge is made from the best possible materials that will not have any pesticides. (+) All of the foods will be healthy and cause the least amount of harm. (-) This method is extremely expensive and could put these farmers out of business

3.       Educationà Virtue Approach

In this possible solution, we want to educate women on the dangers of breastfeeding a child for too long. (+) women are more likely to stop breastfeeding and buy better foods. (-) this does not actually solve the whole issue. It creates more issues. The women may simply not want to purchase the porridge because it may contain pesticides which they now know can harm their baby.

1.       Compensation through porridge

In this solution, I would reduce the amount the woman is being paid and compensate them with porridge. This way their children would be able to eat and she would not have to worry about the male preventing this from happening. (+) This is extremely easy to do. The children are better fed and the cooperative spends less money on overheads. (-) The porridge is designed for infants not necessarily children and the women who work at the cooperative might not all be lactating or have children who should eat the porridge.

2.       Vouchers

This solution is pretty simple in theory. Provide women with voucher cards that she could go and buy only food at a specific store. (+) Women are able to feed her kids, encourage a credit/borrowing system with food vendors, improve the economy. (-) the males may get angry because the women are able to get food but not what they want. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the voucher program will be supported by the vendors.

3.       Building equity

At this point, my team decided that there was no real solution that was truly feasible so we just made one up. (I know it is bad, but it is honest). The women decide to acquire shares in the cooperative so that she can build equity and make larger purchases (+) women are able to make wholesale/large purchases by selling their shares (-) there is no immediate impact in this solution and I think just about everyone is not happy.

Step 5: Get help & Step 6: Select the best course of action.
My team an I discussed these solutions in great detail in class. I believed that the best approach was deontological while my teammates believed that the utilitarian approach was better. When talking to Khanjan we acknowledged that solution 2 was not sustainable. However, I could not leave the principle of “do no harm”. For this reason, I chose the deontological approach. It took about 30 seconds of class discussion to realize that every single group decided to do some sort of voucher-based solution. I have actually seen this solution in practice in Uganda and for this reason, I know it works!
Step 7: What happens next? What are the implications for the cooperation
Okay, so there are huge implications and steps here. We would need to first contact our donor and explain the situation. I would explain to them that we cannot replace one illness with another and that this is the right way to approach this issue. I would need to keep in mind what Khanjan said about this method is unsustainable because I do not want to encourage donor fatigue. To mitigate this, I would diversify my funding sources by partnering with HIV organizations, Organic Farms, Malnutrition organizations, and the government. Like case 1 there are many steps at play. First you need to have a community meeting with the store owners and have them understand the problem. Next, you need to explain that this system is a empowers the vendors to make a difference in the next generation. Moreover, you would want to monetize the vouchers and test run this process with a small cohort of people before actually launching it.


By using this solution you ensure the continuity of the cooperation and you gain support from the entire community!



Jack and the Four Hats

In class this week we discussed grassroots diplomacy. One topic that stood out to me was the concept of saving face. This basically means that an individual is trying to lessen the social or political burden that he or she may have faced. Obviously, that did not make sense. Here is an example: In Sierra Leone, we had several issues working with the Health Projects Director of World Hope International. Instead of calling him out and compromising our relationship, we copied his boss on the email! This saved face on both sides. We were able to accomplish our goals while maintaining a friendly relationship with this individual.

This week we focused on a case study around these topics and ethical decision making. Here is the prompt below. I am going to follow the same steps as last week’s blog post.

Step 1: What are the facts and what decision needs to be made?

  • Jack is American
  • Kids are in charge of handing out gifts
  • The staff have not acknowledged the problem, they think it’s a “trivial” matter
  • The 4 kids who received hats are angry at Jack
  • Jack wants the kids to like/trust him
  • Jack will be in Kenya for 5 months
  • Jack works at a youth center working on a social venture
  • The kids think the gifts were from Jack because he was assigned to give them out
  • There weren’t enough gifts for all of the kids
  • The staff members want Jack to solve the “problem”
  • All the gifts were labeled and assigned to the kids

Step 2: Problem and Stakeholders

We know that Jack is an American that is working at a youth center. It can be assumed that he is a volunteer. There are several issues at play here. First, the donor sent gifts for the children but four of them did not receive them as ceremoniously as the other kids. For this reason, they are upset at Jack and he because Jack is working there for five months, he does not want his experience to be made difficult. Second, Jack is both personally and professionally invested in his work at the youth center evidenced by his concern that the children were upset at him and that he was not sure how to proceed with his colleges. Third, Jack’s superiors do not want jack to be a “child rights activist” here and tarnish the reputation of the youth center. They do not see this issue as a problem.

The larger issue at hand is whether or not Jack should do anything about this issue. On one hand, if he does take matters into his own hands he will be looked down upon by his superiors while the kids will be happy. On the other hand, if he does nothing, the kids will be upset while his superiors will continue to think that there is nothing wrong.

I think it is interesting that in both cases, jack wants to “save face” as much as possible. How might he reduce social and political losses? This issue is extremely important to two stakeholders: Jack and the children who received the gifts unceremoniously; this can affect Jack’s ability to perform his job effectively in the next five months.

Step 3: Who are all the key players in this situation and what are their personal and professional motivations?

  1. Jack:
    1. Professional: Jack wants to have a great relationship with the kids that he is working with every day. He is there for five months so he wants to reduce the amount of strife he is faced with each day. Jack wants to also have a good relationship with the staff at the youth center. It is important to him that he is able to effectively do his job without creating a problem within the organization
    2. Personal: Jack feels that he is at the center of the issues that are arising. In the kid’s eyes, he is to blame and in the youth center’s eyes, he is a potential risk. He wants to deescalate the issue before it gets any larger. Jack also wants to be a good person. In his eyes, the children deserve some sort of compensation.
  2. Youth Center:
    1. Professional: They are used to the way things are. They do not see a need for any change to be done. They also blame Jack for creating a larger issue out of nothing and are concerned that he would tarnish the image of the youth center in the long term.
    2. Personal: The youth center did not have any obvious personal motivations other than not creating unnecessary drama.
  3. Children who did not receive their gifts ceremoniously:
    1. Professional: The children do not have any obvious professional motivations. Their main issue is that they wanted to be given the gifts ceremoniously. It did not matter what the gifts were, just the way they were given.
    2. Personal: The children felt wronged by Jack specifically.

Step 4: What are some solutions that could be done? What are the short/long term implications and how does it affect the stakeholder’s relationships?

Solution 1:

  • Using a utilitarian lens, Jack should not do anything at all. Jack has already given these kids hats and if he did anything else, it would show favoritism towards those kids. In this situation, we are trying to maximize the amount of utility or happiness in the long term. The children will forget about not receiving the gift ceremoniously and jack avoids any trouble he may have gotten in while being a whistleblower for a non-issue. Jack will face hardships for the next week with the kids because they will be mad at him. However, that does not outweigh the fact that Jack is also saving face with the youth center staff. He is still looked at favorable by the staff and does not cause any excess issue. In the long term, all stakeholders are happy and Jack should have a positive relationship will all parties at hand. In addition, no extra resources were used in this solution including time which is beneficial both in the short term and long term.

Solution 2

  • Using a deontology lens, Jack should go out of his way to purchase gifts to give to the children and hold a ceremony to deliver these gifts to the four kids who got hats. The children who previously felt left now feel included. This solution has a complex variety of issues at play. First, while the children who got hats originally feel happy the other who did not receive an extra gift may feel bad because they did not get something extra. Second, Jack is using his own time and money to get these gifts and would likely have to disrupt the operations of the youth center to do another ceremony. Third, Jack saves face with the kids who got the new gifts because they trust and appreciate him. He loses face with the staff because he took time out of the already scheduled day to do this and may have created an issue with the other kids at the center. In the short term, the children and Jack are happy while the center is upset at Jack. In the long term, this problem will likely happen again and Jack set himself up for going out and buying more gifts. He also compromised his relationship with the center staff as they did not think this was an issue.

Solution 3

  • Using an absolutism lens, Jack gives the other kids who did not receive gifts leadership roles in the youth center. This makes the kids feel good about Jack and they would not view Jack as badly as before. In this situation, Jack saves face with all parties involved by not escalating the situation with the staff and appeasing the children. The issue with this case is that he does not solve the issue at all. He puts forth more energy to appease the kids with no guarantee that they will be responsive to his efforts. In addition, he may create a sense of mistrust between all children and the staff there.

Step 5: Seek outside help: My group asked Khanjan what he would do and he said that the Utilitarian approach would be the best. We spoke about the need for Jack to understand his role and cultural norms. While he loses some face with the four kids in the short term the other two solutions create precedents that could be maleficent in the long term.

Step 6: Solution 1 is the way to go: Solution 1 provides the most effective solution when understanding cultural practices. In this case, Jack saves face with the staff who are ultimately most important to Jack in the long term. Unfortunately, Jack will have to face strife between these four kids in the short term, they will eventually get over it. It is important to not as seen in my fieldwork experience that there is significant donor fatigue in this space. Sometimes there may be gifts to hand out, sometimes there may not be enough (or any at all). The youth center staff understand this, and Jack does not understand it. By doing nothing he reduces the risk to the children by not building up their expectations in the future and solidifying his relationship with the center staff.


Step 7: Actionable steps: For this solution, Jack does nothing. There are no clear steps other than carrying out his normal day to day tasks.


Lesotho Water- Ethical Decision Making

Greetings loyal blog readers! Hi Mom…. This week as promised, I am going to be discussing a special case study we talked about in the GSIF Seminar. We talked about ethical decision-making strategies and specific steps to take when analyzing cases such as the one below.

Let’s break this down!

Step 1: Determine the facts in the situation– For this step it is extremely important to not only state the facts, but to do so without bias. This helps to make a clear and specific argument about (1) what the ethical issue is and (2) what the information is being used to make a judgment decision.

Facts from the statement above

  1. 10 researchers there for 2 weeks.
  2. publications expected as a deliverable for this study.
  3. The people are there for academic research.
  4. Community members not being paid.
  5. They are looking for a water borne pathogen that is could be found in either main water sources or water storage/collection tanks.
  6. There are multiple places to get water sources
  7. There multiple methods of collection/storage in Lesotho
  8. Another goal for this research is to gather the information needed to create a solution that will clean the water through chemical additives

It is also important to do some background research on the topic—How else can we make an informed decision?

  1. Lesotho is a small country located within the highland region of South Africa.
  2. The highland region is where most of the Southern African countries get their water
    1. This is probably why this research is so important
  3. The World Health Organization has been working on this for the last 60 years. This has been a huge issue in the past and is still a reoccurring problem
  4. The water-borne pathogen as described by the World Health Organization is due to coliforms and E. coli.
    1. If this is the case then it is highly likely that people know their water is “bad” these water-borne pathogens cause cholera and diarrhea.
  5. This research is not actually human subjects research according to IRB it should be exempt.
    1. There is no aspect of this research that includes humans other than asking for directions to a specific location for the water source.
    2. One tricky situation is that if a researcher would want to go into someone’s house and see where they store their water or test it. As long as they are not interviewing the people then there is no human subject research and therefore, it is exempt.
  6. The government is structured similar to that of Sierra Leone or Uganda such that there is a Village, Township, District, and National Government.

Now that we have established the facts both in the prompt and though research what is the ethical issue here?

The researchers want to study the water from locations in and around several communities within the country of Lesotho but they do not know where these sources are. Obviously, the community members do know this information. The researchers expect the community members to take them to the water sources and that is it, end of transaction. The issue here is that (1) should the research even be conducted and (2) if it is conducted should the researchers pay the community members compensation for their help?

I want to make a clear emphasis on what we are doing here. We are NOT re-designing this research. We are simply offering a solution to these two questions through stepwise decision making. This was a confusion in class as we often found ourselves saying things like “if they just did the research this way there would be no issue”.


Step 2: Define the stakeholders/Step 3: Assess the motivations of the stakeholders.

Stakeholder Primary Motive Secondary Motive
1.      Community Members The health and wellbeing of the individual/community Livestock
2.      Government Health and wellbeing of the population Political capital, economic growth, votes
3.      Researchers A desire for success, reach funding goals, personal goals for the project Potentially being played a stipend for the research, resume credit.
4.     Research Funders Quality publications, Impact through understanding what the problem is Quality Data and wanting to “make a change”
5.      Industry Money Long term business


So, there are 5 different types of stakeholders but again, I need to make something clear. Everyone and everything are a stakeholder in this case because it is dealing with WATER! [if you are an IDEAS major you get what I am saying].

Step 4: Formulate an alternative solution- For this step, I chose to analyze this case through the utilitarian lenses where one tries to maximize utility or overall happiness of the populace.

  • I believe that the researchers should conduct their project however in order to appease all stakeholders while collecting quality data they should pay the community members
    1. Researchers will go to the national, regional, district, and local government to seek approval.
    2. Subsequently, the researchers will need to meet with the chiefdom leaders
      • In this meeting, they should explain what they will be doing and ask for a select group of people that would be willing to work with them.
    3. Once they have this group of locals the new team will go to the various water storage facilities and natural sources to conduct their tests.
    4. The researchers should pay each person he or she works with as a compensation. This amount should be negotiated with the chiefdom leader and should be an hourly rate.
    5. Finally, the researchers should send a copy of their findings to the government and community members.
  • On two, four, and five is where the utilitarian approach occurs and answers the question. For step two it is critical that the researchers engage with this stakeholder in order to get the appropriate approvals. In addition, chiefdom leaders are elected officials and their decisions will likely be looked at favorably by the community. Number four articulates that the people who are physically interacting with the researchers should be played. This is critical because they would lose income if they did not get compensated. Number five describes continuity and shows to the community that there was some sort of follow-up to the research.
  • Pros to this approach:
    1. The researchers conduct their project and get local support when doing it.
    2. The community members are happy because they have received compensation (if they were interacted with.
    3. The community members are also happy to see the follow-up on the study because this means that someone is working to help with their water situation.
    4. The government is happy because their name would be attributed to helping their community and they would look more favorably in the next election.
  • Cons to this approach:
    1. We do not actually know whether or not the research findings will be quality.
    2. We do not know if the people will be happy or if the chemical company will actually help them.
    3. Happiness is extremely difficult to quantify so how can one maximize it?

Step 5: additional assistance as appropriate: For this step, we talked in class about the Hippocratic oath, the engineering code of ethics. Both of which say “do no harm”. We also talked through various options weighing the pros and cons of each. I believe that my option would be the best using utilitarian thinking.

Step 6: Select the best course of action: In class, we typically come up with three different options. As you know from reading step 4 my option includes (1) doing the research, (2) paying the community, and (3) great involvement with the community.


Reflections on Fieldwork

I am back stateside and school is in session! This is the start of the third part of my GSIF Journey. Back at school, we are taking the seminar and I cannot wait for the puzzles, case studies, and just getting to work with other teams. Before we dive into this semester let us reflect a bit on fieldwork.

The top three things I learned during my GSIF trip this summer?

  1. One year can drastically change a developing country socially, economically, and enviornmentally.
  2. Supposed Failures can become new opportunities- “backups on backups”.
  3. Leadership is not so much about control as it is more about finding a ballence in your team.

For the first point, I travled to Sierra Leone last summer and returned this past summer for Ukweli Test Strips. Last year things were quite different. The exchange rate was something around 1USD:7600SLL. There was little construction happening. The CHW system was also funded by World Hope International. So what changed? 1) Inflation, there one dollar gives me about 9500 Leones. Inflation occurs more slowly in the States and I was shocked to see that it grew exponentially within the past year. Socially, the CHW system was changed as WHI no longer supports them. Through interviews, I discovered that the national government is adopting the program. Finally, there was so much construction on the roads. Sierra Leone is a quickly changing place and I wonder what it would look like in five years!

To the second point, we did not launch. Our marketing license did not go through. So what do we do? What can we do? We turned this supposed failure into a new opportunity, hiring Hassan to be our messaging employee to “create a demand” for Ukweli.

The last point was especially important for my team and me. Leadership is not always about who is the loudest, the first to say something, or the person doing all of the work. Working as a team requires the individual people to work like gears- interlocked and turning in sync. For example, on Ukweli we have a person for Con-Ops, Marketing/Messaging, Quality Control, Administration/Finance, and obtaining our license. If we did not have this fieldwork would have been a disaster.

How did fieldwork facilitate professional development?

  1. Working with negative attitudes.
  2. Seperating the personal from the professional.
  3. Responsibility is tough but rewarding.

One of my biggest challenges during fieldwork was working with negative people. (forgive me this might sound pretty hippy-esc) If you come in with negative energy and hold it close then all you will be giving to others is negative energy. I firmly believe that if you go into a situation with conviction and optimism then you are more inclined to see opportunities for success, no matter how crappy the present seems to be. This first point ties closely with the second as I want to be friends with my team but it is extremely hard when you are with them 24/7 and the professional/social environments become so mixed. Finally Responsibility. This time around I was tasked with managing the logistics for the fieldwork. This was no easy task and people really did not like me for a while. Looking back on it I started hating the extra responsibilities that I had but now I am so glad that I had them. These kinds of opportunities allow me to gain more unique skills, learn more, and do more. I will definitely jump on these kinds of odd jobs in the future.

How did I grow personally? 

  1. You cannot be friends with everyone.
  2. Curb your expectations
  3. Realization that this is what I want to do with my life!!!

Okay, so it is no secret that there were 24+ unique people on this trip. At first, I thought how nice it would be if we were all buddy-buddy and got stuff done while being close friends. The reality is that we all come to fieldwork with unique backgrounds and attitudes that sometimes do not align with my own. This does not mean that because of that I cannot be social with them. I just do not get along with them. That is fine. As long as we can help each other get stuff done in a meaningful and productive way, I think we will all be happy. Finally, I realized sometime during fieldwork that this is my calling. I work well in lower resource settings where its all about quick thinking, pivoting and results-driven work.


That’s all for now. Stay tuned, next week I will be writing about a special case study!