This week there was a case study about malnourished children. About 35% of kids are malnourished because they are fed gruel when trying to ween them off breastfeeding. The parents of the children think the gruel is effective but it is not. There is also the problem the HIV/AIDS is very prevalent in this region and the more breastfeeding done, the higher chances that it is transferred to the child. There is also the problem that not much testing is done, the known rates are probably lower than the actual one. A grant was just received to solve this problem by getting crops to make a nutrient based pudding. 500 women are willing to help and make a cooperative. The problem is that the crops can have pesticides on them which would give adverse effects to the kids. The women are skeptical of this method because they believe the gruel works. So the ethical decision that needs to be made is let the kids breastfeed and possibly get HIV/AIDS or create a porridge that could have pesticides. There might be other options that will be explored in the rest of this post.
There are many stakeholders each with professional and personal motivations. The mothers want to find an effective solution that will stop kids from getting HIV/AIDS but also keep kids nutritious but they also want their kids to be healthy and safe and believe that what they are doing is already correct. The women’s coop has the professional motivation of a positive impact and has the personal motivation of bringing a stable income home. The innovators have the professional motivation of wanting to make a safe environment for kids and empower women and the personal motivation of this is to get recognized for their work. The local government has a professional motivation of wanting the economy to grow and a personal motivation of wanting a better standard of living for its people. The local farmers have motivations to make money if their food is used for the gruel and lose money if it is not.
The utilitarian solution to this problem is to give the kids porridge and forget about the pesticides for the time being. AIDS/HIV is a larger threat to the children than most things that could be encountered through the produce so worrying about that is more important. The pros of this approach is that the kids are much less likely to HIV/AIDS and they will be nourished from the porridge. The con of this approach is that the children might be poisoned and have long term side effects from the pesticides used to keep bugs off the crops.
The deontological approach is that the porridge should be made with food from farms that don’t use pesticide. The pros of this approach is that there is little to no danger of the children getting poisoned and the chance of them contracting HIV/AIDS is decreased by a lot. The con of this plan is that it would cost a lot of money in order to get this kind of food. It would most likely not be found in the village that the work is being done in and would have to be shipped into the village. This would extra costs of labor and transportation.
The final, and virtue based, approach is to start a farm in which the 500 coop women are paid to farm pesticide free cash crops in order to make the pudding. The pros of this approach is that the women are paid allowing them a disposable income, the babies are given the proper nutrients and the coop flourishes. The cons is that many women do not know how to farm and this could be culturally insensitive to the men in this area if it is tradition that the women do not work. This could cause problems in the household for many of the women there.
I believe that the final solution is the best but there would have to be a lot of work done in order to make it happen. There would have to be a large purchase of land, farming equipment, and teachers who would educate the women on how to grow cash crops. Thankfully most of the crops that will be grown are simple to farm and grow in most conditions. There might also be the problem of a loss of crops due to the lack of pesticide.
The second part of this case study involves working with the women after the coop has been formed. In this part of the study, the coop is thriving and the women are making good money. The crops are sold at the market rate and the women are happy and have a sense of community and identity. The problem is that the income that these women are making is still not going towards feeding the family, the men of the household are taking the money and spending it on alcohol. You are on a committee for the coop but you will soon be leaving so policy changes need to happen fast. The women are not opposed to the men taking the money, they just wish more of it was spent on the kids and not on frivolous things. The local women believe that nothing can be done. The ethical issue is who decides how the money should be spent and how can the twin social outcomes of empowering the women and nourishing the children be met. The stakeholders in this situation are the same with similar motivations other than the men. They probably do not want their money to go away. They most likely also want to keep gender social norms so that they are the head of the household.
The first solution is to exchange part of the pay the women are getting with nutritious pudding so that the men can still take a share while the child is still getting the nutrition that it needs. This could work because the men are given money and the women are able the feed their children. The con is that the men might be upset that they are getting a smaller amount of money now and might take it out on the woman of the house. This could lead to domestic disputes.
A second solution is to find jobs for the men outside of the coop that directly help the coop, like distribution or stand worker. This could help as it gives the men a source of income that he can spend on anything while the woman is given her proper salary and is able to feed her family. The con to this, is that the man still might take the money and continue to use it on frivolous things. This could lead to problems due to the fact that now he has more money to spend.
The final option is to keep part of the payment for the women and create a system similar to a savings account. The women are able to deposit and withdraw parts of their payments as time goes on. This would give the women more control over how the money is spent because they decide when the money is coming in. This could empower the women to take control of their households. This could also upset the men as they would not have the power anymore and that could lead to problems in the household and domestic disputes.
I believe that the best solutions is to give the women part of their payment in the form of food. This would put the blame on the coop rules as a whole and not the woman herself, making the man less likely to get angry. This would also still give the man some money to use. The child would be nourished as well.