In trying to address this issue a good start would be to understand that meaning assigned to the word Ethics.

The meaning I assign to the word Ethics is derived from the African ideology/philosophy of Ubuntu which is about how people relate to one another, look out for one another and a general acceptance that everybody matters. Iam becuase you are!

That being the case, the ethical thing to do whilst designing development programmes is to make them inclusive from the word go!

This means that you take time to understand the people in the community you intend to work, understand their culture, the importance they assign to things and people in their lives, environment etc

You must establish what their priorities are and if they don’t tie in what you have in mind be prepared to change/adapt yours, after all you would not sell Aspirin to some that wasn’t in pain or had no use for it

What if anything have to community done to address these priorities?

What challenges face these communities, in otherwords if whatever you are offering is a priority for the community, why hasn’t it been addressed

It is important to be open and sincere with the people.

Be prepared to learn from them after all you are their beat and they know it better than you do.

IMHO development programmes are not that different from projects elsewhere in the world and the basic reasons they fail is due to poor design and by this I mean the people/end users were left out of the planning stage.

We have several examples of this in Europe, Public Housing design, the Elephant and Castle, the Millenium Dom etc

The Ethical thing to do therefore is to have due regard for communities and not seek ” to do things” to them because we believe this is what they need!

Remember unless they have said so programmes will not be sustainable due to lack of ownership which comes from being included!

Your views please

Strange question you might think  and like my friend Margs you would probably think I have lost the plot, her answer to this question was “I would make a beef Casserole”!!

But when Helen Kongai a woman  in a remote African village in Easterrn Uganda it literary changed her life.  Helen’s story is typical of a lot of women that escaped the war in nothern Uganda, with her husband, mother and son dead, Helen  faced a bleak life until the charity SEND A COW came to her rescue by giving her a cow.

I listened to Helen’s story on BBC Radio 4 with great interest. her story should give some comfort to those who support the charity SEND   A COW as they can hear first hand the impact of their contributions on other’s lives. The reason this story interests me is two fold, I am a great believer in “giving people the tools to face day to day challenges” or helping them help themselves out of poverty.

Helen said something that resoanted with me: in certain parts of Africa women are still treated as personal property of men. This might mean   when the husband dies  the woman’s  place in society may die with that man or that as in Helen’s case she loses her material possesions since her inlaws may not regonise her as a person in her own right.

Projects such as SEND A COW or ETHNIC SUPPLIES LTDgive such women a sense of identity, the right to be who they want to be, a chance to earn an income using their skills and best of all diginity. 

Helen was given a voice and a chance to share her story and in her own words and incredibly she does not ask for more AID. Helen is currently touring UK farms and is sharing her skills on sustainable farming in the light of increased climate change

If you would like to change people’s lives, the way that Helen’s life was changed please get in touch http://www.ethnicsupplies.co.uk/contact/