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 has the community done to address these priorities?
What challenges face these communities, in other words 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 on their beat and they know it better than you do.
In My Humble Opinion 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. I do wonder whether any lessons if at all are taken away from these programmes or whether we simply export them wholesale to developing regions
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