Ethics has been an important part of activities in Cape Town Project Centre for many years. Most projects work closely with local communities and involve human subjects, therefore, teams may face ethical dilemmas during their work. The information revealed may negatively impact volunteers’ lives, leading to obstacles for future teams working in the community. To address these ethical issues, we always followed the general principles: beneficence, justice, and respect.  All the activities are volunteer based, so anyone we interact with can elect to stop at any point if the situation makes them feel uncomfortable. We also got their approval before we began recording, including but not limited to audio and visual recording methods. Additionally, we went through Informed Consent with the volunteers to confirm their understanding of how the personal information they provide would be used and that they could withdraw themselves from the project at any time.

One of our research subjects was community members. We planned to conduct interviews in the community to gather more information about their energy usage. To avoid conflict and protect the interviewees, we explicitly informed them how their data would be used and what would be published. Also, we went through the questions one by one and asked them the comfort level of publishing the data to avoid misunderstanding. We made ourselves aware of the situations that can damage the confidentiality, specifically with illegal methods of obtaining electricity, and made every effort to find an isolated location to ensure the interviews are private.

Moreover, we cooperated with crèche leaders because they were possible distributors. While working with them, we needed to indicate the potential risks: disturbing their established business and interacting with the children as parents may feel uncomfortable with us being there during the day as it may harm the trust between the crèche and the parents of the students. Indicating these issues with the crèche leaders allowed us to get insights of the local business from other aspects; therefore, we  found a way to improve and adapt the system.

Lastly, we worked closely with product distributors throughout the project to supply the inventory for the business we created. We were cautious of the business model we developed as it could create a competing market. To prevent any infringement on the distributor’s business, we carefully considered the selling price. Therefore, we collaborated with the distributor to agree on a price for the crèche leaders to purchase the inventory and to sell the products to the community.