Ethical Considerations

The team had to consider several ethical issues as we completed this project. First, since we were in a different country, the cultural difference needed to be considered. The team needed to try to get an understanding of the South African culture in order to be as inoffensive as possible throughout our time here. The team also tried not to force our student driven, fast paced mindset onto participants, which could have alienated us from the community and prevented us from establishing and building essential relationships. The team was careful to try and not overstep any boundaries. Some issues arose in our interactions with the CECD. We neglected to initially thank them in their assistance at the Universal Children’s Day Party, causing Sarah to speak with us. Although we thanked her and the CECD promptly and deeply after she spoke with us, our lapse in this important cultural practice did raise some offense.

As part of the project process, the team submitted an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application. This application included the team’s project mission, objectives, interview questions, and the plan for our time in Cape Town. This form made the team aware of the confidentiality and privacy agreements for all participants that agreed to be a part of our project.

Any interviews that were conducted were in a safe, confidential, and private setting where the interviewee was comfortable. All participants were informed of what our project entailed and what their part in the project was. All participants also knew what the team would do with the information they gave us and where we would reference it (in our proposal, website, etc.)

Some interview topics may have been sensitive to participants, as they talked about abandonment, poverty, financial situation, and family. We attempted to word our questions carefully to avoid offending interviewees on emotional subjects. Participants were aware that they had the right to skip any questions or stop the interview at any time. They also had the right to change their mind about participating and could choose at any time to revoke their statement. Written or oral consent from participants were needed in order to take pictures or videos of individuals, especially from the parents of the children.

All parents were informed about the project and their child’s part in it and had the right to keep their child from participating. Children needed to be comfortable speaking with the team and not overwhelmed. The child’s best interest was kept in mind at all times. All participants were treated with respect and were free to share their opinions and experience. Our team worked hard to keep an open mind and establish a judgment free environment.