Ethical Considerations

 Working with community members in informal settlements involves ethical issues that arise from different cultures, backgrounds, resources and social dynamics. When outsiders, such as ourselves, come into marginalized communities, we may unconsciously bring with us a position of power in relation to the local community based on preconceived notions about and reflecting the history of class, race, and other relationships (Driskel, 2002, p. 91). Factors such as these should be considered while interacting with those in the informal settlement, and the following reflects some of the thinking we did before engaging in K2.

The team must reflect on how we relate with, community members, and organizations so that we ensure that everyone is seen as an equal participant in this project. Our team aims to cooperate with all stakeholders to establish ground rules for the project, define basic rights and responsibilities, agree on the best ways to ensure open communication, and identify ways to avoid and address malfunctioning or inappropriate relationships. The team utilized the following ethical themes throughout the project:


Establish a clear policy regarding confidentiality and communicate that policy community members. Establish and define the confidentiality policy for this project with the community members. The policy is flexible to anyone who wants to change their mind at any point in the process and retract information they give us if they no longer wish for it to be public.


Establish open, honest communication with the K2 community members, CORC, ISN and all other participants. Endeavour to give residents full, clear and accurate information on planning issues and the ability to have a significant role in the development of plans and programmes. Everyone should understand what is being done and why it is being done. There are to be no hidden agendas or ulterior motives from any stakeholder. The team should facilitate discussion and open communication to ensure everyone feels comfortable to express their opinions, ideas, and concerns. The team should assist in the clarification of community objectives, intentions and policies in plan-making


Establish the definition of the project as empowering the community to be more active in upgrading by creating communal areas. The team knows that we need to focus on what the community wants to do. We should not try to influence their decisions in a direction that they do not want to go in. This principle encourages us to keep ourselves honest in terms of our motivations and rewards. We will not be looking for the glory of improving the community, we support the community members in their decisions.


Establish a working relationship with all stakeholders based on respect. We should respect the rights and responsibilities of all stakeholders including their commitments and responsibilities. We understand that each person is free to make his or her own decision about how much time they are willing to commit to the project.

Duty of Care

Establish the idea that community members should take the lead in the duration of the project and in further steps. This means that we should hold paramount their decisions and actions even though we may have had the resources to help, we should let them take the lead to execute their program/project. The team recognizes that we could do more harm than good in intervening in some situations which is why we should take the role of facilitators rather than leaders.


Establish a relationship based on cooperation with the community members, and CORC to come up with a program that is best suited for everyone. We will work with CORC to create an environment where people feel safe expressing both positive and negative feedback about the project and those involved in it. Grievances are to be dealt with seriously and resolved promptly. By providing group opportunity for learning and sharing, the team will involve the community members in discussions regarding ethical issues.


Establish that the team remain impartial through this process. We should share our opinions but remember that what the community wants is the first priority. We should not try to push them in a direction that they do not want to go, because if they do not support the project, it will not be sustained after we leave.


Establish a plan to keep up to date with all relevant material pertaining to the project. We should ensure that all stakeholders have access to these materials. We should also be proactive in search of any new information that may deem relevant/helpful to the project.