Development ethics: talking to recipients of development funds about vulnerability and human dignity
Mooka, John Mary Kamweri
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The often deplorable stories of corruption, lack of transparency and accountability, raises concern that the ethical foundation for the global development initiative is yet to resonate with some recipients of development funds in Uganda and elsewhere. Ethicists consider the notion of social justice as the appropriate category for articulating the moral demands of promoting development in resource-poor countries. The social justice approach entails acknowledgement of the inviolable dignity and inherent value of a human person. The language of vulnerability is often used in reference to the need to provide those in less developed countries with adequate support for socio-economic development, so as to enhance individual freedoms and dignity. This endeavor draws support from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that regards the principle of human dignity as foundational for freedom, peace, and justice in the human family. However, there is no clear mechanism for relaying this moral discourse to recipients of development funds in rural communities in Uganda. Too often this gap is filled in by human rights activist who are at times prone to human rights reductionism. To maintain high ethical standards a new approach necessitates the articulation of a set of UNESCO’s bioethics principles that include human dignity, respect for human vulnerability and personal integrity, solidarity and cooperation, autonomy and individual responsibility. This presentation demonstrates a strategy of using workshops in rural communities to specify and analyze the substantive and procedure issues involved in the ethical principles that are relevant to socio-economic development.