Ethics and Safety Guide

The Ethics and Safety Guide contains guidance and best practices for conducting safe and ethical field testing of innovative sanitation technologies, including topics such as gaining informed consent, working with Institutional Review Boards, and ensuring workforce safety.
April 2016
Kenneth Perry
Guidance Document

Whether testing technologies in the field or collecting information about and with users, we adhere to the highest ethical standards and ensure compliance with local rules and regulations. Ethical action and regulatory compliance are the guardrails within which successful projects operate. Accordingly, STeP is committed to ethical conduct, adherence to local and national regulations, and complying with the rules and guidance of implementing and partner organizations.

Regulations and standards that apply to field testing activities for new sanitation technologies cross multiple national, subnational, and organizational boundaries, highlighting the critical role that they play while underscoring the need for project-level investment. By following regulations, standards and good ethical practices, teams not only meet contractual obligations, but they ensure that people, property, and information are protected, risks are appropriately managed, consent is acquired, and customs and cultures are respected. As a result, trust with partners is developed and relationships are strengthened, further increasing the probability of project success.

In light of this, the purpose of the Ethics and Safety Manual is to share STeP learnings with partners of the Foundation, to support them as they manage field testing activities of their own and to promote good ethical practice among all stakeholders.

Key Topics

We structured the manual according to the following categories:

  1. Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  2. Informed Consent
  3. Regulations and Permissions
  4. Standards
  5. Field Testing Safety

Broad in design, the manual does not necessarily provide step by step instructions, nor is it intended to be proscriptive, but it does provide a framework and instructions for Partners to consider. The guidance extends beyond the technological specifications or geographic location of testing and links with, or points to, other STeP resources to ensure that partners are equipped with an informational toolkit essential for success when testing new sanitation technologies in the field.

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