Hi, everyone.

I am running into this dilemma, and I would appreciate any advice you can provide. I apologize for the specific nature of the question, but I think the principle is applicable to any international effort for social research involving children.

I work for a new charity based in the US that will be grants to individuals and organizations to, among other things, research non-institutional child care in India. While developing our policies, I was dismayed to find out that there is no mandate for an independent ethics review on social research in India. I recognize it would be unethical on my organization’s part as the funder to mandate grantees act counter to the local customs and ethical standards, but the guidelines from the Indian government are generally in alignment with international standards — the difference is that a lack of formalized oversight effectively makes compliance voluntary.

Given the particularly vulnerable nature of the population we hope to serve (orphaned and at-risk children), is it a step too far to require potential grantees (including NGOs) to receive some sort of ERB/IRB approval of their study protocol as a condition of funding?

Thanks, everyone.