Judgment under uncertainty: A probabilistic evaluation framework for decision-making about sanitation systems in low-income countries

Shirin Malekpour, Jeroen Langeveld, Sammy Letema, François H. Clemens, Jules B. van Lier

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces the probabilistic evaluation framework, to enable transparent and objective decision-making in technology selection for sanitation solutions in low-income countries. The probabilistic framework recognizes the often poor quality of the available data for evaluations. Within this framework, the evaluations will be done based on the probabilities that the expected outcomes occur in practice, considering the uncertainties in evaluation parameters. Consequently, the outcome of evaluations will not be single point estimates; but there exists a range of possible outcomes. A first trial application of this framework for evaluation of sanitation options in the Nyalenda settlement in Kisumu, Kenya, showed how the range of values that an evaluation parameter may obtain in practice would influence the evaluation outcomes. In addition, as the probabilistic evaluation requires various site-specific data, sensitivity analysis was performed to determine the influence of each data set quality on the evaluation outcomes. Based on that, data collection activities could be (re)directed, in a trade-off between the required investments in those activities and the resolution of the decisions that are to be made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-114
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision-making
  • Low-income country
  • Probabilistic evaluation
  • Sanitation
  • Uncertainty

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