Risk Management in a Developing Country Context: Improving Decisions About Point-of-Use Water Treatment Among the Rural Poor in Africa

By August 29, 2011Library

In developing communities, when goodwill and collaboration are not enough, what next?

A philanthropist approached a team of scientists with a problem: At a time when more than 1 billion people—the vast majority of which live in the developing world—lack basic access to clean water for domestic use, how can people with the willingness and resources to make a difference help?  In their response to the problem, Joe Árvai recognized that the bottleneck wasn’t the absence of water treatment options; it was the absence of a bottom-up framework that could help people in developing communities identify the options that would work best for them. So, rather than taking solutions as the starting point, Árvai and his team started with local values.

Working on the ground throughout Tanzania, with contacts in rural villages, they developed an interactive and intuitive decision-making framework that local people could easily learn and use—even when development workers left the area—to identify the most locally appropriate point-of-use water treatment systems given the community’s values, needs, and constraints.  Árvai, a decision scientist within the Erb Institute, drew on concepts from his research on the triple-bottom-line to develop the framework which now serves as a model for communities around the world.

Read the article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01675.x/full