Worldwide, over 2 billion people rely on on-site sanitation. Most households do not empty their septic tanks regularly or safely. When they do, the waste gets dumped into the environment, thus not managing or treating faecal sludge properly. Various sustainable solutions that address this issue were discussed at the 4th Faecal Sludge Management conference that was held in Chennai, India from 19 to 23 February.
SNV's Urban Sanitation & Hygiene for Health and Development product addresses the reality that for the vast majority of cities and towns in developing countries, wastewater and human waste end up untreated back in the living environment. Our work includes the setting-up of facilities and services for waste management through collaboration between the public and private sectors and communities. We work with city authorities to develop business and financial models to address coverage, services and treatment needs, linking where possible to re-use. We work on city-wide coverage, with specific models for vulnerable areas, and include health and safety, regulation and enforcement issues.
Through our urban sanitation & hygiene programme in Bangladesh, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK DFID, we have developed and are currently piloting city-wide sanitation service delivery models for urban centres in Bangladesh, directly improving environmental health and the well-being of the population. We are also testing how integration of business models contributes to achieve city-wide delivery faster and how to ensure that sanitation solutions are inclusive, benefitting poor households and workers and not only wealthier neighbours.
Several SNV colleagues shared their knowledge and experience in urban sanitation & hygiene during the conference. Rajeev Munankami (Senior Advisor) presented lessons learned on faecal sludge treatment plants over passive landfill sites. Antoinette Kome (Global Sector Coordinator WASH) facilitated a workshop on the FSM Toolbox that is jointly being developed by AIT, CSTEP and CEPT. Rajeev and Shahidul Islam (Governance Advisor) explained how they are working on establishing performance standards for public toilets, since different parties are now constructing them without proper regulations in place. Mahbuba Islam (Programme Officer) talked about FSM result and value chains, and monitoring & evaluation frameworks.
Bangladesh FSM Network members were also present, showcasing the initiatives that are being undertaken in Bangladesh. People could directly speak with local government representatives who are currently leading FSM initiatives in different towns in Southern Bangladesh. If you want to know more on that topic, you can also read up on the workshop proceedings from the FSM Network convention held in December 2016.
The FSM conference is a global platform created in 2011 by leading global sector organizations to share and brainstorm about potential solutions, to formulate policy recommendations that promote best practices, and to identify lessons learned in how to make FSM an integral part of sanitation service delivery. FSM4 brought together professionals working in the water and sanitation sector (including utilities, service providers, cities, governments, academics, scientists, donors and industries) to support the global initiative of disseminating sustainable solutions for FSM.