About FSMA’s Closure

FSMA was unable to develop a sustainable organisational financial model for a membership-based network to support our ongoing operating and programme costs. As a result, we had a gap in funding to further convene, champion, and collaborate within the WASH sector.

The sector has changed since we opened our doors, and so has the funding landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about changing funding priorities from organisations sitting in high-income countries to organisations working on the ground in low- and middle-income countries. Funding that focuses more on direct investments to regional grantees will better support local FSM networks and sanitation service providers.

Additionally, the WASH sector learned that FSM didn’t address all the problems to ensure universal access to sanitation, and efforts are needed to support the last mile- regardless of the sanitation systems used. While FSM still needs a platform for discussion, a new, more inclusive path to safely managed sanitation for all is opening up, one that incorporates all technologies and advocates for the professionalisation and dignity of sanitation workers of all kinds.

FSMA’s objective has always been to champion truly inclusive sanitation. When we started, faecal sludge management- both the technology and its professionals- didn’t have a voice in the sanitation conversation. Our goal was to raise the profile of FSM and marginalised sanitation workers to achieve safely managed sanitation for all. FSMA is giving way to a future where the sanitation sector is inherently inclusive, and donors prioritise support for locally-based sanitation networks, providers, and professionals.

FSMA will undertake the process of winding down in stages to ensure a smooth transition for our members, stakeholders, and most importantly, our staff. We will completely close by the end of November 2024.

FSMA wanted to share this news with our members and closest partners first. A public announcement will be made at the end of April and will be published on our website, social media, and via our newsletter. Additionally, we will host a webinar later in the year to share our full plans for knowledge transfer once those details have been finalised.

FSMA champions and advocates for sanitation workers and local solutions in low- and middle-income countries. We broadly support the Shift the Power movement in sanitation and international development. As the funding landscape changes, we support the voices calling for direct investments in local solutions, networks, and organisations in the Global South. In line with this, FSMA is in the process of identifying organisations that closely align with our values to receive our remaining funds to continue promoting next-generation sanitation.

According to a JMP report (2022), more than 3 billion people rely on non-sewered sanitation globally, including faecal sludge management (FSM). Although many urban areas worldwide are making progress in safely managed sanitation by expanding sewerage networks, more than 1 billion people currently live in informal settlements in and around cities with little to no access to sanitation services, forcing people to defecate outside. FSM remains a viable and necessary form of sanitation in urban areas where growth rates outpace sewer connections or aren’t suitable for centralised wastewater systems.

FSMA works directly with our funders, contractors, and Dutch regulatory systems to ensure that our wind-down complies with all legal requirements and respects our contractual obligations.

FSMA will delete all membership data and contacts in our internal files as compliance requirements with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Stakeholders and members should look for invitations to a Q&A session with FSMA’s executive director and board members in April.

FSMA is not directly connected to other formal FSM networks like NFSSM in India. Therefore, it should not affect those networks. We’re identifying the best way to transition the in-country networks FSMA has contributed to building, such as in Indonesia and South Africa. We are working with our team members in other countries to ensure that any networks developed are provided with resources and opportunities within our current resources.

While FSMA will legally dissolve at the end of November 2024, we do not plan on continuing work in another form. We encourage FSM and sanitation professionals to connect with other networks working on FSM, such as:

We also encourage interested professionals to continue organising some of the work we started, such as the monthly webinar series.

Due to our closure, FSMA will not be involved with planning FSM8. Currently, there are no plans for a new organisation to take over planning FSM8 or the FSM conference series.

FSMA is happy that other organisations (or individuals) would like to organise the FSM Conference independently. Though we won’t be involved with planning, we fully support any effort in continuing the event.

Next Steps for FSMA’s Operations and Programs

FSMA will preserve its knowledge, resources, and learnings and remain accessible after it winds down. We’re in the process of identifying the best home for our work products and resources.

Reports and related materials from the International Faecal Sludge Management Conference series will be available from the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA).

Our collaborative photo story on FSM workers in Zambia, “The Heroes Behind Sanitation”, is available from BORDA.

We are in the process of identifying the best host for FSMA’s Toolbox.

FSMA’s YouTube channel will remain accessible, hosting the webinars and Spotlights series. The “FSMA Presents” podcast will continue to be accessible through Soundcloud.

We will host the website as an archive that will be transferred to a partner organisation. We are reviewing the best method for archiving our digital assets and will share updates once our plans are finalised.

You can still reach us by email at [email protected] or by leaving a message on our website until November 2024. Messages will not be received after that time.