FSM Skills Challenge at the 9th World Water Forum 2022 in Dakar, Senegal (March 24, 2022)

Together with partners from CAWST and SuSanA, FSMA organised an FSM Skills Challenge in the Forum’s Sanitation Innovation Village. Members of the Pan African Association of Sanitation Actors (PASA) participated in the challenge to showcase their unique skillsets.

The purpose of these FSM showcases, which had been initiated in the context of the International FSM Conference series, is to help elevate the profile and visibility of the pit latrine emptying profession. To raise awareness of safe, effective and efficient FSM practices and techniques and to instill a sense of recognition, motivation and empowerment in competitors, while recognizing the vital role that emptiers play in city-wide inclusive sanitation (CWIS).

At the FSM Skills Challenge in Dakar six teams with three participants per team entered the competition, which involved emptying a (simulated) pit-latrine using a “gulper”, a manually operated pump for emptying wet pit latrines, and transporting the (fake) sludge back to the starting point. Apart from handling solid waste and navigating physical obstacles on the way, competitors also needed to deal with sensible social situations like displeased customers or police roadblocks.

The performances were judged in the following categories:

  • Cleanliness (“least spillage”)
  • Customer Service
  • Completeness (“how empty was the pit”)
  • Teamwork
  • Safety and Hygiene

FSMA sponsored cash prices for the winners of each category as well as for the overall winning team. In addition, PASA president Ibra Sow contributed additional prices in the form of various sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the winners to take home. While the approaches to mastering the challenge were as diverse as the participants’ nationalities, each team put in a brilliant effort and was able to secure a price, which made the award ceremony a particularly joyful moment and a brilliant ending to an exciting week which also saw the foundations laid for further collaboration between PASA and FSMA.

More on gulpers:

The two gulpers used in the competition were produced by local craftsmen within just a few days before the conference. They were on display at the FSMA booth throughout the week and several interested passers-by tried their luck using them. More information on the gulper, including links to open source technical drawings can be found in our Practical Guide to Available Pit-Emptying Technologies (p. 21)