FSMA's Legacy

What are FSMA’s lasting contributions to the sanitation sector's overall growth and improvement?

When we began our journey, we were a group of practitioners and researchers interested in progressing FSM in the WASH sector’s agenda. Back then, FSM didn’t have a voice. Many people preferred not to discuss this important challenge, and FSM workers sat at the margins of the sanitation workforce.

We have tackled the challenge of raising FSM visibility through multiple avenues. We are proud to have helped bring FSM into the broader conversation about inclusive, safely managed sanitation for all. Margaret Maina, a utility leader from Kenya, has shared that, “FSMA changed the sanitation story in Africa. Now, we have a different mindset from what we have that has changed how our utilities work.”

FSM Conferences

Since 2017, we have supported the International Faecal Sludge Management Conference series, providing a platform for FSM service providers, workers, and stakeholders to build supportive networks for sharing knowledge and resources. We have been excited to watch this conference grow in attendance and visibility. Materials from these conferences can be found on SuSanA’s website.

We are especially proud to have partnered with many organisations to host FSM conferences over the years, including the African Water and Sanitation Association (AfWASA), African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), USAID, Kementerian Pekerjaan Umum dan Perumahan Rakyat, Kementerian PPN/Bappenas, Paljaya, and Société de Distribution d’Eau de Côte d’Ivoire (SODECI), (Container-Based Sanitation Association) CBSA, and Pan-African Association of Sanitation Actors (PASA). 


Our joint event with AfWASA in 2023 brought together more than 1000 delegates and 2500 visitors to discuss critical issues such as increasing representation of diverse voices and uniting the WASH sectors for sustainable progress on SDG6. A hugely significant outcome of this event was the Ministerial signing of the “Abidjan Declaration for a sustainable management of resources and access for all to water and sanitation in Africa”. This Declaration advocates for the international community to consider water and sanitation as elements of a single right and ensure sustainable financing of water and sanitation services, signalling high-level support for increased attention on sanitation.

FSMA has used the momentum of these conferences to create further opportunities for sharing knowledge, resources and expertise between organisations and individual members working in FSM.


Originating in FSM6 as a conference-side session, we created an ongoing Spotlight technical webinar series that would keep the WASH sector updated with the most recent news. This covered the latest tools, best practices, research, and general updates in the FSM sector, with topics as diverse as financing for sanitation technologies, climate-smart sanitation, pit-emptying technologies, and empowering youth. Check out the case studies from Nepal, Vietnam, South Africa, Indonesia, Uganda, and Burkina Faso.

FSMA Presents

We also created a podcast series entitled “FSMA Presents”. Along with our quarterly magazine, this podcast created a new platform and medium to discuss and explore unique stories, knowledge and perspectives related to FSM.

Emptying Challenges

FSMA hosted four “World Emptying Challenge” events in South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, and Senegal. These challenges served as platforms for pit emptiers worldwide to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a simulated sanitation service-chain setting. The challenges feature various steps of the emptying process, including PPE usage, pit cleaning, disposal/reuse methods, and teamwork. The events facilitated knowledge exchange and innovation among pit emptiers, promoting best practices and standardisation in the field of city-wide inclusive sanitation. By organising these events across different countries, FSMA contributed to improving service delivery and safety standards in the pit-emptying sector on a global scale. Videos from the 2021 challenge in Zambia can be found on our YouTube channel.

FSM Toolbox

We inherited the web-based FSM Toolbox from a consortium of organisations through support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since managing the FSM Toolbox, we have helped thousands of practitioners determine the best FSM plan for their cities. This included assessment tools, a planning toolkit, and nearly 1500 resources from 25 countries on FSM-related topics. The Asian Institute of Technology created the Toolbox, and it evolved with valuable contributions, inputs, and feedback from various organisations such as CEPT University, CSTEP, and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. Before FSMA, Athena Infonomics led the latest upgrade with support and inputs from a network of partners (CDD Society, Emanti Management Consultants, Asian Institute of Technology, Cabinet EDE, AFWA and IWMI) and experts (Dr. Shirish Singh, Dorai Narayan, Dave Robbins, Sujaya Rathi, Isabel Blackett, Peter Hawkins and Mingma Sherpa).

Additionally, FSMA received grant funding to advocate for next-generation sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa and Indonesia. Our programming in our Non-Sewered Sanitation Liaison Program was aimed at local governments, real estate developers, and the tourism industry to provide education on the alternative options to a conventional sewer system.

Will any final reports or publications be released to summarise FSMA's impact and learnings?

We are planning a webinar for September to discuss our lessons learned and impact, which will follow with a briefing note for sharing. Stay tuned for more details!