FSM Skills

An important part of our work is collaborating with pit-emptiers. Since they are the direct implementers of city-wide inclusive sanitation (which includes FSM), we believe in working with them to understand how to better improve service delivery, especially when it comes to their safety.

Pit emptying is a technical skill. In many countries, pit-emptying is not formalized in the job sector, which makes it hard to regulate the services they provide. 

In an effort to help formalize the job, FSM Skills was formed to provide training and a space where emptiers could speak to each other about their work. We supported a workshop where different emptying associations in Zambia were brought together for training.  

A branch of FSM Skills are the well-known ‘Emptying Challenges’, with the first one held at FSM5 in Cape Town, South Africa 2019.  In the challenge,  emptying professionals from around the world show their daily work in a simulated sanitation service-chain setting whereby every step- from collection to delivery is carried out in the safest most efficient way. 

Teams of emptiers  show these various steps of their emptying process:

● PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) 
● Emptying of the pit/septic tank
● Cleaning up
● Disposal/Reuse
● Teamwork

The teams are judged by a panel of experts and scored against a matrix based on the processes mentioned above. 

There have been 4 in-person challenges to date, see photos from each event below!

The global COVID-19 pandemic, both the FSM6 conference and the emptying challenge had to be moved online. With the help of our dedicated team, led by Eva Mary, Adrian Hodgson, and Andy Murfitt –  we were able to move the challenge online to create the World Emptying Challenge. Emptiers from around the world were asked to send video submissions of what emptying looks like on a daily basis. We had 23 videos from 10 countries, showing us the varying conditions and techniques for pit emptying. 

Heroes Behind Sanitation- Photostory

This photo story captures the working process of a small group of pit emptiers and service providers from public utilities in Zambia, highlighting their lives, ordeals, opinions and dreams, the people they serve, and the unserved.

The photo story is the result of contributions from the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO), Lusaka Water and Sanitation Company (LWSC), Chazanga Water Trust, Lusaka City Council (LCC) and Chambeshi Water Supply and Sanitation Company. 

FSMA, along with GIZ Zambia, WSUP Zambia  and BORDA Zambia supported this publication which can be downloaded below. 

A collection of photos of each FSM Skills challenges and workshops
South Africa- 2019 (FSM5-AfricaSan Conference) 
Zambia 2019
Uganda 2020- AfWA Congress 
Senegal 2022- World Water Forum