Long Read

Sustainable Sanitation & Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) Service Chain

2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to improved sanitation and 1.1 billion still practice open defecation. At the same time, sustaining the gains made from increased usage of toilets raises new issues about the management of human waste. 2.7 billion people rely on non-sewer systems for sanitation – these generate a mix of solid and liquid wastes known as “faecal sludge”. Without proper management, faecal sludge is often allowed to accumulate in poorly designed pits, discharged into storm drains and open water, or dumped into waterways, wasteland and insanitary landfill sites. This damages public health and the environment.

Icoon Sanitation Chain

The Simavi Approach

Multi-stakeholder consultations
Simavi engages with stakeholders at local and national levels to ensure that sanitation policies encompass the whole sanitation and FSM service chain and that approved policies are implemented at a local level.

We empower communities to increase local demand for proper service and work with different political parties to ensure the sustainability of the policy influencing efforts in case of a change of government.

Sanitation services in cities’ informal settlements (slums)
About 1 billion people live in slums around the world with few or no sanitation options. Our strategy to overcome this global challenge combines entrepreneurship, innovation and public-private partnership: see our ‘PeePoo’ bags case study for a successful example.

Entrepreneurship and creating demand for (improved) sanitation
To stimulate the construction and improvement of household latrines, Simavi combines Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) strategies with social sanitation marketing and WASH behaviour change programmes. We train sanitation entrepreneurs to facilitate the development of their businesses and establish links with microcredit lines to stimulate investment opportunities.

Emptying/treatment services
Most emptying services are performed by people unaware of the importance of proper handling of faecal sludge. Simavi provides training on how to empty pits and transport sludge safely and hygienically.

For sludge treatment, Simavi supports the development and implementation of decentralized, low-cost technologies that:

  1. Don’t require the allocation of large squares of land;
  2. Make the safe re-use of waste possible;
  3. Can be embraced by small to medium size entrepreneurs.

Lobby and advocacy with policy makers to consider the full sanitation chain
Simavi engages with policy makers at different levels to demand a strong political commitment to:

  1. Addressing the issues related to a full sanitation chain;
  2. Creating an enabling environment and clear regulation for sanitation entrepreneurs;
  3. Clearly designating governmental department responsibility roles and responsibilities for the full sanitation chain;
  4. Investing in the safe disposal of faecal sludge.

Sanitation chain for institutions
Simavi works closely with relevant stakeholders/authorities to demand that the necessary arrangements are made for the operation and management of the whole sanitation chain, from initial system design to emptying costs.

Facilitate investment in sanitation chain services
Simavi collaborates with Micro Finance Institutes (MFIs) to ensure affordable micro finance products and soft loans are available to local entrepreneurs working on the entire sanitation chain. In addition, we act as a mediator to channel finances from businesses/investors to small or medium size entrepreneurs that guarantee proper service delivery.

Every stakeholder in the entire sanitation chain must be actively engaged in the issue: investment, innovation and governmental support are needed to successfully scale up sanitation services. For a more detailed explanation of Simavi’s approach, download our factsheet here.




Start the conversation

Share this article

Long Reads

A long read is a full-length article covering one of our current topics.

More ‘long reads’ Read next long read

Related stories

Do you want to know more about Faecal Sludge Management?

Please contact our colleague Sara Ahrari.

+31 (0)88 313 15 85