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Fecal Sludge Management Competition at the 9th World Water Forum 2022 in Dakar, Senegal (24 March 2022)

Fecal Sludge Management Competition at the 9th World Water Forum 2022 in Dakar, Senegal (24 March 2022)

In collaboration with partners from CAWST and SuSanA, the FSM Alliance organized a FSM Skills Challenge in the Sanitation Village of the Forum. Members of the Pan African Association of Autonomous Sanitation Actors (PAASA) participated in a competition to showcase their unique skills.

The purpose of these sludge management demonstrations, which were initiated in the WSF International Conference Series, is to help raise the profile and visibility of the pit latrine emptying profession. To raise awareness of safe, effective and efficient emptying practices and techniques and instill a sense of recognition, motivation and empowerment in the competitors, while recognizing the vital role that emptying plays in city-wide inclusive sanitation (CWIS).

 In Dakar, six teams with three participants per team participated in the competition, which involved emptying a (simulated) pit latrine using a "gulper," a hand pump for emptying wet pit latrines, and transporting the (fake) sludge back to the starting point. In addition to managing solid waste and overcoming physical obstacles along the way, competitors also had to deal with sensitive social situations such as disgruntled customers or police roadblocks.

 Performance was judged in the following categories:

  • Cleanliness ("least unloading")
  • Service customers
  • Completeness ("how empty was the pit")
  • Teamwork
  • Safety and Health

The FSM Alliance sponsored cash prizes for the winners in each category as well as the overall winning team. In addition, PASA President Ibra Sow offered additional prizes in the form of various sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the winners to take home. While the approaches to the challenge were as diverse as the nationalities of the participants, each team put forth a brilliant effort and was able to secure a prize, making the awards ceremony a particularly joyous moment and a fantastic end to an exciting week that also laid the foundation for future collaboration between APAA and the WSF Alliance.

Learn more about the gulpers:

The two gulpers used for the competition were made by local workers just days before the conference. They were on display at the FSM Alliance booth throughout the week, and several sought-after passersby tried their luck using them. More information about the swallower, including links to open source design techniques, can be found in our Practical Guide to Available Pit Drainage Technologies