Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) as we know is a dirty business! But, this business is now becoming a priority agenda for national and local governments, investors and communities. While investments are flowing for FSM projects, challenges remain for initiating and implementing successfully planned and executed projects. Behind the shortcomings lie bottlenecks like knowledge gaps, procedures, professionals and most essentially, tools for a successful design and implementation. So, rely on our principal A-Z source for planning and execution of FSM-smart projects.
The idea of FSM toolbox came into being as a need was identified to better organize the existing FSM knowledge into user-friendly toolbox for current information is fragmented and mismanaged. This happened at the FSM Consultative Workshop organized by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila in 2014.
Motivated by how effective management of tools can accelerate FSM practices, stakeholders and professionals in the meeting decided to move forward and designate three key players to undertake this task: Donors.investors, City Planners, and Consultants. The toolbox has been meant to be developed based on core aspects of project cycle and management, and hence it collates tools and documents to enable city planners, donors and consultants in pursuing their FSM programs.
With the objective of synthesizing fragmented information and modifying them to best suit the needs of key FSM players, in 2013, developing a one-stop database for FSM practices was underway. Hence, AIT Research team initiated the toolbox by bringing the best mix information needed to address the formidable challenge of fecal sludge management.
We, the team have since been actively carrying out intensive desk research to collect the scatteredly available tools, and documents regarding water, sanitation, and faecal sludge management. As we presented the collected materials and got verified from international experts at first advisory panel meeting in Hanoi, their constructive feedbacks led us to designing applicable survey questionnaires and interviewing relevant practitioners. We have interviewed 60 practitioners from countries like Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Philippine, Vietnam, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Nepal). After identifying gaps in stakeholders’ needs and available resources from the interviews, AIT research team, in collaboration with CSTEP and CEPT University developed 15 tools. The project since then has been seeking constant guidances from experts through focus group discussions, consultations and dialogues to validate the applicability of tools and toolbox approaches.
We have successfully disseminated information about the toolbox via platforms like workshops, trainings and discussions to verify practitioners’ needs and collect feedbacks.The project has taken every opportunity to improve and enhance its applicability, when conducting workshops in places like Bangalore and Bangkok for testing the tools and collecting constructive comments alike.