Meeting on Global Faecal Sludge Management e-Learning Alliance at Bangkok

Date: October 26-29, 2015, Bangkok

UNESCO-IHE, CSE and other global partners are undertaking a BMGF funded project on sanitation entitled ‘Stimulating Local Innovation on Sanitation for the Urban Poor in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia’.

The project has two principal objectives:

i. To stimulate local innovation on sustainable sanitation for the urban poor through research
ii. To strengthen the sanitation sector in developing countries through education and training

As part of this project, UNESCO-IHE plans to execute the delivery of a new online course (OLC) on Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) in collaboration with 5 distinguished partners in Africa and Asia who have a sound track record in education and research on pro-poor sanitation. These partners have also been selected because they have the capacity to and in-house expertise in the area of FSM to execute the delivery of the new online courses.

The key partners of the alliance are:

  • Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) – Thailand

  • Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) – Bangladesh

  • International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) - Burkina Faso

  • Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) - Delhi

  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) - South Africa

Part of the big event was that about 40 researchers from the Doctoral programme, Ph.D scholarships, Master's education and MSc scholarships got together in Bangkok to showcase and discuss their respective work in the area of Faecal sludge management.

CSE was represented by Dr Suresh Rohilla, Dr Mahreen Matto and Bhitush Luthra. The team gave a overview of the status of the OLC. CSE will provide two case studies and will be running the course from March 2016.

CSE was also invited to give suggestions / comments / recommendations for improvement on FSM toolbox an initiative of the BMGF Sani-up Project Meeting in Thailand. The overarching objective of the toolbox project has been to enhance the capability of the key players (donors/investors, city planners, utility administrators and consultants) in the development of FSM project and businesses with competency preparatory tools and resources. The Toolbox adopts a concept of the 'project-cycle' within which a wide variety of tools (samples, contracts, ToRs, manuals, guidelines and software) have been organized and packaged to provide the key players with a 'one-stop platform' for information regarding FSM projects. The contents and tools are at its preliminary stage and set for field testing in the coming months.

After the meeting CSE participants had the opportunity to visit a factory where pilot scale project on various types of toilets (namely solar septic tank system, solid liquid separator etc) is installed by Dr Thammarat Koottatep (and his group). This project is on testing stage and aims to come up with an efficient type of on-site sanitation system which separates solid and liquid waste at source and further use wastewater for irrigation and solid waste as soil conditioner. Following this site the CSE participants went to AIT to see their wastewater and FSM laboratory. Researchers in AIT demonstrated the projects/technologies they are doing in terms of on-site sanitation. Some of the research they are doing are (1) testing different soils as a media for purifying the blackwater (2) microbial testing to knock out asparagus in faeces as its difficult to destroy as compared to E. coli (in terms of pathogen removal) (3) ionization of sludge etc.