5th FSM & Emptiers' Convention 2022

15 December 2022
FSM convention

On 6 December 2022, the Bangladesh Faecal Sludge Network (BFSMN) organised the 5th FSM & Emptiers’ Convention 2022 at the Institute of Architects Bangladesh premises. The goal of the convention was to bring waste and sanitation workers, policymakers, government officials, academia, researchers, sector actors, and different regions of Bangladesh under one umbrella to inform about the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) country status, key achievements including Faecal Sludge Management (FSM), take collective decision on the plans and actions to achieve SDG 6.2, and contributory role of BFSMN.

BFSMN is a common and collective platform for the sector actors to generate ideas, share views, influence policy and practice, and raise a collective voice to meet the challenges of sanitation sector. It started its journey from 2016 and WaterAid is one of the founding members of the network. The other founding members are: Practical Action in Bangladesh, which currently hosts the Secretariat of the network, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and International Training Network centre of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (ITN-BUET). BFSMN has arranged the first convention on the same year of its inception and this year the network successfully organised fifth episode ‘5th FSM & Emptiers’ Convention 2022’. NGO Forum, MAWTS, and FINISH Mondial also partnered BFSMN this year to organise the convention. The convention was divided into three parts: Inaugural session which was focused on CWIS mainstreaming to accelerate the progress of SDG 6 attainment; Technical (parallel) sessions were prioritising Private Sector Engagement and Sanitation Financing for uninterrupted safely managed sanitation service at municipal level; Closing session emphasised on dignifying lives of waste and sanitation workers by formalising their informal livelihood practice.

Photo captions: (a) Dr Shawkat A Begum, Country Director, Practical Action in Bangladesh, welcomed everyone to the convention. (b) Mr Md Shafiqul Hassan, Project Director, DPHE, and Co-Chair, CWIS FSM Support Cell of DPHE, informed the audience about country status of CWIS and key next steps to ensure safely managed. (c) Mr Uttam Kumar Saha, Strategic Lead - Urban & Energy, Practical Action in Bangladesh, shared the vision, and mission of BFSMN and future plans to work together with policy and decision makers to influence policy and practice to meet the challenges of the sanitation sector.
Photo captions: (a) Dr Khurshid Zabin Hossain Taufique, Director, Urban Development Directorate – UDD; (b) Mr Md Ziaul Haque, Director, Dhaka Region, Department of Environment were present as special guests to the convention, and (c) Mr Md Saifur Rahman, Chief Engineer, Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), graced the convention as a chief guest; the honourable invitees stressed on interdepartmental collaboration to foster the national progress of attainment of sustainable development goals and its appropriate reporting.
FSM convention

The inaugural session concluded with the launching of BFSMN’s website, followed by a gallery walk where convention organisers showcased their journey and contributions towards safely managed sanitation including strengthening CWIS and FSM related technologies through poster presentation.

FSM convention

After prayer and lunch break, two technical parallel sessions took place. Technical Session – 1 titled ‘Private Sector Engagement in FSM Services’ was jointly patronised by SNV, Practical Action, and WSUP. Mr Habibur Rahman, Sanitation Lead, WSUP; Mr Tahmid Hossain, Senior Programme Officer-Technical, Practical Action; Mr Md Tanvir Ahamed Chowdhury, and Interim Project Manager, SNV; were the keynote presenters. Mr Md Quayum Shahrear Zahedee, Mayor, Jhenaidah Municipality; Mr Uttam Kumar Roy, Commercial Manager, Dhaka WASA; Mr Md Shamsul Alam, Executive Engineer, Faridpur Paurashava; and Mr Probir Datta, CEO, Lily's Family; were present as honourable panelist. Mr Abdus Shaheen, Country Manager, WSUP stressed on the scope of private sector to engage with the government by integrating technology, innovation, and best practises into the nation's FSM while summarising the session. Ms Merelin Keka Adhikari, Capacity Building and Training Advisor – CWISE, SNV, moderated the session; while Mr Md Nazmul Huda, Business Development Specialist, WSUP and Mr Sabbir Ahmed, Practical Action, were the session note-takers; and Mr Pritum Kumar Saha, M&E Coordinator, WSUP, coordinated the session.


Technical Session – 2 titled ‘Sanitation Financing’ was jointly patronised by WaterAid and SNV. Mr Shahidul Islam, Project Manager, SNV, was the keynote presenter. Dr Abdullah Al-Muyeed, Chief Operating Officer, CWIS-FSM Support Cell of DPHE; Mr Md Alamgir Hossen, Project Director, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS); Mr Parimal Kumar Dev, CEO, Municipal Association Bangladesh (MAB); Mr Salim Jahangir, Mayor, Paikgacha Municipality, Khulna; and Ms. Wahida Anjoom, Country Coordinator, FINISH Mondial; were present as honourable panelist. Mr Partha Hefaz Shaikh, Director, Policy and Advocacy, WaterAid, summarised the session with a request to municipalities to have effective resource planning and management mechanism to reduce dependency to grants and establish a robust sanitation financing structure to ensure attainment of targets of SDG 6.2. Mr Md Tahmidul Islam, Technical Advisor – WASH, WaterAid, moderated the session; while Mr K A Amin, Specialist – Urban Sanitation and Utility Service, WaterAid, was the session note-taker; and Mr Md Zarif Oeishik, Young Professional – Technical, WaterAid, coordinated the session.

FSM convention

A dedicated session titled ‘Decent Work for Dignifying Lives - Formalising the Informal’ was organsied to raise the voice of waste and sanitation workers. Mr Uttam Kumar Saha, Strategic Lead- Urban & Energy, Practical Action presented the keynote; while Ms Asa Rani, Women Co-operative representative, Meherpur Municipality; Mr Bikas lal, Helper of Vacutug, Kushtia Municipality; Mr Mohammad Mohabbat Ali, Waste Management Officer, Mymensingh City Corporation; Dr. Mahfuzul Haque, Former Secretary, DIFE, Ministry of Labour and Employment; Ms Rafika Akter Zahan, Mayor, Saidpur Municipality, Nilphamari; Mr James Gomes, Director, MAWTS; Mr Sk Khaleq-uz-zaman, Head of Business & Operations, Waadaa were present there as honourable panelist. Mr Hossain I Adib, Director - Programmes, WaterAid, summarised the session which focused on their social standing and rights, and stressed to bring clarity in role of government and other stakeholders in formalising their vulnerable livelihood options. The waste and sanitation workers also expressed their hope during the convention to resolve the issues they’re facing and to get support towards greater social change.

FSM convention

Ms Hasin Jahan, Country Director, WaterAid Bangladesh, subtly summed up the session stating key highlights of the day and take away. She emphasised on CWIS which is the next key move for all of us to ensure safely managed sanitation. Prompt action is needed from sector actors to join hands to support municipalities/government, and contribute to the attainment of SDGs (eg SDG 3 and 11) beyond SDG 6. Ms Jahan thanked the participants and organisers for their enthusiastic engagement and support in the successful organisation of this convention.