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Faecal Sludge Management

Faecal sludge management (FSM) is defined as the collection, desludging, transport, treatment and/or disposal of faecal sludge. Faecal sludge is defined as the material that is collected in on-site sanitation technologies like pit latrines or septic tanks.

The Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh brought to prominence a range of gaps in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) service delivery relating to faecal sludge management in the humanitarian sector.

The Global WASH Cluster (GWC) members agreed to collaborate to improve sector approaches, tools and capacities to tackle FSM in humanitarian responses. The Working Group focuses on improving standards, coordination, advocacy, available guidance and support tools and on knowledge management, research and capacity-building.

The Working Group is coordinated by Marij Zwart – Netherlands Red Cross: e-mail:

Useful Information


  • Objective 1: Standards
    • Improved quality of sanitation and FSM services during emergencies through widely available minimum standards
  • Objective 2: Coordination
    • Improved collaboration, support and information-sharing between humanitarian agencies, especially to emergency WASH clusters 
  • Objective 3: Capacity development, research and knowledge management
    • Improved capacities and joint learning in the emergency sanitation sector
  • Objective 4: Advocacy
    • Build awareness and commitment to ensure the full sanitation chain is integrated into WASH responses
  • Objective 5: Emergency FSM decision support tools
    • Development of the basis (first of three years) for a Humanitarian Sanitation Knowledge Hub, making operational guidance, tools and a helpdesk available for WASH practitioners in emergencies

Work streams

The Working Group consists of five work streams, each co-chaired by different Working Group members as indicated below:

  1. Standards

IHE (Tineke Hooijmans, and British Red Cross (David Thomas,

  1. Coordination and helpdesk

NLRC (Marij Zwart, and IFRC (William Carter,

  1. Capacity Development, Research and Knowledge Management

Tufts (Marine Ricau,, SI (Claire Papin-Stammose,, CAWST (Laura Kohler and Catherine Bourgault,

  1. Advocacy Strategy

Oxfam (Andy Bastable,

  1. Emergency FSM decision support tools

Borda (Tobias Ulbrich, and GTO (Rob Gensch


The planning of each work stream can be found under ‘key documents’


The FSM Working Group Coordinator, a representative of the GWC and the co-chairs of the work stream jointly form the FSM Working Group management team.



Find the FSM Working Group - Contact list here

All humanitarian and research organizations active in the field of FSM are welcome to join the Working Group. To become a member of the FSM Working Group, organizations need to be willing to actively contribute to at least one of the seven work streams. Currently, commercial organizations are welcome to join our public meetings, but cannot become FSM Working Group members.

Please contact to request membership and more information.



The members of the FSM Working Group are available to give remote support to emergency WASH practitioners and clusters facing practical sanitation issues.

The FSM Working Group is available to:

  • Share quality resources, such as standard operating procedures (SOPs), example designs and bill of quantities
  • Provide direct connects with experts or WASH practitioners with relevant experience
  • Guide and facilitate national coordination platforms (NCPs), including local and national actors, to jointly create sanitation plans, relevant for your context, needs and resources.

To request remote support, please contact Marij Zwart,

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