Dedicated leadership, strong and active participation are the keys for successful FSM implementation in municipalities of Bangladesh – municipal Mayors and officials from 32 Paurashava and Engineers from Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) have recognized the issue in the sensitization workshops and agreed to work together to improve the situation. The daylong Sensitization Workshops on Fecal Sludge Management were held at the DPHE Auditorium for 32-Towns Paurashava Project in two batches on 24 & 31 January 2019. International Training Network (ITN), a Centre of BUET and DPHE jointly organized the Sensitization Workshops under the support of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Government of Bangladesh has provided the mandate to ensure safe sanitation and safe drinking water to all. SDG has focused on quality, while MDG focused on quantity” said Engr. Saifur Rahman, Chief Engineer, DPHE who was the Chief Guest at the Sensitization Workshop held on 31 January 2019. He added that DPHE will work closely with the Paurashavas and provide all sorts of support to successfully implement FSM in the project Paurashavas.

“Without active cooperation and participation by the Paurashavas, FSM will not be possible” said Md. Nazrul Islam Mian, Project Director, 32-Towns Paurashava Project. He thanked the participants, particularly Mayors for their kind presence

“Improved sanitation shall not be the end of our endeavour. Developing and low-income countries have to augment towards FSM. Bangladesh has already achieved recognition all over the world for success in Sanitation. Now, the focus is on FSM” said Prof. Dr. Md. Mujibur Rahman, Professor, UAP (former Professor, BUET). He emphasized on the involvement of the private sector for successful FSM achievement. The participating Mayors commented that the discussion on FSM has been very fruitful. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Ali, Professor and Director, ITN-BUET commented that Paurashavas have very limited experience and knowledge on FSM, as it is a new concept and leadership by the Mayors is very important in this regard.

In the first workshop, in his experience sharing Md. Abu Hanif Azad, Mayor of Shakhipur Paurashava shared that active leadership and selfless actions by the municipal representatives are the key to success in the field of FSM. He added that awareness generation, enforcement and proper planning will be required for successful FMS implementation. He also pointed out that municipalities in Bangladesh do not have skilled professionals, and do not have adequate manpower as well, and hence, engagement of private entrepreneurs in private-public partnership will be required to ensure successful FSM implementation.

In the second workshop, Md. Tanvir Ahamed Chowdhury, Sanitation Business Advisor, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation shared how they have implemented the FSM system in Jhenaidah Paurashava and how the municipal cooperation has supported them to achieve their target. He shared a video of an interview with Mr. Saidul Karim Mintu, Mayor, Jhenaidah Paurashava. Mr. Saidul Karim Mintu told that FSM implementation is very tough, but possible. He told that active leadership and enforcement is highly required in achieving success in FSM implementation. He thanked for the support of BMGF and SNV in FSM implementation. He discussed on his success on imposing of FSM tax on the holdings and his plan for desludging the buildings every year.

A Training Need Assessment (TNA) session on training requirements for FSM was conducted as core part of the event. The representatives from the targeted Paurashavas were motivated and sensitized to ensure safe and sustainable FSM implementation in their respective areas. DPHE representatives from relevant districts/Paurashavas also shared that they have learned about many opportunities to safely manage human sludge, which would be extremely instrumental in implementing their project.

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