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To mark World Toilet Day 2016, over 200 students joined SNV Bangladesh at Khulna University for the launch of the Safe Emptying Campaign Competition.

The competition aims to engage students in the push to promote safe faecal sludge management (FSM) in Bangladesh, inviting them to come up with their own creative campaign concepts to promote safe emptying, transport and treatment of faecal sludge.

With urban growth at over 3.5% per annum, FSM remains a major issue in Bangladesh. While 42% of the nation’s 30 million urban residents have ‘improved sanitation’ (latrines or septic tanks), the vast majority of human waste still goes untreated, much of it dumped in local waterways, on marginal land or in open drains close to people’s houses – polluting the local environment and posing a huge health risk to communities.

With backing from the Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation and DFID, SNV’s Pro-poor Market-based Solutions for Faecal Sludge Management programme is piloting new strategies for faecal sludge management in the rapidly expanding urban areas of Khulna city, Kushtia and Jhenaidah.

SNV advisor Shaidul Islam said engaging students was an important way of both building awareness around the importance of FSM and developing innovative approaches for the programme.

“Youth are an important focus for us,” Shaidul said, noting that the programme had already launched a scholarship programme enabling masters students to undertake research into FSM, as well as building partnerships with local universities to ensure the knowledge developed through the programme lives on following its conclusion.

The four-year FSM programme aims to improve the living environment of more than 1 million people. By developing faecal sludge management services, the programme aims to reform human waste management, building government capacity to develop and implement waste management services and policy, and increase the productivity and protect the health and dignity of people working in this vital sector. 

The winning student campaign from the Safe Emptying Campaign Competition will be implemented in Khulna city with SNV support in 2017.

SNV advisor Shahid Islam launches the competition at Khulna University

Expert

Rajeev Munankami

Multi-country programme manager, WASH SDG