A self-reliant & customizable tool for effective awareness-raising on FSM in Paurashavas of Bangladesh

2 Service Delivery for Low-Income Communities » 2 Knowledge-based decision-making

Speaker: Makfie Farah

Summary – for publication in conference brochure:

Bangladesh has recently formulated and adopted its policy document the ‘National Action Plan’ for Paurashavas to ensure systematic and speedy implementation of city-wide FSM services. This study, carried out covering all 329 Paurashavas in Bangladesh, came up with specific suggestions that include safeguarding the rights of sanitation workers. The Action Plan adopted national and Paurashava level actions setting milestones for Paurashavas with different FSM implementation status, for achieving urban sanitation SDG by engaging relevant ministries, implementing agencies and sector partners, while at the same time giving due attention to the needs and rights of sanitation workers. 

Introduction, methods, results and discussion:

The National Action Plan (NAP) for FSM in Paurashava (Municipality), adopted in March 2020, has utilized evidence-based research for incorporating specific actions at national and Paurashava levels. The research looked into the current FSM and sanitation practices and the capacity of Paurashavas. The national working committee for developing NAP followed the recommendations of this research to develop national and Paurashava level actions and budget allocation.  

A survey was carried out covering all 329 Paurashava authorities with the support of the Ministry of Local Government. The questionnaire primarily focused on current FSM practice and plan, budget, condition of sanitation workers and Paurashava development plans. The ITN-BUET team analyzed the field-data and prepared recommendations (Figure-1).  

The study found that Paurashavas’ capacity for implementing city-wide FSM service by 2030 varied widely. Out of 329, only 18 Paurashavas have FSM services in place, of which 10 have operational fecal sludge treatment plants (FSTP), and 2 have FSTPs under construction. 184 Paurashavas have no land/project on FSM. Only 54 Paurashavas have City Master Plans. For sanitation management, 264 Paurashavas have tax budget, and 190 have a development budget (Figure-2). 

Only 64 Paurashavas have desludging trucks, out of which 50 have only one truck. The capacity of the truck ranges from 500-7,000 liters, and most of these are of 1,000 L capacity. Only three Paurashavas have six trucks for emptying service. The workforce capacity of a Paurashava depends on the class of the Paurashava. A, B, or C class is the national standard for the Paurashavas based on the annual revenues collected over the last three years; ‘Class-A’ Paurashavas earn higher revenues (BBS, 2011). The study shows that Paurashavas having FSM projects and belonging to Class-A provide improved FSM services.

Based on their FSM implementation capacity, the NAP has divided the Paurashavas into four different Clusters- A, B, C, D. It has set milestones for each Cluster for achieving the SDG 6.2 Targets. Different actions and timelines for each Cluster are illustrated in the NAP to implement city-wide FSM by 2030 (PSB, 2020 and Table-1). The NAP suggests a tentative budget for FSM at the national and local level, capacity-building of municipal human resource, awareness generation, and mechanical emptying service system (Figure-3a).

According to the research, manual emptying is prominent in the Paurashavas. Among 329 Paurashavas, only 2% use the mechanical emptying system, 20% use both mechanical and manual, and the remaining Paurashavas use manual emptying. Both pit latrines and septic tanks are used almost equally in the Paurashavas. The number of pit-emptiers in Paurashavas varies; around 64% of Paurashavas have 25 emptiers on average.

The study suggested promoting mechanical emptying services to ensure occupational health and safety of the workers. Accordingly, the NAP set separate milestones for OHS of emptiers for all the clusters. Paurashavas have to form Standing Committees on “health, water and sanitation” to oversee FSM services. NAP also emphasizes on transforming manual emptiers into mechanical emptiers for improved services and safety (Figure-3b).

Conclusions and implications:

The study has been a pathway for the NAP to design both national and Paurashava level actions. At the national level, the study recommended dividing the Paurashavas into four clusters based on their FSM implementation status, which helped set different milestones for the Paurashavas to achieve SDG 6.2. The research findings helped structure-specific actions for Paurashavas, such as monitoring mechanisms, capacity building of manual emptiers for ensuring Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), safe and mechanical emptying service, budgetary allocation for FSM management and reaching the last mile with FSM service. The national and Paurashava -level actions in the NAP reflect real-life situations acquired through field research. The evidence-based approach to develop the NAP helped the policy document address the needs of FSM service providers to provide attainable solutions. The informed decision-making approach has encouraged the inclusive engagement of national-level decision-makers from different Ministries and agencies and development partners to work together to plan for sustainable FSM services in cities. It is expected that this approach will be an example for other countries with similar context to develop their policy documents and strategies.

Relevant references:

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. (2011). 2011 Population & Housing Census: Preliminary Results. Dhaka: Statistics Division
Ministry of Planning
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
ITN-BUET. (2019). Assessment report on waste management capacity and practice of Paurashavas. Dhaka: ITN-BUET.
Policy Support Branch. (2017). Institutional and Regulatory Framework for Fecal Sludge Management in Bangladesh for Paurashavas. Dhaka: Local Government Division
Ministry of Local Government
Rural Development and Co-operatives
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Policy Support Branch. (2020). National Action Plan for Implementation of Institutional and Regulatory Framework for Fecal Sludge Management for Paurashavas. Dhaka: Local Government Division
Ministry of Local Government
Rural Development and Co-operatives
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

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