written by Georg Ecker, AutRC WASH Adviser

In accordance with IFRC and National Societies (NS) that hold WASH Emergency Response Units (ERU) AutRC will take the lead to develop a future Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Faecal Sludge Management ERU – FSM ERU.


The devastating earth quake 2010, which heavily affected the city center of Port-au-Prince/Haiti, but even more the Cholera outbreak in the same year, induced by unsafe if not negligent sanitation behavior by international UN Forces, demonstrated the imminent need for FSM solutions in certain emergency situations, such as urban context, camp contexts and others. The immediate reaction of IFRC and partners was the implementation of the https://emergencysanitationproject.org/. The AutRC got involved in the project, and with the https://www.faecalsludgefieldlaboratory.com/ (FSFL) we created quality assurance for any future FS treatment solution in emergencies and beyond. In 2013 we planned to install a sewage treatment solution with our industrial partner https://busse-is.de/ including water recovery for watering plants or washing cars. For various reasons the project was unfortunately never implemented.

The 1st prototype

In 2018 ongoing the IFRC together with mainly the British and the Swedish Red Cross installed the first prototypes of emergency faecal sludge solutions in the Kutupalong Mega Kamp Cox’s Bazar/Bangladesh (CXB, picture by www.say-ing.de). A Lime Stabilization Unit was implemented together with the Aerobic Faecal Waste Treatment Plant (FWTP). Important steps forward could be achieved with desludging and sludge transport in a more than challenging environment. The AutRC contributed with personnel for the attached field laboratory. 

During the operation of the unit the lab was not only able to collect process, public health and environmental data thus assuring safe end-products, but also contributed in stabilizing and further developing the FSM unit.

What’s ahead:

Early 2020 we submitted a concept paper about the creation of an RCRC FSM unit with the project name IFRC FASTER_U (Faecal Sludge Treatment in Emergencies, the Unit). IFRC, British, German, Netherlands, Norway and Swedish NS agreed to participate and to jointly search for funding. AutRC core funding, possible funding through the IFRC-ECHO PPP and major contribution by the German RC (GRC) will allow us to finally start the project in Quarter 3-4 2021. First talks have been conducted with Lebanon RC (LRC) to be the implementing partner for a one year development project in Bekaa/Lebanon, where LRC is already desludging Informal Tented Settlements (ITS) in the Bekaa Valley. The hardware will be supported by GRC based on the initial material used in CXB and re-calculated by scientific partners.

The main outcomes and expected results of the project are:

  1. One final version of an RCRC FSM ERU, agreed upon by a large consortium of RCRC NS and strategically pre-positioned.
  2. Full scale quality assurance by testing of process parameters and also public health and environmental indicators, which will have to apply to Lebanese and International Standards.
  3. Establishment of SOPs and Training Manuals.
  4. Structures and supervised on the job training of future IFRC Rapid Response (RR) FSM delegates from initially Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and MENA (Middle East/Northern Africa) regions with the specifications team leaders / FSM managers, plant operators, lab technicians, de-Sludging and transport and admin / logistics.
  5. Initial global pool of FSM delegates with one or more of the above mentioned qualifications. Those delegates will then be trainers in their regions for future FSM RR delegates.
  6. Installation of FSM training hubs in Africa (partly accomplished – FSFL in Uganda with https://www.redcrossug.org/), Asia-Pacific (partly accomplished – FSFL in Indonesia with https://pmi.or.id/), Europe (partly accomplished – FSFL with our partner https://www.eawag.ch/en/department/sandec/ in Switzerland) and MENA Middle East/Northern Africa) regions.
  7. In order to have a final global outreach, the Americas will be integrated through either IFRC or the Spanish RC.
  8. All steps will be done in close lose cooperation with LRC HP, CEA, PGI and other sectors. Public Health and Environmental considerations will be guiding principles.



image shows a drawing of a mole sitting on grass. The mole has poo on his head and two flies are sitting on the poo. Across the image the words thank you are written.