Delft, The Netherlands, 16 Nov 2015

Global e-learning alliance launched on Faecal Sludge Management

The Global Faecal Sludge Management e-learning Alliance is a platform to facilitate development and boost the dissemination of knowledge on Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) through online learning. It's the first e-learning course dedicated to this topic. Six educational institutions are offering the course independently, but operate as an alliance to share insights, advance knowledge about sanitation and jointly tackle the challenges with greater confidence.

The Alliance provides an enabling environment for the vibrant community of professionals who have completed the essential element of the Alliance - the e-learning course on Faecal Sludge Management. The initiative is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and currently consists of eight members.

E-learning course

This is the first e-learning course dedicated to faecal sludge management. It consolidates the current state of knowledge of this rapidly evolving field and presents an integrated approach that includes technology, management and planning. It addresses the planning and organization of the entire faecal sludge management service chain, from the collection and transport of sludge and its treatment options, to the final enduse or disposal of treated sludge.

In addition to providing fundamentals and an overview of technologies, the course deals with details of operational, institutional and financial aspects, and provides guidance on how to plan a city-level faecal sludge management project with the involvement of all the stakeholders. The theoretical background of the course is based on the book Faecal Sludge Management: System Approach for Implementation and Operation. Furthermore, the course incorporates a number of illustrative real-life case studies, a helpful toolbox and an insight into the most recent technological innovations in the field.

The course is designed for professionals who are dealing with the planning, promotion, design, operation or management of faecal sludge for residents in urban, peri-urban, slum or rural areas in low-income countries and beyond. The course program is taught over a period of four months.

Apply now

The online course on FSM offered by UNESCO-IHE starts on 6 January 2016. You can apply here until 21 December 2015. For additional starting dates please refer to the web pages of one of the other five course providers (under construction).


Participants can make use of some of the advantages and possibilities that the Alliance offers, such as:

  • Access to updated information, knowledge and experienced coaching staff in the field;
  • One-to-one contact with, and guidance from, the course mentor;
  • A formal certificate from an internationally recognized educational institution;
  • Participation in the international community of professionals;
  • The opportunity to enhance their professional career e.g. through involvement in projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others;
  • Use of the Alliance's scholarship funds, subject to availability;
  • Access to benefits as a member of the alumni community at the institution providing the course.

Course providers & contributors

Currently the online course is offered by six educational institutions, namely UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (The Netherlands), the Centre for Environmental Studies (India), the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand), Bangladesh University of Environmental Technology (Bangladesh), the International Institute for Environmental Engineering (Burkina Faso) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa).

The course and the book are the result of the project Stimulating Local Innovation on Sanitation for the Urban Poor in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The FSM book, co-funded by the Swiss Federal Agency, has been prepared jointly by Eawag (Switzerland) and UNESCO-IHE and includes contributions by a number of internationally recognized faecal sludge management and sanitation professionals. The institutions delivering the course have developed most of the practical case studies, while the toolbox and technological innovations originate largely from the grants provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Program.

Syllabus & materials

The course content is divided into three parts: a theoretical part, practical case studies and an overview of the technological innovations in the field. The theoretical part is divided into 6 sub-courses, which include assignments. State-of-the-art materials are used, including the book on Faecal Sludge Management, key note video lectures, presentations, videos about innovations in the field and case studies, and the FSM toolbox. All materials will be freely accessible and are in the public domain.


Scholarships may be available to applicants. Details on scholarships and conditions can be found soon on the online course web pages of the institutions providing the course.

Alumni community

Participants are welcomed into the online course alumni community. The Global FSM e-Learning Alliance recognizes alumni as its greatest ambassadors and takes particular pride in the vital role they play in implementing and spreading the knowledge they have acquired during the e-learning course. Please note that alumni community members are entitled to make use of the various benefits offered by the Alliance.

Contact us

The Global Faecal Sludge Management e-learning Alliance invites other relevant institutions to participate in the development and dissemination of knowledge on FSM through online learning. The Alliance is opening to expand its pool of e-learning course-delivering institutions. Please contact us for more information on how to join the Alliance as a member or a course-delivering partner.

Visit our dedicated website, which is currently still under construction. We aim to start the online course in the beginning of 2016.

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