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FSM6 will feature a  format with a wide range of session formats to appeal to the varied professionals working in the sector. A total of 36 abstracts will be selected for oral presentations and a total of 60 posters will be selected for our poster track. 9 oral sessions will be developed from the selected abstracts, 3 under each of the 3 tracks (Tracks 1-3 below). 

A fourth track featuring the work and progress Indonesia, and their recent efforts in FSM. 

Additional topics will be covered through a diverse set of sessions throughout the conference. These sessions will be designed by the FSM6 Conference Committee. The conference will also feature a virtual pit emptying challenge, virtual field visits (space limited), workshops, and a lively online expo.

Gender, Equality, and Inclusive Sanitation Service Level

Track Theme Description:

This track focuses on drawing from existing experiences on what has worked or not worked in reducing inequalities to those who have been excluded from sanitation services such as, women, children, people with disabilities and the elderly.  This exclusion may be based on a wide range of factors, including: social, economic, financial or technological and may be reinforced through societal norms or institutionalised mechanisms. A critical component of reaching SDG 6.2 is improving access to and increasing the usage of comprehensively designed sanitation services by those who have been repeatedly excluded.

Very commonly, designs or programs are decided upon by the implementers without an assessment of the social and demographic characteristics of the population or consumers who benefit from a sanitation service. Consequently, these designs are not sensitive to women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. For that matter, open defecation continues in such communities even with the availability of sanitation facilities.

Poor sanitation designs and/or programs often put women and girls at risk of harassment and/or gender-based violence because they often have to travel long distances to reach the sanitation facilities, use shared toilets or have no other alternative but to practice open defecation. With the emerging focus on the sanitation value chain for a circular economy, sanitation service provision beyond access has taken centre stage. Additional focus is required on gender balance and representation, however because it is still a male-dominated domain, as in many places  women and girls are not given enough opportunities to actively participate and contribute as an equally important stakeholder, decision-maker, or even consumer. 

Sub-Theme 1:  Designing and planning framework and policy for sanitation 

Gender, equality and inclusion challenges in sanitation normally stem right from the weak or lack of policies to address these issues. In instances where policies are available, they are very limited to just consultation but not meaningful involvement in designing and planning for sanitation services. Without policies to guide planning and designing of programs, gender, inequalities and exclusion challenges persist.

Sub-Theme 2:  Gender dynamics in service provision and value chain

Explores the contribution of social accountability to inclusive sanitation, with a focus on improving the provision of sanitation service levels (service and value chain). Concepts of gender equality, social inclusion, and gender transformation, together with institutional frameworks for sanitation governance are explored in the context of urban and peri-urban sanitation services.

Sub-Theme 3:  Gender-based violence and sanitation

Although the root cause of violence is the differences in power between people, for instance between men and women or between people of different social groupings, poor access to WASH services can increase vulnerabilities to violence. A lack of access to a toilet in or near the home or poor access to water supply can lead to women and children defecating in the open after dark.  This, in turn, can increase their vulnerability to harassment and violence, including sexual violence.  Looking for evidence and guidance from practitioners on how they have improved their programming to reduce these risks.

Service Delivery for Low-Income Communities

Track Theme Description:

Service delivery in low-income communities focuses on successes and failures in serving low-income populations. Such populations include those living in informal settlements, climate migration and refugee populations, and other marginalised communities. These groups often receive the lowest level of services, if at all, and can face particular challenges in terms of their context (e.g. marginalised or flood-prone land), their social structures (e.g. transitory populations) and their exclusion from wider efforts to improve sanitation services.

This track focuses on technical solutions, institutional arrangements and financing for service delivery to these populations, and the data, knowledge, policies and practice that could support these. Mechanisms for participation and engagement of low-income populations, as consumers or in service delivery, including gendered aspects, are also of interest.

Sub-Theme 1: Service Delivery Innovations 

Recent innovations and technical solutions, institutional arrangements and financing for service delivery to low-income populations. This includes insight into how to improve safe containment in densely-populated locations or in cases of migrating populations or refugee camps, and how to embed service provision for low-income populations into citywide or institutionalised mandates and frameworks, including meeting financing gaps. Examples where informal settlements, slums and previously un-served marginalised populations have seen increased and higher levels of service delivery.

Sub-Theme 2: Knowledge-based decision-making 

Data and knowledge to inform policies, regulations and practice supporting service delivery and scale-up of solutions. This sub-theme highlights how different forms of data and evidence can support improvements to policies, regulations and practice, whether that be through institutionalised information systems, monitoring systems, specific research investigations, stakeholder learning and engagement processes or other approaches to build and use new knowledge to improve service delivery and scale-up. 

Sub-Theme 3: Inclusive Sanitation Planning

Mechanisms for participation and engagement of low-income populations, as consumers or in service delivery provision itself, including gendered and cultural aspects. Involvement of low-income populations is essential for designing services that meet their needs, but at the same time needs to avoid delegating excessive responsibility to marginalised groups. This sub-theme explores how to achieve a balance of voice and inclusion whilst avoiding burden and unrealistic expectations in improving services to low-income populations. Of interest are examples where low-income consumers have been deliberately involved in program design, service delivery or product design, and decision making. 

Role of FSM Actors in Sanitation

Track Theme Description:

There are many actors involved in sanitation and the faecal sludge management (FSM) service chain including governments, utilities, financial institutions and donors, private sector players (informal and formal), consumers, educational institutions, multilateral organisations, including development banks, and non-government organisations. 

For sanitation and FSM services to be equitably and efficiently delivered and managed each of these actors need to play a coordinated and mutually reinforcing role based on local context, political economy, and existing capacities and resources. 

The objective of this track is to uncover case studies and examples where multiple actors have begun to work together in order to inspire and educate others trying to improve FSM service delivery and enact models of city-wide inclusive sanitation (CWIS). These case studies should showcase the unique, but complementary roles that each of the actors are playing, research and evidence that underpin how those roles were agreed on, and structures that have been put in place for coordination, decision making, and tracking progress.

Of particular interest are examples where utilities and municipal governments have embraced the role of informal service providers or the private sector and have found ways to formalise those actors’ critical service delivery work. Examples of how roles have evolved over the course of increased collaboration or in the face of new evidence should also be highlighted. Also of importance is a description of what’s next: what are plans for the future and the key lessons learned that have emerged.

Sub-Theme 1: 

Latin America and Middle East

Sub-Theme 2:  

Africa, including North Africa 

Sub-Theme 3:

Asia and the Pacific

Poster Track: Applied Research

Track Theme Description:

This track will focus on applied research results that include practice-based evidence of solutions to the multiple dimensions of FSM service provisions across the entire FSM service chain. The applied research should: address knowledge and data gaps in FSM, be applicable for low- and middle-income countries, and discuss and/or demonstrate scalability. 

Abstracts must have a clear statement of the practical research application, preferably at scale;  theoretical research will not be considered. This track is not limited to academia-based scientific research only – it is open to different sectors and organisations, such as non-profit, NGOs, government and policy sector, business and private sectors in low- and middle-income countries.

Sub-Theme 1: Innovative technology aspects

Innovative technological solutions through the entire sanitation service chain. This includes innovative and emerging technologies that have already been installed in the field and have demonstrated promising results. 

Sub-Theme 2: Institutional arrangements

Planning and implementation of FSM services; FSM integration into Citywide Inclusive Sanitation; Circular economy approach; Planning and strategies for FSM towards achieving SDG6

Sub-Theme 3: Characterisation and quantification at scale

Different approaches towards characterisation and quantification at community- and city-wide scale; FSM database development and approaches

Sub-Theme 4: Health, safety and hygiene

Risk assessment and safely managed FSM services that limit health risk exposure to users, service providers and researchers; Sanitation safety planning, monitoring and evaluation of health, safety and hygiene of FSM systems; Disease outbreak prevention

Sub-Theme 5: Social aspects

Behaviour change and engagement at different stakeholder levels through the entire FSM service chain; User demand, engagement, acceptance and willingness to pay; Gender-based studies; The role of sanitation workers in FSM

Sub-Theme 6: Financial aspects in FSM

Innovative financing and business models through the entire sanitation service chain, Government-based, profit-, non-profit or franchise-based models