Brief description of the project
The research project “Sustained environmental health improvements in Freetown through Faecal Sludge Management enterprises” aims at significantly increasing the amount of safely disposed faecal sludge and improving public health in Freetown by developing public/private partnerships models for the Freetown City Council (FCC). The project will also present promising technologies for Freetown regarding collection, transport and disposal/reuse of faecal sludge.

What problem is the project addressing and what solution does it propose?
Every year, in Freetown, an estimated 80,000 m³ of human faeces is produced; however, only a small portion of this is disposed-of legally and safely. This results in many litres of human faeces entering the Freetown environment yearly which contaminates the water supply and general surroundings, and contributed significantly to the 2012 cholera outbreak.
The research will look at promising technical technologies and management models that could significantly increase the amount of safely disposed-of faecal sludge.

How was the solution implemented?
The FCC and the Freetown Wash Consortium (FWC) are developing a six month research project (Phase 1), funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and from Department for International Development (DFID), to study various private-public partnerships. The project is comprised of several different components, which will be developed through a series of deliverables that will be disseminated over the course of the project:

1.  Briefing paper from stakeholders’ induction workshop.
2.  Market assessment paper including a market assessment on households with a Willingness and Ability to Pay Survey (WAPS) for emptying and transport; a base line study on the existing service providers; and a market assessment for treatment considering market for reused products.
3.  Comprehensive review of promising technologies considering technical description; financial modelling; recommendations on the price bands; implementation hardware and software tools and applicability in Freetown.
4.  Proposal of contract arrangements for public private partnerships based on research and recommendations for a range of different service providers considering regulations, policy setting and contract arrangements.
5.  Detailed monitoring plan developed for the identified FSM arrangement.
6.  Draft document detailing key areas for on-going capacity building of FCC necessary for implementation
7.  Final project report and proposal for Phase 2 selection (using all deliverables).

Who are the key stakeholders or partners involved in this intervention and what are their roles?
The project developers are the FCC and FWC, with GOAL as the leading agency. International Water Association (IWA) is hired as a consultant for technical inputs. The steering committee has members of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) and from World Bank (WSP) Water and Sanitation Program.
Key stakeholders in this project include: households, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), private FSM sector, consumers for reused products, Ministry of Lands, Country Planning & the Environment, Ministry of Water Resources (MWR), Ministry of Finance; Millennium Challenge Corporation Unit, Sierra Leone Road Authorities, Environmental Protection Agency, Public Private Partnership Unit, Guma Valley Water Company, Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) and MASADA (a private solid waste management enterprise).

What learning has emerged from the project? And how do you ensure learning across the project?
At the time of project completion, the FCC will have a set of tools to improve FSM  in Freetown that will inform the development of a robust proposal, which will be used to apply for Phase 2 funding from the donor for implementation.
The project will constantly engage with key stakeholders and share information and share the deliverables with them, via the dissemination of research papers, workshop notes, and discussion papers. Their feedback is critical to ensuring that the final proposal developed is relevant, realistic and adequate to the Freetown context.

What is innovative and significant about the project?
The project wants to engage the private sector to contribute towards the improvement of FSM services in Freetown. The research will present management models for the sanitation chain that would be appropriate in terms of complexity, affordability, and scalability for the FCC, private operators and the community committees to contract this service. The project will also introduce improved mechanisms for monitoring and regulation.

What learning materials or products have been produced?
Thus far, a briefing paper from the stakeholders’ induction workshop has been produced and circulated to all stakeholders.

Is there any further work necessary to solve the problem? What are the remaining gaps?
The success of this project relies heavily on the positive and constructive engagement of the private sector in FSM. This engagement will serve as a critical step towards developing sustainable sanitation solutions in Freetown.

Project Contact
Name:  Joana da Cunha Forte
Organization:  GOAL
Position:  Faecal Sludge Management Project Manager
Email:  jforte@sl.goal.ie
Telephone:  +232 (0) 79746396