Safer Management and Reliable Treatment (SMaRT) of faecal sludge in emergencies

Project Details


Safely managing human excreta during periods of rapid accumulation (e.g. humanitarian crises, natural disasters), or during infectious disease outbreaks (e.g. Cholera or Ebola) can be particularly challenging, especially in densely populated settings.

Fluctuations in excreta inputs, combined with variations in the effectiveness of treatment processes, plus uncertainties in the survival of pathogens often lead to departure from existing standard operating protocols (SOP).

Project SMaRT seeks to focus on these aspects in order to optimise the targeted use of lime treatment as a backstop, with which to safely deal with rapid increases in sludge volume, or to prevent infectious disease transmission during disease outbreaks at the Rohingiya refugee camp n Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.  

This is achieved through interventions including: (i) Development of a novel method for assessing the purity (quality) of lime supplies and adaptation of microbiological test kits for assessing faecal sludge (including phage-based viral indicators); (ii) Establishment of microbe inactivation (E. coli, Vibrios & phage) and survival under different faecal sludge/lime concentrations and conditions; and (iii) Assessment of lime suitability for containment of excreta in clinical health settings. Project SMaRT seeks to do this by targeting two treatment facilities run by MSF/BRAC processing excreta from communal latrines and from clinical settings (e.g. healthcare centers) within the camp.

The blend of adaptions and novel interventions should help reduce lime usage and pathogen risk and ensure that lime-based treatment of faecal sludge offers a means for safely dealing with sudden increases in sludge volume, or to contain the spread of infectious disease outbreaks (e.g Acute Watery Diarrhoea).
This project is funded by Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund programme*, a grant making facility which improves outcomes for people affected by humanitarian crises by identifying, nurturing and sharing more effective, innovative and scalable solutions. 

*Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
Effective start/end date1/02/2331/08/24




  • Emergency, Health, Lime, Risk, Sanitation,


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