Faecal Sludge Management Madagascar

Antananarivo, Madagascar

In the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, the faecal sludge from toilets is generally discharged into the surrounding rivers without prior treatment, causing serious problems for people’s health and the environment. Through discussions with WaterAid Southern Africa, we became aware that there is no overarching faecal sludge management (FSM) strategy in Madagascar. This has been highlighted as a severe problem and a priority for the country as a whole.


Buro Happold approached WaterAid Madagascar (WAM) with the proposal to facilitate a ‘user-centred’ design workshop to share our expertise in this area and to collaboratively devise a way forward with the WAM team.


To inform the workshops, the Buro Happold team spent four days across the capital, Antananarivo, and the eastern coastal towns of Mahanoro and Vatomandry undertaking site visits. These were conducted with the purpose of investigating current treatment, operation and regulatory issues in FSM for the variety of terrains in Madagascar.

Following these site visits, Buro Happold and WAM together facilitated a two-day workshop. This was designed with an emphasis on user participation and activities were both interactive and collaborative – this was an excellent opportunity for all major stakeholders across Madagascar to build and maintain relationships which would be essential for pushing change in the management of faecal sludge in the country. It also enables them to build their own engineering and design capacity and to take ownership of actions going forward.


The workshop was widely seen as a significant first step in the creation and implementation of cohesive FSM strategy for Madagascar. It was a very timely visit as both WAM and the Ministry of Water were in the process of refining their strategies and focus areas going forward, and the workshop helped them develop their thinking and obtain buy-in from other stakeholders. Trial treatment sites for Mahanoro and Vatomandry are also currently underway and near completion. Buro Happold is in discussion with WAM on how best support may continue to be provided.

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