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OCTOPUS is an online platform for faecal sludge disposal and treatment in emergency contexts, allowing the sharing of practices and experiences that come directly from the field. On the platform, practitioners can document their experience, compare technologies and discuss sanitation solutions adapted to different crisis contexts.

"Octopus is not only a literature resource, [...] it’s also a tool for information sharing, discussion and coordination"
Alberto Acquistapace, Solidarités International WASH (Water and Sanitation and Hygiene) Technical Advisor


In 2017, Solidarités International (SI) started imagining the Octopus platform, an online platform where practitioners could exchange knowledge on faecal sludge management (FSM) in emergency contexts. Research had confirmed what we knew from experience: that disposing of faecal sludge is a significant problem in humanitarian contexts and that improper decisions are often made.


Alberto Acquistapace, SI WASH (Water and Sanitation and Hygiene) Technical Advisor, was here at the creation of the platform and explains its evolution.

“We knew there was a gap in FSM guidance, but it was difficult to know what it was, as sanitation practitioners have different backgrounds, responsibilities and therefore needs. The research of Borda at the beginning of the project made us understand that practitioners trust peer-to-peer discussion and advice, especially when endorsed by a recognised institution like the WASH Cluster, and they prefer contextualized resources.

“This is why Octopus was born to collect contextualised case studies among practitioners responding to the same crisis. There was, however, the need to have a common language and a way to rapidly share and compare different FSM methodologies, that’s why all the case studies come with the same template and with some well identified indicators. In this way Octopus is not only a literature resource, but it’s also a tool for information sharing, discussion and coordination that support the WASH Clusters and its Sanitation Technical Working Groups’ mandate”

Therefore, SI has been working with the Global WASH Cluster (GWC) and Oxfam to develop the platform further and better respond to the practitioners’ needs. During the Octopus process, the case studies on feacal sludge treatment are collected through the local WASH cluster technical working groups, and so far, this process has been implemented in two contexts. Nine case studies from Myanmar and Bangladesh are now published on the website.

As Marine Ricau, Octopus project coordinator for SI, describes: “It was very rewarding working with the practitioners that are implementing FSM solutions in Rakhine, Myanmar. There were great exchanges of experience between them thanks to the collaborative case study collection process. People are also reaching out by email to ask questions on the published case studies. This shows great interest, and that the platform answers a need.”


Considering the good feedback received and the extensive use of the platform, SI wants to continue developing it further. We plan to exhaustively collect all case studies from humanitarian settings where there is fecal sludge treatment. We are also working with the GWC to improve the website so we can hand over its management to them. We also have plans to develop new sections on the website, with trainings and additional information related to the Covid-19 crisis. We hope to make the Octopus platform a reference tool for the WASH sector in FSM activities.

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