On 12 September, campaign to promote a citywide safe and regular septic tank emptying was launched in Khulna, with the slogan “Dear! Empty your Septic tank once every year!”. The campaign is part of the SNV project "Pro-poor market-based solutions for faecal sludge management" (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation).
The campaign was launched in the presence of Md. Moniruzzaman, Mayor, Khulna along with Rajeev Munankami, Team Leader and other staff members of the FSM project, Abdus Shaheen, Country Director of Water & Sanitation for Urban Poor, Prof. Dr. Muhammed Alamgir, Vice-chancellor of Khulna University of Engineering and Technology, and Professor Dr. Mohammad Fayek Uzzaman, Vice-chancellor of Khulna University, amongst others. In total approximately 700 people attended the event,, representing the local government, the Community Development Comittee (CDC), Nagorik Forum, teachers, students, building owners, media personnel and other stakeholders.
The event started with a welcome speech by Md. Iqbal Hussain, Chief Executive Officer of Khulna City Corporation. In his speech, the honourable Mayor said “We have started the campaign for safe and regular emptying services from today after ensuring that we are able to provide the safe emptying services with treatment plant, necessary equipment, service provider, vacutug etc. It is a result of three years work with the support from partners, stakeholders, researchers, students, teachers, sweepers, local leaders, decision makers, policy makers etc.”
These speeched were followed by the launching of the campaign logo, pot theatre, a quiz competition, a vacu-truck rally, and a press conference. A hotline number for emptying services was launched in which three mobile phone sets including three SIM Cards were handed over to Khulna City Corporation and CDC federation for emptying services. Finally, an award was handed over to Iqbal Hussain for winning the campaign tag-line competition.
The campaign targets Khulna city people, the main area where the project is based at, and focuses on disseminating the messages around safe and regular emptying, once every year. The expected result of the campaign is to generate city-wide awareness that will ultimately result in a demand increase for emptying services. The campaign and was borne out of the baseline study and formative research that helped to identify practices and behaviour patterns of mass people, related to FSM. This information fed into a BCC strategy that was led by the Khulna City Corporation, with support from SNV and worked as a benchmark to create a pathway in order to reach specific stakeholders with appropriate messaging. Currently, only 1 percent of people in Khulna use mechanical emptying services, while even less are aware of such facilities. Among those who are aware, very few are willing to pay for such services. The campaign, through various tools will make the Khulna city people aware of the various services, and create demand for business-like interventions.