Learning from the Best

Learning from the Best

I wrote a few weeks ago that SOIL is focusing on staff capacity building for some exciting new projects this fall. We began in August with an all-staff EcoSan training workshop, so that all employees could have a more detailed understanding of the full scope of SOIL’s work. But that first workshop was only the beginning! Our second initiative was the brainchild of SOIL’s newly-formed marketing committee. The committee was created to plan a marketing strategy for Konpòs Lakay, SOIL’s organic compost, and Twalèt EkoMobil, our...

read more

BBC: Haiti’s Fight Against Disease With The Eco Toilet

BBC: Haiti’s Fight Against Disease With The Eco Toilet

By Lorena Arroyo for the BBC. 16 September 2014 The 2010 Haitian earthquake displaced thousands of people, with many still living in temporary camps. Poor sanitation has caused serious health problems in the country – but could a special eco toilet improve the situation? Lorena Arroyo reports from the Haitian capital Port Au Prince. See the video:...

read more

September 2014 Newsletter: Thank You for Investing in Us

September 2014 Newsletter: Thank You for Investing in Us

Dear friends, Looking for a job in Haiti can be a heartbreakingly difficult task. Every year thousands of talented young people graduate from Haiti’s universities trained in agronomy, engineering, economics, education, and medicine, yet, despite their eager efforts, their chances of finding a good job are extremely limited. According to the Economist, “around three-quarters of Haitians are either unemployed or try to make ends meet in the informal economy.” Supporting sustainable market-based solutions in Haiti is critical to...

read more

(In-)Kind Gestures

(In-)Kind Gestures

There are still 104 days until Christmas, but here at SOIL, we’re hoping Santa might come early with a few items for our team (we promise that we’ve been good)! If you’d be willing to make an in-kind donation for any of the following items, please contact donations@oursoil.org for more information: iPhones As Will Ferrel once said, “Before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.” For all of you cool kids getting an iPhone 6, consider donating...

read more

‘Humanure’ May Be an Answer to Haiti’s Tragic Cholera Epidemic

‘Humanure’ May Be an Answer to Haiti’s Tragic Cholera Epidemic

by Sara Fanning and Rob Curran in the Global Post. DENTON, Texas — Haiti has never fully recovered from the devastating earthquake of 2010. Widespread homelessness, impassable roads, food insecurity, and access to clean drinking water continue to hinder recovery efforts. But perhaps the biggest problem is created by one of the most basic human functions—defecation. Cholera, though eliminated before the earthquake, has come roaring back and shows little sign of abating. This deadly disease is spread through contact with infected feces....

read more

SOIL Featured in Hystra Report, “Designing the Next Generation of Sanitation Businesses”

SOIL Featured in Hystra Report, “Designing the Next Generation of Sanitation Businesses”

The world is experiencing a global sanitation crisis, and the majority of available sanitation technologies are dependent on scarce water resources, cause a cascade of negative environmental consequences, have prohibitively high start-up costs, and are financially unsustainable. The effects of this crisis are particularly devastating in Haiti, where diarrhea accounts for 16% of deaths in children under 5. In order to address this crisis, a small group of innovative non-profits (including SOIL!) and social businesses are beginning to test the...

read more

Back to School Time!

Back to School Time!

The weather has been sweltering here in Haiti, so it’s a bit hard to believe that it’s actually Back to School time. But my Facebook feed is full of adorable children heading off to the first day of school with bright smiles and oversized backpacks, and here in Haiti, families are paying their school fees, fitting uniforms, and making other preparations for the school to begin in a few weeks. This fall, SOIL is having a bit of educational fun of our own. With some exciting new projects before us (more on that soon!), we’re planning...

read more

Liberation Ecology in Unexpected Places: SOIL’s Porta-potty Makeover

Liberation Ecology in Unexpected Places: SOIL’s Porta-potty Makeover

Those of you who have been following SOIL for some time may know that we align with the philosophy of liberation ecology, a paradigm in which “waste” does not really exist, whether it refers to discarded materials or to people. And while it may sound obvious that people cannot be “waste,” the very frustrating reality is that our societies’ most marginalized people are often treated like they are disposable. This is a problem that goes beyond the question of ecological sustainability, and yet it is closely related. We believe in...

read more

Foundation Beyond Belief: SOIL is Not Just About Poop — It is About People

Foundation Beyond Belief: SOIL is Not Just About Poop — It is About People

By AJ Chalom, originally posted on Foundation Beyond Belief “Soil is a product that we often take for granted. It is largely present here in the United States, and it is necessary our farming and food structure. However, in the developing world, healthy soil is not prevalent, leading to a host of problems. Next time you walk by your bathroom, take a peek at your toilet. The waste from your toilet leaves your house with water and goes somewhere to be treated, using resources that are precious in many places where water is not readily...

read more

Staff Development

Staff Development

After nearly 10 months working at SOIL, I can tell you that there are many, many wonderful things about my fellow employees. They are deeply committed to advancing SOIL’s mission and doing their jobs well. They see each other not just as co-workers, but as a family. So it may come as no surprise that our employees are always looking for ways to further their education and professional growth – and when they find opportunities, SOIL is more than happy to support them. From ensuring that all of our employees can read and write, to...

read more

SOIL Is Hiring: Seeking an EkoLakay Project Manager!

SOIL Is Hiring: Seeking an EkoLakay Project Manager!

SOIL is seeking a full time EkoLakay Project Manager to support the scale up of SOIL’s social business pilot for providing sustainable household sanitation in Port-au-Prince. We are looking for someone passionate about researching, designing, implementing, and improving social business models for the sustainable private-sector provision of ecological sanitation services. Thank you for sharing this announcement widely and helping us find the right person to join our passionate and dynamic team! Position Description The full position...

read more

SOIL and Medair: Doing Development Right

SOIL and Medair: Doing Development Right

By Nick Preneta and Erica Lloyd The international NGO Medair works in 10 countries around the world, with projects that cover everything from bringing emergency food supplies into crisis zones, to reducing long-term disaster risk by earthquake-proofing homes and community buildings. Although Medair clearly differs from SOIL in the size and scope of their work, we actually have some pretty important things in common – a belief in the dignity of all people, a methodology that invests in local leadership and local economies, and a...

read more

Haitian Perspectives: Opportunities in Agriculture

Haitian Perspectives: Opportunities in Agriculture

When SOIL employee Joasil “Tidou” Lucny and I sit down together once a week, he patiently teaches me Haitian Creole and I help him to improve his English. He told me that he dreams of becoming an agronomist, so I asked him if he would like to write about the topic below to share with our followers, and he was very happy to share his experience and insights! “How did you begin working in agriculture and why do you think that agriculture is important for young people in Haiti?” Tidou: I feel at ease in writing about this subject because...

read more

Forbes: Why A Toilet Alone Won’t Do The Job: The ‘Software’ Of Sanitation Innovation

Forbes: Why A Toilet Alone Won’t Do The Job: The ‘Software’ Of Sanitation Innovation

By Jessica Altenburger in Forbes, July 31, 2014 “The 2015 goal to halve the proportion of people living without sanitation is running 150 years behind schedule.” – WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation 2010 Since 2008, the “International Year of Sanitation,” the topic of toilets has more frequently appeared in media all over the world. Despite many efforts, today there are still 2.5 billion people worldwide without access to improved sanitation. Why? Because a toilet alone won’t do the...

read more

Garden in a Bottle

Garden in a Bottle

At SOIL we’re all about the small details. By focusing first on quality, we are able to avoid the pitfalls that were all too common in the post-earthquake surge of development organizations (such as the construction of  internally displaced persons camps that had inadequate and non-user-friendly toilet options). Many organizations did fantastic emergency response work, but others focused too much on the numbers that they reported to donors and failed to work together with other groups, especially local ones. Along with attending to the...

read more

SOIL is Hiring! Seeking a Port-au-Prince Regional Director

SOIL is Hiring! Seeking a Port-au-Prince Regional Director

SOIL is seeking a Regional Director for our Port-au-Prince office. We’re looking for someone who can help us move forward on a range of exciting projects designed to increase access to sustainable sanitation in Haiti and share what we’ve learned with other entrepreneurs and implementers around Haiti and globally. We are particularly interested in candidates with experience in social business development and/or sanitation marketing. Thank you for sharing this announcement widely and helping us find the right person to join our...

read more

A Global Partnership for a Global Issue

A Global Partnership for a Global Issue

More than 4 billion people around the world lack access to safe sanitation – about half of the world’s population.  So while SOIL is particularly focused on Haiti, we recognize that sanitation is global issue.  Our Guide to Ecological Sanitation, first published in 2011, has been accessed by people in 79 different countries. Members of our staff have traveled near and far to both learn from and teach others who are working on sanitation access. One such partner, Sanivation, is incredibly global in its own right: it was founded in...

read more

Vice: Could Pooping in a Box Save the Developing World?

Vice: Could Pooping in a Box Save the Developing World?

By Alexis K. Barnes in Vice June 3, 2014 Joe Jenkins has been saving his shit for 37 years. The 61-year-old thinks that to do otherwise—to flush the toilet after you’ve finished defecating into it—is a waste of perfectly good drinking water and valuable turds. Instead, you should do your business in a box to collect your household’s urine and poop, then add that waste to your compost bin and use it to fertilize your garden. Jenkins began writing a book on human composting in the early 90s as a master’s thesis at Pennsylvania’s...

read more

From Fields to Formulas: Part I

From Fields to Formulas: Part I

I am Andrew Coco, a Sustainable Development Intern with SOIL this summer.  I studied Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainability at the University of Vermont and have been friends with SOIL for the past four years.  My official title is Konsiltan Agrikilti (Agricultural Consultant) and I am assisting SOIL with map-making, compost application history, laboratory work, and photography.  My work so far has been exciting, and there has never been a shortage of ways to get involved! Last week I got to join the SOIL team at our...

read more

EcoSan Combats Climate Change

EcoSan Combats Climate Change

What is SOIL’s ecological footprint? We know that turning wastes into compost adds much-needed topsoil to Haiti’s eroding hillsides, and that it keeps the nutrients (not to mention the pathogens) from poop out of fresh water, but does it have ecological benefits in terms of reducing climate change? Dr. Rebecca Ryals, who is a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University, came to Haiti to help us answer those questions. Rebecca sought to partner with SOIL because she is drawn to the intersection between science, public health, and...

read more