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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Beautiful Things

Beautiful Things

There’s no escaping the fact that Cité Soleil has a reputation. Poor. Dirty. Violent. Googling the name turns up headlines like “The Most Dangerous Place on Earth” relating stories of horrifying gang violence during the 2004 coup that deposed President Aristide. The residents of Cité Soleil know all too well how they are viewed. “People think 75% of Cité Soleil is full of bad, violent people – that only 25% percent of the people here are good and care about their community,” says Michel Wilgimpson, a...

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TEDx Traverse City: “Transformation of Wastes to Resources” by Sasha Kramer

TEDx Traverse City: “Transformation of Wastes to Resources” by Sasha Kramer

TedX Traverse City is an annual event that brings together “the most innovative and inspiring minds… innovators who have passion, curiosity, creativity and adaptability to change the world with revolutionary ideas.” Sasha and SOIL were honored to be a part of this wonderful event on May 13, 2014. Check out the video from Sasha’s talk below and then check out the other speeches posted on the TEDx Traverse City’s website here. SOIL Executive Director, Dr. Sasha Kramer, speaking at TEDx Traverse...

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Letters to SOIL: From Toilets to Tuition

Letters to SOIL: From Toilets to Tuition

SOIL Letters is a blog series featuring some of the beautiful letters we’ve received over the years in support of the work we’re doing in Haiti. A few months ago, Tim Myers, the Co-Founder of the Haiti School Project, reached out to SOIL for help. Tim and HSP work with Foyer Divin School, which, like many schools in Haiti, lacks safe toilets for its students. Foyer Divin and HSP are working on a plan for constructing toilets to address this sanitation issue, and the Parent Committee (which makes many important decisions for...

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The Cover Story

The Cover Story

A few weeks ago, I wrote about SOIL’s progress in developing a working model for a sustainable sanitation business in Haiti. As I mentioned, we’ve had some really exciting successes, but also some serious challenges – like our cover material. If you’ve ever used a composting toilet, you know the importance of good cover material.  For the uninitiated, cover material is basically the “flush” that keeps the toilet from getting gross; covering the waste with some kind of dry material prevents it from smelling...

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Futbol Fever!

Futbol Fever!

World Cup fever has hit Haiti, and futbol is the subject of conversation everywhere you go. SOIL decided on a recent Friday afternoon to get it in on the fun! It was a match to remember: the SOIL staff against the local champions from the town of Dubout. The field was ready and the teams were chosen. The opposing team arrived with their championship trophy in hand. They looked impressive, and it seemed a tall order to compete with such skill. But the SOIL team had heart and spirit, and as the match commenced, we cheered from the sidelines,...

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June 2014 Newsletter: Honoring Exploration

June 2014 Newsletter: Honoring Exploration

Dear friends and fellow explorers, This is a special week in Washington as National Geographic celebrates the 2014 class of the Emerging Explorer’s Program, which honored SOIL’s work in 2011.  Following the example of National Geographic the SOIL team would like to use this month’s newsletter to celebrate the explorer in all of us.  We are so proud to be part of a team that is pushing the limits of exploration, each in our own special way. We gratefully acknowledge the work of the amazing Madame Bwa, our teacher and guide who...

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A Shout Out to the Explorer in All of Us

A Shout Out to the Explorer in All of Us

This is a special week in Washington as National Geographic celebrates the 2014 class of  Emerging Explorers.  SOIL’s work was honored in 2011 when SOIL Co-founder and Executive Director Sasha Kramer was recognized for our team’s groundbreaking work in waste transformation. The Emerging Explorers Program acknowledges and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring young adventurers, scientists, photographers, and storytellers who are making a difference in the world early in their careers.  From the deepest oceans to the farthest realms of...

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Our Ambasadris

Our Ambasadris

Her name is Joachim Gracius Philomene, but everyone knows her as Madame Bwa, or just Manman (the Creole word for “mother”). But no matter what you call her, the Ambasadris of SOIL North Haiti plays a crucial role in our work. Since the inception of SOIL in 2006, she has been spreading the word and helping change the health and sanitation of families throughout Cap-Haitien. She is met with respect and gratitude wherever she goes, and her word goes far with young and old alike. Madame Bwa is an inspirational community organizer in...

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Spreading Compost Love

Spreading Compost Love

Jean Delinoit works at SOIL as part of the agricultural team, helping to water the experimental gardens, take care of the animals, and working with the rest of the agriculture team on project implementation. He sees first-hand the benefits of SOIL compost in terms of soil amelioration and increases in food productivity. His dream is to further develop the area of Dubout (the area where he resides, and where our SOIL office is located) agriculturally, and to increase Haitian food culture and food security. Therefore, in his free time, he’s...

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Sweating Our Success

Sweating Our Success

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” -Thomas Edison If Thomas Edison was right, it’s no surprise that we are sweating it out here in Haiti – and not just because the summer has arrived. Genius is indeed the standard that SOIL is aiming for in our work to transform sanitation services in Haiti, and it’s every bit as much work as Mr. Edison said. In Haiti, as in many developing countries, sanitation services take two routes. First, there are humanitarian projects in poor...

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We’ve Got the Fever

We’ve Got the Fever

If you follow news about Haiti, it will come as no surprise to you to hear that SOIL has got the fever – chikungunya fever, that is. The virus, transmitted by mosquitoes, has arrived in Haiti and is making headlines while making residents miserable. In addition to fever, the virus can cause a prickly rash as well as excruciating joint pain; the name chikungunya comes from an African word that means “contorted with pain,” and the Kreyol nickname for the disease, kraze le zo, translates to “crushed bones.” While chikungunya...

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Theo Talks Episode 29: “I Have A Visitor On My Desk…. It’s the Tiger!”

Theo Talks Episode 29: “I Have A Visitor On My Desk…. It’s the Tiger!”

Meet SOIL North Haiti’s newest employee! In Episode 29 of our Theo Talks video series, the North Haiti Regional Director, Theo Huitema, introduces SOIL fans to the protege of the ever-ruthless Rat Catcher. Theo hired Ti Tig (Little Tiger) to keep the mice out of the office… or at least to look adorable while playing with office supplies. Sadly, Ti Tig’s work ethic leaves a bit something to be desired, but maybe it’s because he’s paid in...

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Together We Plant for Change!

Together We Plant for Change!

The 18th of May – Flag Day – is a day of pride and reflection for Haitians as the anniversary of the date when the first Haitian Flag was created after independence. All over the country celebrations happened: there were parades with marching bands and drill teams, gymnastics, music and presentations. Each school participated in activities to honor the day. SOIL invited students from the middle school College Bell Angelot to come learn about our activities and plant 135 trees (one for each student) on our grounds. We worked together to...

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DNA Everywhere! (Or At Least From California to Haiti)

DNA Everywhere! (Or At Least From California to Haiti)

Safety is not something SOIL takes lightly. Haiti is battling the deadliest cholera epidemic in recent history, and diarrhea is the number one killer of children under five, so making sure that our waste treatment process kills off pathogens and results in safe compost is literally a matter of life and death. There are many components to SOIL’s safety system, from training families in good hygiene and toilet maintenance practices, to implementing (and surpassing) the World Health Organization’s standards for composting human waste,...

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