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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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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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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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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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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