10 Years of Iterative Improvement and Resiliency

Read SOIL’s February newsletter below. To receive stories like these directly in your inbox each month, click here to sign up for our mailing list.

Dear Friends,

Ten years ago this month, SOIL’s small Cap-Haïtien team was working around the clock in Haiti’s capital city to mount an emergency response to the earthquake that had struck a few weeks prior. SOIL’s immediate response was focused on emergency relief efforts like food and water distributions as well as transport and translation services for medical care, but we quickly returned to the specialty we had honed in northern Haiti: ecological sanitation.

Over a million people displaced by the disaster were living under tarps, sheets, and tents spread across thousands of internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Port-au-Prince. As is most often the case in the aftermath of natural disasters, these impromptu communities faced dangerous conditions with no safe way to manage waste. In the five years following the earthquake, SOIL’s emergency sanitation program would reach over 20,000 people with clean, safe sanitation and provide hundreds of jobs to people living in the IDP camps. SOIL’s toilets required no energy or running water and garnered international attention for being a cost-effective and user-approved service in emergency contexts.

Throughout this period, we also kept improving. In partnership with local communities, SOIL iteratively improved our toilet design, our collection logistics, our composting processes, and more. Our emergency intervention not only saved lives in the short term, it also informed our ultimate goal of creating a household sanitation service that could meet the needs of growing cities in Haiti and respond to the incredible demand for regenerative sanitation long into the future.

From all of us who have worked together since our early days and through the ups and downs of developing a resilient sanitation solution, we extend our deepest thanks to our partners and supporters here in Haiti and across the world. While we hope with all of our hearts that we never have a need to respond to a disaster like the 2010 earthquake again, we are here to stay.

With love from Haiti,

The SOIL team

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