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 Chile by Americans, and now with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working in Kenya with refugees from South Sudan and Somalia. After first meeting at a sustainable sanitation conference in South Africa, SOIL and Sanivation staff have been in touch ever since – sharing ideas, technology, and even toilets – half way around the world!
Like SOIL, Sanivation is operating a household toilet service, collecting the waste, and transforming it into a useful resource (in their case, creating charcoal briquettes for household fuel). Sanivation focuses on unlocking potential in waste streams, and durable, cost-effective technology is essential to achieving that aim. So when Sanivation went looking for new toilets to replace the wooden ones they had used previously, they turned to SOIL, since we’ve done a fair amount of experimenting with our models. We happily shared pictures of our ferro-cement toilets and information about the construction process – and when Sanivation’s construction team had technical challenges, we got them on the phone with one of SOIL’s masons. Likewise, during a recent chat with Sanivation co-Founders Andrew Foote and Emily Woods, I got to ask about the nuances of their collection system, and we also spoke about continuing collaboration on other areas, like pathogen testing after waste treatment process.
A Sanivation visit to Haiti is hopefully in the works for this fall, and perhaps SOIL will get to visit Sanivation’s projects in Kenya in the future. In the meantime, Andrew is pleased that our cross-country collaboration will continue: “Sanivation and SOIL have really similar approaches and passions… It’s been really great to have SOIL as a mentor.”