37 results for author: Shannon Smith


Racing Our Way to A Sustainable City-Wide Sanitation Service

Let’s call it the “fill your container challenge,” (which, let me assure you, is quite different from the ice bucket challenge. You would not want to dump these containers over your head). Over the past two months, 16 of SOIL's EkoLakay sales staff were competing as a part of two teams to see who could install the most toilets in Cap Haitien. Many of the staff who took part in the challenge were relatively new to the team and we wanted a fun way to train them in marketing and sales, while incentivizing new toilet installations. So, we devised the container competition, complete with Instagram-ready graphics, to show our progress! The ...

Building a Safe Workplace for all SOIL Staff

Since it was first published in 2015, SOIL's Human Resources Manual has served to guide, unite, protect, and inform SOIL’s staff. The manual, written in Haitian Kreyòl, contains 24 pages with topics ranging from vacation time to salaries, confidentiality, performance evaluation, conflict resolution, and so on. Even though each employee goes over the entirety of the manual with their supervisors, SOIL felt it was worth investing the time in providing even further clarification and training on one subject: workplace harassment. After spending almost a year looking for someone who would offer such a training in Haiti, SOIL was delighted to find ...

Taking Satisfaction Seriously

Photo: Julie Jeliazovski So far this year, EkoLakay has carried out two comprehensive satisfaction surveys in order to gather quantitative and qualitative feedback on the household toilet service. We were pleased to see that customers overwhelmingly reported improved safety, health, and affordability. Despite very high overall satisfaction levels in both customer surveys in both Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien, a few customers in Port-au-Prince did note some issues with EkoLakay's cover material, bonzodè, which led us to look into the production protocol. Optimizing Production Protocols The Port-au-Prince EkoLakay team took this feedback ...

Expanding Access to Sanitation 73 Toilets at a Time

Photo: Tony Marcelli SOIL just wrapped up its fiscal year last month and we ended on a high note with 73 EkoLakay toilet installations in July alone. That’s more toilets than we had previously installed during any month this year! The majority of these new customers live in two densely populated urban areas in Cap-Haitien: Nan Bannann, a relatively new service area for EkoLakay, and Fort Saint Michel, a nearby neighborhood where SOIL has been working for several years. We don't have precise data on sanitation coverage in these neighborhoods, but local community-based organizations estimate that over 80% of people don't have access to a toilet....

EkoLakay Customer Satisfaction Report: Improved Safety, Health, and Affordability

What better time than during the dead heat of summer to charge up your smart phone and trek through the urban sprawl of Haiti to interview people about their toilets (or lack thereof)? Undeterred by the heat, this is exactly what the SOIL team has been up to this summer! The Port-au-Prince office just completed the first segment of this marketing research with a satisfaction survey to assess how current EkoLakay customers like their household EcoSan toilet. With just shy of 200 customers in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, our sample size was modest, but the results were fruitful. Over two years ago, a market study SOIL conducted ...

SOIL team saddened by US withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

As we shared last year, the SOIL team was pleased and proud that Haiti signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It was a generous, though symbolic, gesture for a country that only produces 0.01% of global carbon dioxide emissions but bears the impact of climate change more severely than most nations. Amidst valid criticisms that the Paris Agreement should loosen its scrutiny for developing nations and strengthen its overall targets, which have generally been assessed to be weak, Haiti gathered the political will to ratify the Agreement in 2017. Donald Trump recently tweeted that the United States would pull out of the Paris Agreement. For ...

Increasing Frugality in an Already Frugal Organization

It’s only May, but SOIL is already planning out the strategy for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which starts August 1st. As the Marketing and Sales Advisor in SOIL, I’ve been involved in the strategy planning for EkoLakay (SOIL’s household toilet service), EkoMobil (SOIL’s mobile toilet service), and SOIL’s waste treatment and compost production. It’s been exciting to see our team’s progress from the past two years that I’ve been participating in these strategy planning meetings. A new customer on SOIL's growing EkoLakay service, April 2017. The biggest difference is this year’s unanimous focus on business principles that will ...

SOIL Celebrates International Women’s Day

This year's International Women's Day theme is #BeBoldForChange. The World Economic Forum has predicted that the gender gap (which represents gender inequity in areas like health, wages, political representation, and access to and quality of education) won't fully close until 2186 – 169 years from now. Can we leverage International Women's Day as a catalyst to foment bold change and reject this stark forecast? At SOIL, women's voices are at the forefront of our work. Four of SOIL's seven organizational directors are women, including our executive director and co-founder Dr. Sasha Kramer, and three of the five SOIL advisors are women.  ...

EkoLakay reaches the 1000th Toilet Milestone!

Today is a day of celebration for SOIL - we just installed our 1,000th EkoLakay household toilet! EkoLakay would not exist without our clients, who pay for the service every month and in doing so, prove that ecological sanitation is a working alternative to other sanitation options like flush toilets or pit latrines. We want to thank each and every one of them. We are also so thankful for all of our friends and supporters, whose contributions subsidize the waste treatment component of the EkoLakay program. Our 1,000th client's name is Jean Nelson Arnoux. He lives in Port-au-Prince in a quiet neighborhood tucked behind a church and a ...

World Toilet Day: Working Together for Sanitation Coverage

Every year SOIL is thrilled to celebrate one of our favorite holidays, World Toilet Day, as a chance to share the importance of sanitation, and the urgency of fighting to ensure safe sanitation access across the globe. This year, we spent the day engaging with people in Pister, a community in northern Haiti during a World Toilet Day event. In particular, we dug into one question: What do toilets have to do with jobs? SOIL's Deputy Regional Director Emmanuel Antoine connected the dots, saying: "The workplace in Haiti is a place that too often neglects the question of sanitation. Toilets in the workplace are an important part of a strong economy, and ...