34 results for author: Shannon Smith


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 ...

Celebrating World Handwashing Day

SOIL has a history of participating in international days of recognition such as World Hand Washing Day (October 15) and World Toilet Day (November 19). Many of you have joined us in sharing your #Unselfies telling what sanitation means to you. And while these holidays come around every year, the celebration is unique each time. This year, Hand Washing Day came in the wake of Hurricane Matthew as cholera cases started to spike up yet again. Most people know that the simple habit of hand washing can prevent waterborne diseases like cholera, but it can be easy to forget to wash up before eating a snack or touching your face (I’m sure many of us ...

Severe Flooding Devastates Cap-Haitien

When the news of the approaching Hurricane Matthew started to circulate in Haiti in early October, residents of the northern city of Cap-Haitien hurriedly prepared for the worst. They were largely spared, unlike the cities in the Southwest which are still experiencing widespread devastation as a result. Tragically, while everyone’s attention was fixed on the suffering in the South, Cap-Haitien received the rain they had been expecting a month earlier.  Starting on Friday, November 4th, Cap-Haitien was battered under torrential rains. Over 15 inches of rain fell from 5 to 11 pm, flooding every major street, in some cases higher than waist-deep. ...

Hurricane Matthew Relief in Southern Haiti

First of all, thank you. Thank you to so many of you who reached out to SOIL to make sure that we are ok here in Haiti; to the hundreds who have donated to our relief fundraiser; to our friends and staff here in Haiti who put all hands on deck to organize a trip down to the south to bring much needed supplies and support to those who have lost loved ones, homes, livelihoods. Your outpouring of love and support has been truly touching. We are relieved that all of our staff are all safe, but many have family in the south whose homes were destroyed. At this point, nearly 900 people are confirmed to have died during Hurricane Matthew in southern ...