Behind the Scenes at SOIL: Four Operational Updates

  • SOIL team Discussion in Cap

Following a collaboration with a process redesign consultant, SOIL’s EkoLakay team in northern Haiti has been hard at work on operational improvements to build strong foundations for growth in Cap-Haitïen. Our primary objective is for SOIL to ensure we have the systems in place to work as effectively and efficiently as possible through the process of rapid growth in the years to come.

After completing a broader organization-wide assessment, SOIL’s operational team has been hard at work on a few specific projects to refine procedures and increase efficiency. A few examples of what we’ve undertaken and a update on progress we’ve make thus far:

+ Refining Bonzodè: In the past, the texture of bonzodè, the carbon cover material that serves as the “flush” in SOIL’s dry toilets, has not always been consistent. SOIL purchased a new grinder to ensure we can better control how the sugar cane bagasse is processed and produce a finer end-product. This finer bagasse creates a bonzodè that covers waste better. It also reduces the amount of material customers need to use for each “flush.” Beyond that, we are better able to mix compost or other dry material into the bonzodè which will reduce the amount of bagasse we use.

+ Adding New Customers: EkoLakay’s sales teams have carefully refined our approach to following up with families that express interest in joining the service. By reducing the time it takes to install new toilets and standardizing payment options, our sales teams are able to reduce costs and grow more quickly. There’s an obvious benefit for SOIL’s operation to be as efficient as possible, but these improvements also mean that once a family decides they’d like a toilet in their home, we can get it to them that much faster.

+ Improving Mobile Pay: Mobile pay is new both to Haiti and the families we serve in Cap-Haïtien. As a result, there are many challenges that arise in the transition from door-to-door payment collection to mobile payments for the small monthly user fee. Because it’s a critical cost reduction for SOIL to collect the user fee electronically, we incentivize mobile pay usage by providing a reduced price and investing the time to work with households to troubleshoot errors, streamlined payment error processing, and developed SMS payment reminders.

+ Getting Poop-Mobiles Back on the Road: SOIL’s poop-mobiles work hard as they make their way through rugged terrain and tight-winding roads on weekly collection. When they do break down, SOIL now has new protocols to keep vehicle parts in stock, quickly respond to breakdowns, and secure mechanics when we need them. We have to keep our motorcycles rolling!

Undertaking these improvements has been a patient, collective endeavor that has already started to pay off for our teams as we work to grow our impact in Haiti. When we share the news of record breaking months of toilet installations like we had this summer, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes that makes those victories possible. Here’s to continuing to improve what we do and how we do it as we strive to increase access to safe sanitation to as many people as possible in urban Haiti.

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