Staff Reports


Scaling Up a Household Toilet Service – One Neighborhood at a Time

SOIL EkoLakay Collection Depot
(Photo credit: Monica Wise) Over 2.5 billion people globally currently lack access to sanitation. As a heartbreaking result, over 2,200 children under the age of five die every day from preventable diarrheal diseases. Despite billions of dollars spent on sanitation interventions, the global population continues to suffer from the lack of access to safe sanitation. Part of the problem is that traditional sewer systems require considerable up-front capital investment, and depend on the availability of reliable water and energy supplies. In contrast, SOIL’s believes ...

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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 ...

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Breaking Down All the Costs

As SOIL works to expand and continually improve our household toilet service, EkoLakay, we are constantly evaluating and reassessing our costs. To do this successfully, we need to have a detailed breakdown of what our costs are –how much we’re spending, what we’re spending money on, and what each facet of our program costs. Last year I started researching and analyzing EkoLakay service costs at the household level, meaning breaking down our cost analysis further to examine how much each piece of the program costs per household. We believed that by breaking down the ...

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New Beginnings: SOIL’s New Compost Site in Port-au-Prince

Regular readers of SOIL's blog may remember that we committed to transforming our composting site at the municipal waste dump in Truitier into a green oasis. Just over one year after starting operations in Truitier, we had made significant progress on this transformation and updated all of you with the blog:  Transforming Truitier. Since then, the trees have continued to grow and hundreds of butterflies have taken up residence in the site, creating a beautiful oasis within the municipal dump site. Scenes from SOIL's green compost side in the Port-au-Prince city ...

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The Sanitation Saleswoman

Algate Joseph has been part of the SOIL team since 2012. She originally had a 1-month trial contract, which turned into years of dedicated contribution to SOIL’s mission. Because of her positive energy, tireless commitment to community engagement and education, and increased responsibility in the EkoLakay program, SOIL Cap-Haitien honored Algate as the employee of the month in January 2016! I interviewed Algate to see what drives her to work so hard to improve sanitation in her community. She doesn’t say so in the interview, but she brought in a whopping 227 new ...

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Don’t Take My Picture

“Don’t take my picture!” This was a phrase that I heard over and over while working on a case study video for SOIL with the New-York based filmmaker Monica Wise. Although this was Monica’s first trip to Haiti, she is both an experienced traveler and fearless behind the camera, spending hours at SOIL’s waste treatment site with a mask protecting her mouth, getting close and personal with the team while they dumped buckets of human waste. Nothing fazed her. “I can hide behind the camera. As long as I’m filming, I’m so focused on what I’m trying to ...

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Our Ambasadris

Her name is Joachim Gracius Philomene, but everyone knows her as Madame Bwa, or just Manman (the Creole word for "mother"). But no matter what you call her, the Ambasadris of SOIL North Haiti plays a crucial role in our work. Since the inception of SOIL in 2006, she has been spreading the word and helping change the health and sanitation of families throughout Cap-Haitien. She is met with respect and gratitude wherever she goes, and her word goes far with young and old alike. Madame Bwa is an inspirational community organizer in the neighborhood of Shada II, where she has ...

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Spreading Compost Love

Jean Delinoit works at SOIL as part of the agricultural team, helping to water the experimental gardens, take care of the animals, and working with the rest of the agriculture team on project implementation. He sees first-hand the benefits of SOIL compost in terms of soil amelioration and increases in food productivity. His dream is to further develop the area of Dubout (the area where he resides, and where our SOIL office is located) agriculturally, and to increase Haitian food culture and food security. Therefore, in his free time, he’s taken to working with a group of ...

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DNA Everywhere! (Or At Least From California to Haiti)

Safety is not something SOIL takes lightly. Haiti is battling the deadliest cholera epidemic in recent history, and diarrhea is the number one killer of children under five, so making sure that our waste treatment process kills off pathogens and results in safe compost is literally a matter of life and death. There are many components to SOIL's safety system, from training families in good hygiene and toilet maintenance practices, to implementing (and surpassing) the World Health Organization's standards for composting human waste, each integral to preventing the spread ...

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California Dreaming: SOIL's Agriculture Director Heads to Sustainable Farming Training

We are pleased to announce that our Cap-Haitien Agricultural Director, Romel Toussaint, has been awarded a scholarship to the Ecology Action six month internship! In this program, participants get involved in hands-on research in sustainable agriculture and closed-system food production using  GROW BIOINTENSIVE techniques. These practices maximize the effect of natural processes to improve sustainability and productivity. Double-dug beds, with soil loosened to a depth of 24 inches, aerate the soil, facilitate root growth, and improve water retention. Close plant ...

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