Visitors' Perspectives


Reflections on Research: Biogeochemist Gavin McNicol shares insights from his research at SOIL

Gavin McNicol and a team of researchers at SOIL's compost facility in Haiti. Earlier this summer, SOIL was pleased to share newly published research in the journal Nature Climate Change  that revealed groundbreaking analysis on SOIL’s sanitation solution and climate mitigation potential.  We are particularly grateful for the remarkable and dedicated team of researchers who worked on this research with SOIL, and who are endeavoring to help solve the global climate crisis while simultaneously promoting the inclusivity of vulnerable and less privileged populations in the ...

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How We Perceive Waste Is Dependent Upon Our Mindsets

Hiking in the mountains
We often ask our visitors to guest write a blog post for the SOIL website to give our readers a chance to see how SOIL’s work looks from different perspectives. After spending a day dumping poop buckets, recent SOIL visitor, Benjamin Swift, had a lot to say about the concept of waste! I visited Haiti for the first time this spring and I am just beginning to get my feet wet in the ocean of complex issues that the country faces. Therefore getting a chance to stop by SOIL and see their work in action was a fascinating experience! I spent the first morning of my SOIL ...

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Compost & Climate Research Interns (Stajye Klima ak Konpòs)

Gavin, Junior, and Darline model the adapted buckets used as chamber bases for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from the compost piles. Stajye Klim ak Konpòs: Introducing SOIL’s first Climate and Compost Research Fellows! Every day, SOIL is showing that ecological sanitation (EcoSan) can provide an impressive array of sustainability benefits. SOIL’s EcoSan model provides dignified sanitation, removes harmful pathogens from the environment, and recycles waste into nutrient-rich compost. Recently, scientists have also started evaluating whether ecological ...

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Guest Post: The EcoSan Frontier

The following guest post is by Tucker Cahill Chambers, who took the above photo of SOIL's waste treatment site in northern Haiti, where Tucker spent time with SOIL last week. Here is what Tucker has to say about the experience: I first encountered ecological sanitation in a little town in the south of France, where I lived on a ecological family farm for a year. An off-the-grid cattle and mule farm atop a windswept and water-scarce plateau, the family made every effort to consume conscientiously and close resource loops wherever possible. Naturally, we used dry toilets ...

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Disinfecting Urine and Being “Claire Twa”

Hello! My name is Claire or, as I was known around the office, “Claire Twa” (meaning Claire Three), since there were two other women named Claire working there at the time. I am a Master of Public Health student in Environmental Health at Emory University, and I worked with SOIL this summer to study various inexpensive and easy ways to disinfect urine before disposal. I tested the addition of different levels of ashes, vinegar, and Clorox since these three materials are accessible and inexpensive. SOIL’s style of Ecological Sanitation (the safe re-use of the ...

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SOIL Board Visits Haiti

The SOIL Board of Directors visited Haiti in late March - one of our Board members shared his thoughts and impressions with us. We found his words incredibly moving, and wanted to share them with all of our friends and supporters, as well. Haiti is uniquely beautiful and compelling, and we believe this story will touch your hearts as it has ours.  A 3-year girl saunters in. An older friend, sister, or cousin pulls her back as she approaches the SOIL Board members, who are visiting neighborhoods in Cap-Haitien where people use SOIL household and community composting ...

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Dubout Soccer Team Biding Their Time for a Comeback

When you walk into SOIL’s Cap-Haitien office, you won’t miss the beautiful trophy in place of pride next to the SOIL mission statement. While SOIL has won plenty of accolades for our work in ecological sanitation, this particular trophy is actually a symbol of the team’s other passion and area of expertise: soccer. Last summer, the Cap-Haitien office faced off against the local champions, the Dubout Sport Club. Dubout had recently won a regional tournament in Caracol and had taken home the trophy – the trophy that the “Ekip SOIL” (SOIL Team) then seized ...

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Katy the Carpenter Making it Happen

Katy Miliane laughed when I asked if her two-women toilet manufacturing cooperative had a name. “No,” she said, “this is just something that I do.” And she does it well, winning multiple construction bids from SOIL and producing over 80 ecological sanitation (EcoSan) ferrocement toilets in the past year. Last year, SOIL’s Cap-Haitien Technical Director Josaphat Augustin invited women from the nearby towns of Dubout and Limonade to participate in a two-week toilet construction training course. After the course, Katy and her partner Rosie were ready to start ...

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Moonshot Sanitation

Before I arrived in Haiti for my Sustainable Development Internship with SOIL, my friends and family sent me a series of articles about wastewater treatment technology and the latest research on sanitation in poor countries (watch Bill Gates drink a glass of water made from poop!). A friend compared the research and development happening to address the global sanitation crisis to a moonshot, an allusion to the U.S. Apollo moon landing mission, i.e. the intense application of resources to a big technical problem that needs to be solved in a short time-frame. Moonshot ...

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OAEC Guest Blog: The SOIL Permaculture Design Process

The SOIL Permaculture Design Process After touring the SOIL collection and processing sites around Cap-Haitien, we arrived at the SOIL office, farm, and associated KOMOP farm properties (KOMOP is a farm collective of SOIL staff members whose name is a combination of Komite = Committee and Opòtinite = Opportunity). SOIL recently completed the construction of their beautiful new office complex and were ready to move to the next phase of succession towards integrating the building into their surrounding property and creating a comprehensive demonstration site. SOIL...

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