Creating Greater Impact Together: Interview with DINEPA’s Jude Fanfan

Every day SOIL works to empower the communities we serve and close the inequality gap in vulnerable and low-resource populations. We’re focused on helping to build resilient systems for basic service provision through dignified, affordable and accessible sanitation service. Over the course of this year, we’ve focused on improving the efficiency of the service through cost reductions and piloting improvements in our composting waste treatment process. Our goal is to provide a sustainable household sanitation service of the highest quality that meets the needs of the most vulnerable populations.  

We believe that one of the best ways to improve our impact is by working alongside local agencies and community leaders to ensure sustainability, inclusivity and accessibility. Over the past few years, SOIL has worked closely with the Haitian Sanitation Authority (DINEPA) on multiple projects, including developing a framework to pilot a results-based financing contract that would subsidize household sanitation.  

We recently had the privilege to chat with a member of the DINEPA team, Jude Fanfan, a civil engineer and sanitation advocate, to discuss SOIL’s impact, the sanitation sector in Haiti, and the country’s future. You can read the full interview below:  

How did you first hear about SOIL?

OREPA-NORD (DINEPA’s regional office in the North) focuses on the management of faecal sludge and the reuse of water. SOIL, as an organization involved in resolving the sanitation crisis in Northern Haiti, is a partner of OREPA-NORD.  

How did you become involved with this work?

I visited SOIL’s treatment site in Mouchinette as part of a consultancy when I started working for OREPA-NORD in 2019. SOIL is the only organization that collects and converts human waste into resources in Northern Haiti.  

What do you think of the sanitation situation in northern Haiti?

The sanitation situation is critical and alarming in Northern Haiti for many reasons. People practice open defecation, people build houses without toilets, waste management is poor, the sanitation chain is not respected, and pit latrines are emptied manually.  

What is important about SOIL’s work from your perspective?

SOIL’s EkoLakay service provides people with access to an in-home toilet. Most of SOIL’s customers are people who did not have access to a toilet before.  SOIL collects the human waste, ensures its safe transport and converts it into compost which can be used for agriculture. I can say that SOIL follows the sanitation chain.  

What do you think about the household toilet technology – is it something that fits within your strategic plan for the city?

OREPA-NORD is working on a campaign called ACAT (Community Approach to full Sanitation), to raise awareness about the use of toilets. OREPA wants the population to understand the importance of having a toilet as a primary need and not an accessory. The service SOIL provides through EkoLakay fits within OREPA’s strategic plan for the city as it allows the households to have their own toilets.  

What do you think about converting human waste into resources – is this something that is of strategic importance for you?

SOIL has achieved one of OREPA’s goals by transforming human waste into compost. Transforming and reusing the waste is of great importance to OREPA and we hope that this sanitation chain can be established on the national level. SOIL’s compost can be used to develop the agricultural sector in Northern Haiti and even in other parts of Haiti.  

What are your goals for the next three to five years? What priorities will help you achieve them? What barriers are in your way?

My goals in the near future are to end open defecation in Northern Haiti and establish a sanitation chain to manage waste properly. My top priority is to educate people to understand the importance of having a toilet and learn to defecate properly. The barriers that can slow me down are the lack of financial resources and the political issues that arise in the country.  

How do you think we could work together to expand access to household sanitation in the coming years?

I think that SOIL and OREPA-NORD can work together to educate the population so they can use a toilet to defecate, which will be beneficial for them and the environment as well.  

Where do you hope to see Haiti in the next ten years?

In 10 years, I would like to see Haiti as an emerging country with economic progress and political stability, with strong waste management and waste treatment sites for all types of waste and where open defecation is no longer a problem as each family will have a toilet.  

Is there anything you’d like to add that you haven’t already told me?

I would like to thank SOIL for the service it provides in Cap-Haitien and the neighboring areas.  

SOIL is honored to work alongside the dedicated sanitation workers and advocates at both the local and national levels. Making sanitation accessible for all requires collaboration, innovation and a commitment from higher resource countries to help reduce the burden of global inequality. SOIL is proud to be making strides towards providing a model for safe and dignified sanitation services in urban Haiti and we will continue to work to fulfill our commitment to the communities we serve; one toilet at a time.  

We’d like to send a big thank you to Jude Fanfan for sharing his time and thoughts with our team!

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