Wait List for SOIL Toilets in Cap-Haitien Grows to Over 575 Families

In October last year, SOIL and our partners at re.Source Sanitation launched a new project to build toilets throughout the Shada neighborhood of Cap-Haitien. In exchange for a small monthly user fee, SOIL regularly picks up toilet wastes and delivers them to a SOIL compost site for safe treatment. This is a revolutionary test of a new social business model for sustainably providing complete sanitation (toilets and waste treatment) that has the potential to significantly increase sanitation access in impoverished urban communities around the world.

How It Works

Potential customers in this pilot project are offered two different toilet options: a private household toilet or a communal toilet where up to four families share a key to a semi-private toilet. There are now over 2,500 people accessing a SOIL toilet through this system. Monthly toilet user fee payments of approximately $5 USD per toilet began in June 2013 and early results give a promising indication that families are willing and able to pay for sanitation services.

From toilets, to waste treatment, to compost production, to increased agricultural yields and reforestation: SOIL's full cycle approach to ecological sanitation.

Prior to SOIL providing sanitation services in these communities, the majority of people did not have access to sanitation and were forced to practice open defecation or use “flying toilets” (plastic bags often thrown into waterways or the ocean). Now SOIL’s customers are reporting that they are very happy with their new toilets and they also report feeling safer (as they do not need to go out at night to find a place to go to the bathroom) and healthier.

Growing Demand

SOIL believes that this low monthly user fees can cover the full cost of waste collection and toilet maintenance at a low break even point, but one of the most critical tests of whether this scale up of sanitation services will work is whether or not people are willing to pay for sanitation services. The exciting news from the Cap-Haitien SOIL Sanitation Team this week is that demand for toilets continues to greatly outpace supply. The wait list for SOIL toilets in Cap-Haitien is currently over 575 families long and more and more people are signing up everyday.

SOIL hopes to build 3,000 household and communal toilets around Cap-Haitien over the next three years – providing sustainable sanitation access to more than 22,000 people! Overtime as the monthly toilet fees cover the costs of waste collection, we plan to spinoff this component of our service to sanitation-sector social entrepreneurs that can help ensure that SOIL’s toilets are there for the long-term while also providing stable economic development in the community and producing hundreds of thousands of gallons of rich, organic compost for agriculture and reforestation.

It’s pretty amazing what can be accomplished with a toilet!

How You Can Help

Monthly toilet user fees cover the critical costs of the service and provide a potential pathway to solving Haiti’s long-term sanitation crisis, but we still need to fund the initial costs of the toilet to get people started in the program. We also have a lot of expansions to our waste treatment in the works… Individual donations complement SOIL’s grant funding to enable us to dream big and to respond to needs on the ground in Haiti.

Photo Updates from Cap-Haitien

(Check out the photos below or visit SOIL’s Flickr page to see the full slideshow.)

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Past blog posts About SOIL’s Sanitation Social Business:

Thanks To The Following Partners for Helping to Make This Project Possible

Konbit Sante

Konbit Sante

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Grand Challenges Canada

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Clinton Bush Haiti Fund


Also thank you to KOSS and the Inter-American Development Bank.

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