Digital Tools & Sanitation: SOIL Featured in GSMA

 EkoLakay workers using digital tools for collection 

SOIL is working hard to transform the global sanitation crisis, and we know that it is going to take innovative solutions to provide safe and dignified sanitation options to those that are without. Throughout the years we have been working in Haiti, SOIL has demonstrated the ability to innovate and refine our model to meet the needs of vulnerable communities, while facing political, social, and environmental instability. This year alone, we’ve piloted multiple improvements to operational efficiency to optimize our service and increase customer satisfaction. One of our most successful innovations to date involves utilizing digital technology tools to increase the efficiency of our household toilet service, EkoLakay.  

SOIL’s digital innovations were featured in a recent blog post by GSMA, a global organization unifying the mobile ecosystem to deliver innovation for positive business environments and societal change. The blog explores the role of digital solutions in ensuring that container-based sanitation models, like SOIL’s, remain commercially viable.  

SOIL began using TaroWork’s digital tools in 2016, to collect payments, manage customer accounts, conduct research, and test marketing strategies. Since then, we’ve been using the data collected to optimize our logistics and make refinements to EkoLakay, like rolling out a mobile payment collection service. During that time, we were also working with DataKind to develop software that would optimize collection route efficiency to allow for future expansion. Since using the DataKind software, along with the TaroWorks app we’ve been able to reduce collection time and lower transportation costs.    

As mentioned in the article, mobile technology can also facilitate and improve revenue collection,  to reduce the burden on both clients and the service and increase efficiency. In countries such as Haiti, where mobile payments are less widespread, this can be difficult to achieve and often requires specific communication campaigns. SOIL implemented some of the first mobile payment tools for basic service and has ultimately been successful in achieving an over 80% adoption rate. 

While adopting a new technology in a context with little precedent can be challenging, SOIL was pleased with the uptake and the ability for technology to lower the barrier for customers’ ease of payment.  Having a system that can collect and manage customer contact information, household location, waste collection details, toilet repairs, bill payment, and other data in one central place has been a crucial step in refining our EkoLakay household toilet service.  Using digital tools is necessary for scaling the service as we continue to reach more vulnerable households in Haiti.  

We are thankful to GSMA for highlighting our work, and the work of other CBS providers, as we  continue to promote innovative, inclusive and sustainable solutions for the global sanitation crisis! Read the full article on GSMA here.        

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