Navigating the challenges in Haiti: A Conversation with SOIL’s EkoLakay Manager
Our Haitian staff members remain safe in Cap-Haitien as we continue to navigate the current challenges with a robust emergency response plan and an incredibly dedicated group of employees. The team has, against all odds, continued to provide weekly sanitation service to over 2000 households subscribed to the EkoLakay service.
We want to take the time to highlight a few of SOIL’s sanitation heroes who have tirelessly worked with adjusted schedules, often in the very early hours, to ensure that service continues for every family with a SOIL toilet.
We’re pleased to introduce EkoLakay Manager Sebastien Jabouin Jacques!
Interviewer: How are you and your family doing right now?
Sebastien: My family and I are doing fine, but worried about the current situation in Haiti.
Interviewer: What does a typical work day look like for you? Are you able to work?
Sebastien: A typical workday is different right now as we are operating under a state of emergency. My working day is stressful as I supervise the team in the field where the situation can get worse at any moment. I only feel relieved when all staff are home safe and sound. I sometimes work in the office when it is possible to get there otherwise, I work remotely. And when I get to the office, I check the news from time to time so I can leave the office before protests start.
Interviewer: How is the current situation in Haiti affecting your ability to do your job?
Sebastien: The situation makes it difficult to maintain our operations. As the telecom companies are facing a lack of fuel, it is difficult to work remotely because the WiFi connection is unstable most of the time. Additionally, resolving issues as they arise in a state of emergency affects our KPIs and budget. The fuel outage impacts not only our budget and communication but creates uncertainty regarding operations. The situation is impacting my ability to focus on other matters, as staff safety and ensuring our customers receive sanitation service becomes my main focus.
Interviewer: How do you think SOIL is navigating these challenges?
Sebastien: SOIL is operating in a difficult situation and is facing many different challenges every day, which requires adjusting and planning accordingly while trying to keep our staff safe and continue to provide sanitation service to our customers.
Interviewer: What inspires you to continue to do this work despite all of the challenges?
Sebastien: What really inspires me to keep working is knowing that the communities rely on us to provide a dignified sanitation service. While facing so many problems in the country, it is rewarding to know that we are doing our best to address one of them. Also, the team’s dedication to continue working during such difficult times, especially in the field, is another source of inspiration.
Interviewer: Is there anything you’d like to add or share about the current situation?
Sebastien: I do hope the government and the people could come to an agreement that would lead the country toward development, peace, and unity so that we can leave this stage for good.
Interviewer: Is there anything you’d like to add about what other members of your team are doing?
Sebastien: Even though the roads are blocked and there is constant tension on the street, the team is always motivated, dedicated, and flexible to keep the EkoLakay service running.
We want to thank Sebastien for his commitment and inspiring management during these difficult times. We hope you join us in sending encouragement – leave a comment below!
Your continued support of SOIL is more critical than ever before. Maintaining access to in-home sanitation protects families and communities against public health crises and waterborne disease, and is intricately tied to human dignity. As we work to keep families safe and healthy, we thank you for being a part of our community and helping to ensure our doors stay open.
Please keep Haiti in your hearts in the days and weeks to come.
SOIL depends on individual donations from people like you to fund our work in Haiti. Please consider supporting SOIL today.