Nurturing Long-term Collaboration in Cite Soleil

Daniel Tillias in Cap-Haitien
Daniel during a visit to SOIL in northern Haiti last year

Long-time SOIL partner and friend Daniel Tillias was recently nominated as a CNN hero in recognition of his transformative work in Haiti. Daniel is the co-founder of SAKALA, a community-building, sports, education and environmental organization in Cité Soleil and his organization has long used both SOIL toilets and compost in their garden!

We first met Daniel in 2004 and have been proud to partner in a variety of ways since then, including in the humanitarian response to the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Read an interview with Daniel below to learn more about how SAKALA uses SOIL’s lush, organic compost:


SOIL composting toilets in action at SAKALA’s soccer fields in Cite Soleil

“In 2010, when SOIL was in Port-au-Prince, [I made] my space available to SOIL toilets because it was a camp space [for internally-displaced people] at that time. Because I was already in the neighborhood, this facilitated SOIL to work with our camps which were settled. One of the first regions that SOIL started with the waste treatment of human waste was in that space that I got ready with SAKALA. So, the collaboration or togetherness is involved in all of this. I consider myself as a friend who exchanges advice for both our projects.”

The Urban Garden Using SOIL’s Compost

Compost in use on rooftop gardens in Cite Soleil!

“A field [at SAKALA] was abandoned, so we decided to change the color into green, the largest garden in the urban area… Right now, you can see biodiversity in Cité Soleil, it really gives a space where people can believe there’s possibility to have a garden like that in the community, and in the country. If Cité Soleil can do it, any other community can do it!

The approach is different to the traditional one. Our garden is made essentially out of tires instead of going straight to the ground. We have approximately 600 tires that have eggplants, okra, spinach, chard, carrots, tomatoes… and multiple other species.”

Using Compost to Pilot an Olive Garden

“We have used the SOIL compost [for] a long time, which has given us some interesting results. It was in the end to let people know of the importance of compost in the improvement of agriculture. Right now, we are doing a new experiment whereas we apply 100% SOIL compost in [the planting] of olive trees in order to have more consistent trees to adapt efficiently for reforestation.”

It has been an honor for SOIL to collaborate with Daniel and his team over the years and we are always so excited when we see a SAKALA compost order come in to hear news of the exciting projects they have underway to use the soil amendment to nurture agricultural growth and community empowerment in Cite Soleil. Happy gardening, friends!

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