Press Release: Cell Phone Powered Poop Tracking Advances Haiti Waste Treatment

The SOIL team is going high tech, using smart phones to streamline poop collection and compost production.

Our friends and collaborators from re.source have helped develop a system for SOIL, using an open source data collection platform called Open Data Kit, to record and track all of the composting and collection data from their phones.

This technology will help SOIL streamline waste collection and cut down on errors. This is a critical development in SOIL and re.source’s new initiative to design and implement a social business model for providing household sanitation. In the coming months we’ll begin installing private household toilets throughout the Shada neighborhood of Cap-Haitien. SOIL staff will immediately track all the metrics in their phones and when they get back to the office they’ll upload them for analysis. SOIL staff, re.source researchers and graduate students from Haiti and around the world will then have a treasure trove of metrics to use when designing system improvements and helping to create a responsive sanitation delivery model that can be used across Haiti.

[box]”The data we collect will give us a better understanding of how fast our customers are filling their waste containers, how efficient we are, and where we can cut costs. For now, waste collection frequency is a huge cost driver, and we’ll use our data to optimize collection routes and hopefully even predict future collection needs… In a service where timely collection is critical but costs are driven by the frequency of collection, it pays to get the timing right. And that’s just the beginning. The better we get at tracking our system, the cheaper we can offer our service. The cheaper our service is, the more people will be using snazzy, clean toilets.” –Sebastien Tilmas, Stanford University re.source[/box]

About re.source:
re.source is a start-up team based out of Stanford University, funded by a Grand Challenges Explorations Phase 1 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The re.source team is partnering with SOIL to help design an improved household EcoSan toilet and a social business model for providing household sanitation in urban slums. See other blog posts by and about the re.source team here.

About SOIL:
SOIL is a US 501c3 grassroots organization working in Haiti to facilitate the community-identified priority of ecological sanitation (EcoSan), where human wastes are converted into valuable fertilizer. EcoSan simultaneously tackles some of Haiti’s toughest challenges – providing improved sanitation to people who would otherwise have no access to a toilet and producing rich organic compost critical for agriculture and reforestation. Since building Haiti’s first EcoSan toilet in 2006, SOIL has gone on to become one of the country’s largest sanitation providers. Visit to learn more.

Testing cell phone technology for poop tracking.

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