Sales Surge in Quartier Morin
At SOIL, we are constantly refining our strategy for operating our EkoLakay service, so that we can continue honing our service, increase efficiencies, and working towards the ideal model for a household sanitation service business in Haiti. Last year, the Cap-Haitien team decided to implement the “depot and local collection” model, where EkoLakay staff transport the full buckets of waste to centralized depots and/or pick-up points using modified wheelbarrows or three-wheel motorcycles, and the poop buckets are then transported from depots and pick-up points to SOIL’s composting facility.
We currently rent depots in each of our major service areas around Cap-Haitien: Shada, Avyasyon, and Fort-St-Michel. The depots serve the clients living in those neighborhoods as well as those living in nearby Petite Anse and Fougerolle.
The “depot and local collection” model aims to simplify logistics, reduce expenses related to collection and transport, and optimize the amount of time required from SOIL staff for waste collections. To continue investigating the potential of the model, we’ve strategically avoided entering new neighborhoods to increase the saturation of EkoLakay households in our existing neighborhoods. By increasing the geographic density of EkoLakay, we are able to decrease the marginal cost of collection per household. For example, when we install a new EkoLakay toilet along a current collection route, the incremental change in collection costs is less than when we install a new EkoLakay toilet in an area where there are no other EkoLakay toilets.
Quartier Morin (or Katye Moren in Creole) is the first new EkoLakay service zone we’ve entered in the past year. A few months ago, we were approached by FECHAN, a local NGO active in and around Cap-Haitien and with whom we’ve worked in the past, who expressed interest in subsidizing 20 household toilets in Quartier Morin for a year.
Even though Quartier Morin is outside of our service zones, we were interested in testing out another idea the team had been thinking about: Quartier Morin is characterized by certain geographic and socioeconomic characteristics that might be an indicator of strong demand, and the 20 subsidized households enabled our entry into a new zone with lower start up costs for SOIL, as we typically have to invest significant time and resources in marketing activities when we enter a new service area. Quartier Morin appears more affluent than many of the neighborhoods where we work, and it’s located along the corridor between Cap-Haitien and Ounaminthe where construction and industry activities are booming. Additionally, Quartier Morin’s proximity to our waste treatment site made it a cost-effective and logical location to provide services.
We are continuing to closely observe operations in Quartier Morin, but the early observations are all positive:
- On day 1 of installation, we installed 20 EkoLakay toilets for the households subsidized by FECHAN, as well as 11 on-the-spot installations!
- We installed a record 82 EkoLakay toilets in March, 52 of which were for households in Quartier Morin.
- During hygiene promotion visits, we found all the households in Quartier Morin keep their toilets exceptionally clean and have a clear understanding of how to use and maintain the toilets.
- Quartier Morin’s payment rates for March and April are higher than those of other zones.
Our expansion to Quartier Morin is not only providing access to safe, dignified sanitation for over fifty more families, it’s helping SOIL to continue to improve our understanding of the demand for EkoLakay, as well as how we can be strategic with our marketing and day-to-day operations to maximize the public health impact of access to improved sanitation!