SOIL at World Water Week
It’s no secret that here at SOIL, we love poop and its resource potential. The creation of compost, and the revenue it generates, is an essential component of EkoLakay, SOIL’s household toilet social business pilot.
Fortunately, we’re not alone in our appreciation. This year’s World Water Week, one of the world’s largest events focused on water, sustainability, and development, featured a session on “Sanitation Business Models for Safe Resource Recovery and Reuse.” SOIL was honored to be among the presenters in this jam-packed session about current research and practices in the efforts to transform human waste into something safe, useful, and profitable.
SOIL, represented by acting Operations Director Nick Preneta, was one of five sanitation social businesses from around the globe that presented during the session. Nick gave an overview of the EkoLakay service, and the lessons SOIL has learned from the early stages of our pilot.
There were several interesting conclusions from the session. First, it recognizes the numerous challenges in creating self-sustaining social businesses in sanitation. No one has yet been able to create a full cycle sanitation system that is completely self-sustaining without waste treatment subsidies (for example, from the government), so we should celebrate making any part of the cycle profitable and keep working towards complete sustainability. It also emphasizes the need to invest in business and management training, as it is difficult to attract highly-skilled business people to a low-margin sector like sanitation. Finally, it highlights the importance of the ongoing work of SOIL and other practitioners in field-testing solutions and understanding – or creating – a market for end-products like compost.
Visit the workshop site and jump to Chapter 10 (around 2:32:20) if you’d like to watch Nick’s presentation on SOIL, but the whole video – though lengthy – is well worth watching for all of you sanitation social business nerds out there!