SOIL Gives Us Hope

SOIL is an organization founded in Cap-Haitien in northern Haiti that works with ecological sanitation (EcoSan) and agriculture. SOIL started out doing great work with EcoSan in Cap-Haitien by constructing toilets for people to use that are different from toilets they may have used before. SOIL’s first toilet model, “twalet sech” (dry toilets), separates urine from feces, and the second model “twalet konpos” (compost toilet) is also a dry toilet but it keeps urine and feces in the same place. After the great earthquake hit the country, SOIL decided to enter Port-au-Prince to collaborate with some people who were expressing interest in SOIL’s work.

July 2012, Herby gets the signature of a woman living in a tent camp to confirm that her waste has been collected for the week

To introduce myself, I’m Herby Sanon and I work as a Sanitation Supervisor in Port-au-Prince. SOIL provides so much hope for me every day since it has existed because of all the wonderful things that it does. I so dearly love the job that I have now that ask why it was not the first path I crossed in my life. SOIL transforms something that is not needed into a natural wealth.

My friend Frantz François works in Cite Soleil and he never stops engaging in his work. For him, SOIL offers salvation and is a guiding light for people who used to go to the bathroom in the brook near where he lives. Frantz has seen a change within 90% of the population in Cite Soleil and he says that he won’t stop working with SOIL until all of Cite Soleil has been improved.

Franz shows us an urban gardening project that uses SOIL's compost in Cité Soleil

Marie-Mineuve, who manages two toilets for SOIL since 2010, didn’t want to miss the chance to give her impression of SOIL. She considers SOIL more than a blessing that fell from the heavens. She was in despair and SOIL changed her life and her family’s life. Without SOIL, she would have left the camp where she was staying. While everyone else was leaving the camp, she said that she stayed to work with SOIL and that she will always work with us not only because it is an employment opportunity but because of all that SOIL is doing for the country of Haiti.

My voice joins all of the others in saying: SOIL, thank you so much for making this huge chain of transformation in everyday life after the earthquake of January 12 2010. Our dream is to see SOIL cover the whole country of Haiti. I feel that I do not have the words to explain how much SOIL does and what the organization brings to my life.

I want to say thank you also to the whole SOIL team and a special thank you to Bobo, Sasha, Jimmy, and Niko, who I will never forget in my life; Jean Marie, Clotes, Davidson, Ghislaine, Corinne even though she’s not here right now; hats off to Yvon and the sanitation teams in Port-au-Prince and Okap; and the biggest thank you to all the people in the camps where we work.


Marie-Mineuve receives empty drums to use for the week at the two toilets that she manages at Kan de Viktim, while Herby diligently keeps track of the drums


Translation by Shannon Smith

No Replies to "SOIL Gives Us Hope "

  • Brian Cady
    August 19, 2013 (6:45 pm)

    Two types of toilets – I didn’t know – How do they compare? I’ve used urine diversion personally, and found poop easy to compost dry; not too smelly. The urine got really smelly quickly (3 days about), but as a liquid it was not too troublesome to get rid of in a nearby pasture.

    • SOIL Volunteer
      August 20, 2013 (2:22 pm)

      Hi Brian, thanks for commenting. We have found that the benefits of using urine diversion toilets are that they 1. use much less cover material, 2. tend to smell less if used and emptied frequently, and most importantly, 3. they reduce the weight of the full drums, which reduces transportation costs. That being said, if the waste is not being transported to a centralized location, the weight consideration is not nearly as important. Both work well in different contexts. A benefit of the non-diversion toilet is that it can be simpler to maintain, especially if it is for just a few users.

Got something to say?

Some html is OK