SOIL Partners: An Interview with the Director General of Cap-Haitien’s city hall

Director General of City Hall, Carry Hyppolite, alongside SOIL’s Senior Manager, Romel Toussaint

SOIL recently had the opportunity to catch up with, Carry Hyppolite, economist and Director General of City Hall in Cap-Haitien to talk about City Hall’s partnership with SOIL and the sanitation situation in Northern Haiti. Hyppolite, a native of Cap-Haitien has witnessed first-hand the changes that increasing population density has brought to the city over the years. The late 1980s brought a large wave of migration of Haitians from rural to urban areas, due to loss of employment and subsistence livelihood opportunities in rural areas – resulting from environmental degradation and decreased soil productivity, had, and continues to have, an intense impact on urban infrastructure, particularly in the sanitation sector. He remembers when he was younger and the city had collective toilets where several neighboring families shared a toilet. But, as more people settled in Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city, the collective toilet method was no longer appropriate. Over time, with so few household toilets and limited public options, people have have had to resort to open defecation, which has become a major problem for the city.  

Today, as the Director General of City Hall, he is extremely concerned about the critical sanitation and public health situation in northern Haiti where many families live in houses without toilets and where the inland canals and waterways in the city are clogged with garbage and refuse due to poor waste management. SOIL has been working directly with the Mayor and City Hall over the last several years to tackle sanitation crisis and the critical need to provide sanitation services to the residents of Cap-Haitien.  

As part of the local government’s COVID-19 emergency response, SOIL has been providing toilets at the main public market in Cap-Haitien and another heavily trafficked area of the city. Hyppolite recently visited the public toilets and was delighted to see how well they are integrated into these markets. He noted that, ”there is no odor compared to other portable toilets that were previously installed which disturbed the people living nearby”. He’s also impressed by SOIL’s process of transforming the waste collected from the toilets into compost. He went on to say that “this is important because human waste, a source of problems for people and the environment, transforms into the best soil fertilizer that can be used in agriculture.”  

According to Hyppolite, SOIL “is like a ray of sunshine for Cap-Haitien.” SOIL’s work to ensure more people have access to toilets in their homes through the EkoLakay service provides an innovative solution to a national crisis and transforms this problem into a restorative and valuable compost commodity. The Director General continues to be enthusiastic with SOIL’s collaboration with City Hall and gives SOIL its full endorsement and support to continue to expand our sanitation solution in Northern Haiti.  

As for the Director General’s future plans and vision for Haiti, Hyppolite says he wants to continue to strengthen and restructure the administration of City Hall to better respond to the needs of the people of Cap-Haitien. In the future, he would like to see Haiti restored to as it was in his childhood memories, a safe, clean, and prosperous country.

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