SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) has been working in Haiti to transform wastes into resources since 2006. We are committed to developing a sustainable social Impact business model for our innovative household toilet service, EkoLakay, that provides access to safe, dignified sanitation for residents of dense urban communities in northern Haiti. Launched in 2011, the EkoLakay service in Cap-Haitien currently has over 800 clients that pay on a monthly basis for the service. SOIL and the EkoLakay team are planning to expand this service to 8000 clients for the year 2025.
Job title: Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Earlier this month, SOIL was honored to receive the United Nations' Momentum for Change Award in Planetary Health at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Momentum for Change honors innovative and transformative solutions that address both climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges. Recognized as a Lighthouse Activity, SOIL’s work is honored for being a practical, scalable and replicable example of a groundbreaking intervention to tackle climate change.
Check out this video showcasing the Planetary Health award winners (narrated by Sir David Attenborough!):
Planetary Health: Narrated Sir David Attenborough from Momentum ...
By Jessica Laporte and Shannon Smith
SOIL has learned that successful operational transitions don’t necessarily come in one shape or size. They can be gradual, sudden, planned, or accidental. In the case of SOIL's decision to transition away from door-to-door payment collection for EkoLakay towards mobile payments, each SOIL office took different approaches, both of which led to significant progress.
Why Mobile Money?
As you can imagine, door-to-door payment collection is time consuming and costly for SOIL and oftentimes is inconvenient for EkoLakay customers. With this in mind, SOIL decided to introduce mobile payments into EkoLakay’s ...
Let’s call it the “fill your container challenge,” (which, let me assure you, is quite different from the ice bucket challenge. You would not want to dump these containers over your head). Over the past two months, 16 of SOIL's EkoLakay sales staff were competing as a part of two teams to see who could install the most toilets in Cap Haitien.
Many of the staff who took part in the challenge were relatively new to the team and we wanted a fun way to train them in marketing and sales, while incentivizing new toilet installations. So, we devised the container competition, complete with Instagram-ready graphics, to show our progress!
A photo of EkoLakay's current depot by Monica Wise
On any given morning, SOIL’s current depot in Cap Haitien is abuzz with EkoLakay collection vehicles coming in and out from the communities we serve, staff briefing one another on the activities of the coming day, and buckets of bonzodè (the carbon cover material used to “flush” EkoLakay composting toilets) being stacked along the walls in preparation to be delivered to families’ homes. This depot serves as a hub between SOIL’s primary office, staff in the field, and our composting site out of the city.
Expanding Infrastructure to Support Growth
While the energy in the depot is ...
We’re on our way to creating an affordable and replicable model for the provision of a safe, ecologically beneficial city-wide sanitation, and we’ve got news to share! In September 2017 we excitedly announced that SOIL was selected as a Finalist for the ReSource Award. This prize acknowledges social entrepreneurial initiatives aimed at scaling up new approaches for solving social or ecological issues related to sustainable water management. We’re still under consideration for the final award (keep your fingers crossed for us!) but in the meanwhile, we’re happy to announce that this award has already had a tremendously positive ...
Photo: Andrea Bruce, Noor
"With water shortages around the world, there’s growing interest in [SOIL's] approach," writes Nicholas Kristof today's column for the New York Times. Writing from the World Economic Forum's Conference in Davos, he explains that social entrepreneurs like SOIL offer an "inspiring window into what can be accomplished" in our world.
Read the article in The New York Times
"Sasha Kramer works in Haiti to address two fundamental problems: a lack of toilets and declining soil fertility. Her organization, SOIL, charges customers a few dollars a month to provide and service composting toilets that turn human waste into safe ...
Untreated human waste can do incredible harm to both public health and the environment. But can the power of poop be harnessed to rescue eroding soil and create sustainable livelihoods? Regular SOIL blog readers know the answer to that question is: yes!
Dr. Sasha Kramer, SOIL's co-founder and Executive Director, sat down with our friends at Lift Economy for their podcast B the Change to chat about SOIL's work to develop social business models for the provision of household sanitation in vulnerable urban communities across Haiti.
Listen to the Episode:
Don't miss reading the article that accompanies the episode, which is available ...
Photo: Julie Jeliazovski
So far this year, EkoLakay has carried out two comprehensive satisfaction surveys in order to gather quantitative and qualitative feedback on the household toilet service. We were pleased to see that customers overwhelmingly reported improved safety, health, and affordability. Despite very high overall satisfaction levels in both customer surveys in both Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien, a few customers in Port-au-Prince did note some issues with EkoLakay's cover material, bonzodè, which led us to look into the production protocol.
Optimizing Production Protocols
The Port-au-Prince EkoLakay team took this feedback ...
(Photo credit: Monica Wise)
Over 2.5 billion people globally currently lack access to sanitation. As a heartbreaking result, over 2,200 children under the age of five die every day from preventable diarrheal diseases.
Despite billions of dollars spent on sanitation interventions, the global population continues to suffer from the lack of access to safe sanitation. Part of the problem is that traditional sewer systems require considerable up-front capital investment, and depend on the availability of reliable water and energy supplies.
In contrast, SOIL’s believes that by using extremely low-cost environmental technologies paired with simple ...