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SOIL in Haiti

December 16, 2014

In Haiti, a unique enterprise was created that improves public health while contributing to P cycling. SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods)  was created in 2006 in order to both improve access to sanitation, and create a sustainable source of fertilizer for Haitian agriculture. Using principles of ecological sanitation (EcoSan), they created toilets and a collection/maintenance business that turns a waste problem into a sustainable fertilizer business. With toilets serving nearly 7,000 Haitians, and a “Poopmobile” transporting waste to composting yards, they are creating thousands of gallons of nutrient rich compost each week.

SOIL2

SOIL uses a social business model in which households rent an EcoSan toilet (marketed as “EkoLakay” locally, a play on the Haitian Creole words for ecological sanitation, “EkoSan,” and house, “Lakay”) for $5 USD per month. Wastes from the EkoLakay toilets are collected weekly and transported to SOIL’s composting waste treatment facility. According to Shannon Smith, Program Assistant at SOIL, the composting process exceeds the World Heath Organization’s standards for the safe treatment of human waste, and cranks out sanitary compost after 6 months

With nearly 50% of all food consumed in Haiti imported, and the cost of fertilizer posing a barrier to farmers, SOIL is demonstrating the feasibility (and profitability!) of small gardens and fertilizing through locally sourced compost.  Heineken has taken notice of SOIL’s efforts, and recently purchased 70,000 gallons of compost for its sorghum farmers in Haiti. With a viable business model continuing to show success, and demand for both toilets and compost, SOIL is poised to continue growing and expanding access to sanitation while contributing to a Sustainable P system.

SOIL photo1

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2015 3:56 pm

    Great to see SOIL featured on this blog! Have you worked with them directly? I spent a few weeks with them in 2010 and my school’s (SUNY-ESF) Engineers Without Borders group has done some work with them this year!

    • Jared Stoltzfus permalink
      June 16, 2015 12:44 am

      I haven’t worked with them directly, but found them through a program started by a classmate – Carbon Roots International, also working in Haiti. Hope your school continues to partner with them to help them expand!

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