About the Implementing organization
Name: Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL)
Year of establishment: 2006
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Community enterprise or business
SOIL is developing a transformative social business model for the sustainable provision of urban household sanitation and ecological waste treatment in Haiti. The world is experiencing a devastating sanitation crisis and the majority of sanitation technologies are too costly and water intensive to serve rapidly expanding urban settlements. With the population of cities expected to double by 2050, it is critical to develop solutions for dense urban communities. SOIL’s EkoLakay social business collects and transports wastes from locally made ecological toilets to a SOIL composting facility where the waste is safely treated and transformed into rich, organic compost using a process that respects World Health Organization standards. Revenues from toilet user fees and compost sales support ongoing project costs and showcase the potential to affordably and sustainably provide household sanitation in the world’s most impoverished and vulnerable urban communities.
Forests / Oceans / Coasts / Mountains / Wetlands / Rivers
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Health / Climate action
SOIL’s initiative presents an innovative model for how to transform a widespread public health hazard into an affordable tool for supporting ecological restoration. This effort promotes sustainable natural resource management and environmental conservation through the following mechanisms:
> SOIL’s use of ecological sanitation (EcoSan) technologies eliminates the need for costly waterborne sewage and therefore reduces the consumption and contamination of limited freshwater supplies.
> The compost produced at SOIL’s EcoSan composting waste treatment facilities increases soil nutrients, making agricultural activities more productive and profitable while also reducing food insecurity.
> And by counteracting the effects of soil erosion and increasing the success of reforestation efforts, investing in the health of the soil also reduces the risk of natural disasters.
Sustainable Development Impacts
SOIL’s EcoSan projects improve socio-economic conditions by creating sustainable employment in the sanitation sector, sourcing materials locally, and working with local contractors to ensure that funds stay in the local economy. By generating livelihood opportunities throughout the sanitation value chain (including jobs in toilet installation, toilet management, collection and transportation of wastes, and waste treatment) SOIL is simultaneously developing sustainable employment opportunities and meeting critical needs. In addition, the production and sale of SOIL compost allows for cost recovery in waste treatment and enhances agricultural productivity, which in turn increases income for local farmers and improves food security for the community.
SOIL is currently focused on scaling our operations and capturing economies of scale to successfully transform our programs into financially sustainable social businesses. By December 2019, we will have over 5,000 toilets in service (providing sanitation access to over 27,500 people) and be producing more than 300 tons of compost annually to increase food production and agricultural incomes throughout rural Haiti. We hope that the new household sanitation social enterprise will be covering its costs and poised to scale up through implementation by the private sector. Additionally, we anticipate that the waste treatment operation will provide safe, effective waste treatment at minimal cost and recoup a significant percentage of costs through waste treatment fees, compost sales, and carbon credit revenue.
SOIL’s initiative is unique in that it is one of the largest and most promising tests of the paradigm-shifting hypothesis that sanitation no longer needs to focus on waste disposal, but rather on the ecologically-beneficial and economically-profitable nutrient capture and agricultural reuse of human waste. SOIL’s model is one of the few interventions globally that has showed success in creating a financially sustainable sanitation and waste treatment service for informal urban settlements. To support replication, SOIL’s findings are documented in peer-reviewed papers (10 published to date), the SOIL Guide to EcoSan (downloaded by over 1,000 people from more than 97 countries), and through our active consulting service. On a daily basis, SOIL receives consulting and training requests from within Haiti and globally, and has provided consultancy services to dozens of projects in Haiti as well as Madagascar, Benin, Sierra Leone and Kenya.
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