Ecological toilets for sustainable health

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One in three people worldwide lack access to a toilet. In Haiti, it is 66% of the urban population or approximately 3.4 million people. Since 2006, SOIL has been working in Haiti to promote health and sustainable livelihoods through safe sanitation solutions that convert human waste into valuable compost, which restores ecosystems and nurtures resilience to climate change. We are supporting SOIL to provide safe, hygienic and cost-effective urban sanitation services for 12,000 Haitians, combining the provision of container-based in-home toilets with regenerative waste treatment services.

Duration
2019-2022
Focus area
Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystems Access to Basic Services
country
Haiti
partner
SOIL

Context

66% of urban Haitians do not have access to sanitation facilities, and less than 1% of human waste in the country is safely treated. This lack of sanitation access has resulted in a major public health crisis: Haiti has the highest childhood diarrheal incidence rate in the world and has battled one of the most virulent cholera epidemics in modern history.

Action

Since 2006, SOIL has been working in Haiti to promote dignity, health and sustainable livelihoods by meeting a public health problem with an environmental solution.

For a small monthly fee, SOIL’s service provides people living in dense urban communities with safe ecological sanitation toilets and waste treatment services. SOIL is, moreover, ensuring that the hundreds of tons of compost produced annually are used to support agriculture and reforestation efforts, improve carbon sequestration and reduce the impact of flooding and drought.

SOIL’s sanitation and waste treatment operations provide dignified jobs in waste collection, transport and treatment, reversing the stigma associated with the sector.

By maintaining a rigorous commitment to a full-cycle service, SOIL meets several critical needs in the uniquely challenging Haitian context: the need for safe, affordable sanitation, the need for climate-positive environmentally restorative services, and the need for economic empowerment in communities across the country.

Expected results

SOIL aims to expand access to its sustainable sanitation services in urban Haiti from 6,000 to 18,000 people over the next three years, laying the groundwork for further expansion to reach 15% of the city of Cap-Haitien by 2025.

Long-term strategy

Although SOIL’s implementation efforts are focused solely on Haiti, the initiative is one of the most promising tests of a potential paradigm shift from sanitation centred on waste disposal to sanitation centred on the ecologically-beneficial nutrient capture and reuse of human waste. As such, SOIL’s approach provides a valuable model for replication in challenging urban environments around the world.