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2018 Resource Award 1st Runner-up

Waste wanted

THE CHALLENGE

More than 2.5 billion people have no access to safe sanitation. Most efforts to address this health and environmental crisis have been ineffective because they focus on providing toilets while neglecting waste treatment. Without a waste treatment system, a toilet cleans up one place at the expense of polluting another.

The wastes produced by 4.2 billion of the world’s people go untreated. They are dumped into waterways or underground reservoirs, often leaching into groundwater. Where existent, waste treatment systems remove and discard valuable nutrients instead of harvesting them for reuse.

Haiti’s sanitation crisis is acute. The country has the world’s highest rate of childhood diarrhea, which accounts for 16% of the deaths in children under age five there, and Haiti is battling a cholera epidemic that has sickened more than 7.5% of the population and killed 10 000 people so far. At the same time, Haiti faces environmental challenges, with rapidly declining agricultural production, the world’s highest soil erosion rates and a malnutrition rate of 45%. Both food security and environmental rehabilitation depend on restoring soil fertility.

 

THE APPROACH

Customers of the social business SOIL rent an ‘EkoLakay’ toilet for approximately USD 3.50 a month. Each week SOIL sanitation workers collect the toilet wastes and deliver a fresh supply of the carbon material used for “flushing”. The wastes collected are taken to a waste treatment facility to be turned into agricultural-grade compost, which is used to restore health to Haiti's soils. SOIL currently provides EkoLakay toilets to more than 1 000 households in Haiti’s two largest cities, and demand continues to outpace the rate of installation.

SOIL is dedicated to rigorously evaluating results and sharing lessons learnt. It has partnered with a range of academic institutions and fellow social businesses in the sanitation sector as well as with the Haitian government's sanitation authority. All its work is open-source and freely shared as SOIL is eager for other organisations and enterprises to replicate its technologies and business models.

 

GOALS AND EXPECTED IMPACT

Over the coming three years, SOIL aims to scale their EkoLakay household toilet business, creating more jobs in Haiti, selling more compost, and proving that cost-effective, ecological solutions to the sanitation crisis exist.

SOIL

partner

SOIL designs, tests and implements social business models to widen access to cost-effective, ecological household sanitation services in urban communities.

Water

Water and sanitation are as central to our work as to the survival of the planet and the people living on it.

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