The mission of SOIL is to promote dignity, health, and sustainable livelihoods through the transformation of wastes into resources.
The mission of Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) is to promote dignity, health, and sustainable livelihoods through the transformation of wastes into resources. The organisation achieve this through developing social business models around ecological sanitation (EcoSan), a process in which nutrients from human wastes return to the soil rather than polluting fresh water resources.
Background and objectives
- Safe, dignified, sustainable sanitation that is accessible to all Haitians – and all those living in impoverished communities around the world
- An environment that is restored to its life-giving potential
- People that are empowered to transform wastes into productive resources
SOIL is driven by a philosophy called Liberation Ecology. Influenced by both the liberation theology movement and ecological theory, Liberation Ecology recognizes that the most threatened and marginalized human beings will generally be found living in similarly threatened ecosystems. SOIL seeks to empower the marginalized and oppressed, equipping them to restore their environments by transforming dangerous pollutants into valuable resources.
SOIL puts this philosophy to action through livelihood creation in the sanitation sector. Their social business models follow the EcoSan cycle, creating jobs along the way that ensure their impact is truly lasting. From the construction of EkoLakay and EkoMobil toilets, to selling compost, to harvesting more crops, they are creating new value chains that are far-reaching and supportive of life’s most crucial daily necessities
SOIL primarily focuses on promoting the use of ecological sanitation (EcoSan), a process by which human wastes are converted into valuable compost. EcoSan simultaneously tackles some of Haiti’s toughest challenges by providing sanitation to people who would otherwise have no access to a toilet and producing an endless supply of rich, organic compost critical for agriculture and reforestation. Working with communities to design and test ecologically and socially beneficial solutions, SOIL implements low-cost technologies that are simple, easy to replicate, require minimal water, and provide safe and dignified access to sanitation.
- Dignified Sanitation: SOIL is working to transform conditions in Haiti with both short-term projects that address critical needs and a long-term strategy to expand sanitation access through social business models.
- Waste Transformation: Since building the first waste treatment facility in Haiti in 2009, SOIL has gone on to become one of the largest waste treatment operations in the country, treating thousands of gallons of waste each month.
- Agricultural Growth: SOIL produces an increasing quantity of Konpòs Lakay, SOIL’s EcoSan compost, each year. This compost is used to rebuild the productive potential of Haiti’s soils.
- Education and Outreach: SOIL is committed to sharing knowledge, because when more people are empowered through education, they can accelerate change.
Financing and resources
SOIL is dedicated to financial efficiency, local sourcing, and transparency. Over 93% of every dollar contributed goes directly to their sanitation and environmental programs in Haiti.
Results and impacts
- 2,200 people accessing SOIL EcoSan toilets through SOIL's growing EkoLakay social business pilot
- An endless supply of compost sold for agricultural and reforestation efforts around Haiti
- 1,000 people benefiting from SOIL’s education programs and resources each year
Lessons learned and transferability
SOIL's success is committed to:
- Cultural Fluency: Over 90% of their staff members are Haitian. All of their staff speak the local language (Haitian Creole) to facilitate communication and understanding with the communities where they operate.
- Local Sourcing: They purchase supplies locally and contract with local businesses whenever possible, keeping their costs down while supporting the long-term expansion of Haiti’s economy.
- Inclusivity: Beneficiaries are consulted at every step of project design and implementation, ensuring that their programs are community-driven and responding to real, not simply perceived, needs.
- Innovation: Their projects are designed with identified income streams, and they focus on solutions that can become financially self-supporting.
- Expertise: They value knowledge gained through both formal training and life experience; because their dedicated employees live and work in the communities SOIL serves, they are truly experts in local solutions for sanitation, agriculture, business development, and community organizing.