EkoLakay: Household Ecological Sanitation for Haiti’s Cities
SOIL’s household toilet and waste treatment social business provides safe sanitation to people living in Haiti’s urban communities.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL)
Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
Haiti: Cap-Haitien, Port-au-Prince
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
2.5 billion people lack access to a toilet. This crisis is particularly evident in Haiti, where diarrhea accounts for 16% of deaths in children under five. Attempts to create a functional sanitation system are often ineffective, focusing on toilets and neglecting waste treatment. But a toilet without waste treatment just displaces a problem, cleaning up one environment while polluting another. Where waste treatment systems exist, waste disposal also disposes of valuable nutrients, instead of harvesting them for reuse.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
SOIL is changing the story of sanitation provision with a paradigm-shifting social business pilot, EkoLakay, a circular sanitation economy solution that is rapidly gaining traction in Haiti and around the world. SOIL’s EkoLakay service provides over 1,000 families with safe and dignified sanitation all the while producing an endless supply of rich, organic compost critical for agriculture and reforestation. By removing pathogenic waste from the communities we serve, SOIL is transforming a public health problem into an environmental solution and combatting diseases like cholera and typhoid.
SOIL compost (100+ metrics tons produced annually – increasing every year) is used to support agriculture and reforestation efforts in Haiti, ensuring nutrient recirculation and improving soil carbon sequestration. SOIL is also conducting comparative research with partner institutions to evaluate the climate impact of composting waste treatment versus traditional waste treatment methods.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
To date SOIL’s achievements include:
• Over 1,000 household clients in the EkoLakay program.
• More than 5,000 individuals benefiting from household sanitation services.
• Average monthly payment rates of 85% and an attrition rate lower than 4% each month
• Over 40 metric tons of waste treated monthly, producing ~8 metric tons of compost.
• Over 250 discrete customers have purchased SOIL compost and we are regularly sold out of compost with a waiting list for compost purchases.
• Customer satisfaction surveys indicate over 90% of customers are satisfied or very satisfied with the EkoLakay service.
• Nearly 9,000 people attended SOIL’s educational events in Haiti in the past fiscal year and SOIL’s online “SOIL Guide to EcoSan” has been downloaded by more than 1,300 people from over 90 countries.
• In the past fiscal year, SOIL generated over $37,500 in toilet user fees and $22,000 in compost sales.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
Revenue from monthly toilet user fees, 200-250 HTG (~$3.00 - $3.75 USD) per household, is close to covering the costs associated with providing the EkoLakay toilet service. SOIL is focused on capturing economies of scale, operational efficiencies, and technology innovations to refine the EkoLakay model and ensure the service is able to achieve financial sustainability. On the waste treatment side, we currently recover about 30% of our costs through compost sales. We rely on external financing to bridge the gap, and fund SOIL’s other programs and R&D. SOIL’s goal is to develop a public-private partnership model with the Haitian government and World Bank using a Payment for Results mechanism. (Individual Donations: 23.5%, Grants: 53.3%, Partners & Misc.: 16.3% , Earned Income: 6.9%)
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
SOIL is proud to work collaboratively with organizations doing similar work around the world, and is a founding member of the Container Based Sanitation Alliance. We believe that CBS represents an innovative and viable alternative to traditional sanitation technologies such as sewers, pit latrines, and septic tanks. What sets SOIL apart in the sanitation sector is our commitment to 100% waste treatment and transformation, our household-level toilet service, and our focus on iterative research.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
Dr. Sasha Kramer, SOIL’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, moved to Haiti as a human rights observer in the wake of the 2004 coup. As Dr. Kramer came to know Haiti and build relationships with community leaders and activists, she realized there was an elegant solution that could simultaneously leverage her training as an ecologist and address one of the primary challenges facing communities in Haiti: a simple, locally driven, ecological approach to sanitation. SOIL was founded in the spirit of working side-by-side with communities to build ecological sanitation solutions that could be community-led, and that idea has evolved into EkoLakay, SOIL’s sanitation social business.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?
Participated in previous CSV Prize competitions