A new analysis conducted by SOIL on the long-term trajectory of SOIL’s user base reveals some promising data on sustained access to sanitation. Millions of people in Haiti lack access to private improved sanitation (privately owned latrine, flush toilet or dry toilet). Without access to private sanitation options, people must find an alternative means for sanitation through a shared latrine or toilet, a neighbor’s toilet, a church or school toilet, a public toilet or latrine, or open defecation. With a significant portion of the population living without a private option, the lack of safely managed sanitation is a crisis in Haiti. The impacts on public health, quality of life, natural ecosystems, and the environment are evident and costly.
SOIL’s EkoLakay Service
Since 2013, SOIL has been working to provide safe, dignified access to in-home sanitation through our EkoLakay toilet service. Our community-driven regenerative and ecological sanitation solution was designed (and continues to adapt) to improve public health, quality of life, and the environment, and to facilitate the long-term sustainability of in-home sanitation services in Haiti.
To better understand the impact of providing SOIL’s EkoLakay service in Haiti, we analyzed data from current and former EkoLakay clients to measure the service’s influence on individual households’ hygiene behavior, as well as continued access to improved sanitation over time. The data showed some very exciting trends for household sanitation as a result of SOIL’s service! In addition to providing critically needed sanitation access to the families who depend on us in Haiti, this study demonstrates that SOIL’s work is providing important support for broader sanitation goals. The findings show that SOIL’s intervention has long lasting impacts on sustained behavior change; those who have decided to leave SOIL’s service most often seek out improved private sanitation (like a flush toilet with a septic tank) instead of reverting back to public options or open defecation.
Creating Long-Term Sanitation Sustainability in Haiti
This study highlights the foundational bridge that SOIL’s container-based sanitation solution provides in Haiti’s sanitation trajectory. EkoLakay has a critical role to play, particularly in the communities we serve that have no other access to safely managed sanitation. These findings also illuminate that SOIL’s solution influences real hygiene behavior change, and for a substantial percentage of our clients improves upon previous sanitation options. SOIL’s solution not only provides in-home toilets for families, but also removes the waste for treatment to minimize the risk of waterborne disease and environmental degradation, a service that is not accessible for other sanitation options. As one of our current clients puts it, “[SOIL’s service] helps many families who weren’t living well…it allows you to live with dignity.” For SOIL, providing a sanitation service is only one part of supporting our communities’ essential needs; we’re invested in setting households and individuals on a path for long-term quality of life improvement, safety and security, and opportunities for dignified living.