A SOIL toilet manager prepares for a drum pickup.
Although to many it may seem that the emergency in Haiti has passed, this is far from the truth for the hundreds of thousands of people still living in tents three years later. The UN estimates that 357,785 people are still homeless as a result of the 2010 earthquake and Haiti is still battling the largest cholera epidemic in recent global history with over 7600 deaths to date and more than 600,000 people treated in clinics for the illness (~6% of the population).
The only way to stop the cholera epidemic is through provision of sanitation services and SOIL’s emergency sanitation program is an important piece of this struggle. Long after most other NGOs have shut down their emergency sanitation programs, the SOIL emergency toilets remain operational and well maintained. Our paid toilet managers help to bring a valued service to their communities, while simultaneously representing the possibility of hope, of employment, and of health. Although the emergency sanitation program is ultimately meant to be temporary, its maintenance has several long-term implications, including increased knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of EcoSan technology, healthier lives for the people utilizing SOIL's environmentally conscious toilets, and increased employment potential for people trained as toilet managers and operators. The SOIL emergency sanitation program is one of our most difficult programs to fund, but despite the challenges, we find it unconscionable to close down our emergency toilets until viable alternative programs have been identified and implemented. Until we are certain that the people using our toilets have another safe and dignified toilet to use, we will continue to maintain our toilets, located in camps throughout Port-au-Prince.
Thanks to the support of our people like you we have been able to keep the SOIL public toilets open in Port-au-Prince's tent cities and we are optimistic that we will continue to raise the support we need to provide these critical services to the families that need them.
Waiting for the SOIL drum pickup in Port-au-Prince