Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti

Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti

The compost that SOIL produces through our urban ecological sanitation service is a safe and organic, agricultural-grade soil amendment that restores the health of soils and helps Haiti’s farmers produce more food. It also, as of recently, helping students in schools across the country learn how to garden.

The Haitian Ministry of Education (MENFP) has begun actively promoting agriculture across the country’s schools, by asking that each of them has at least one standard garden maintained by staff, students, and parents alike. And guess what? They’re using SOIL’s compost in the educational gardens!

The MENFP is hoping to introduce students to plant and animal production while encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship. The project aims to improve food security in the country by increasing the supply of fresh food to school cafeterias, but also by empowering the younger generation to have the tools they need to know how to grow their own food. By involving not just the students but also their families and the school staff, they hope to expand the program’s impact as well as the potential future technical innovations in the agricultural sector.

To launch the project, last month the MENFP bought almost three metric tons of SOIL’s Konpòs Lakay compost, which was distributed in a number of schools across Haiti. SOIL’s compost has shown incredible benefits to plant growth and soil quality, so we’re excited about its potential to kickstart healthy and productive gardens.

Happy gardening, students!

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Research trials of vetiver - an essential oil
Research trials of vetiver - an essential oil

Over the years SOIL's agricultural program has improved the way we use SOIL's EcoSan compost, and helped us provide better information to farmer's looking to increase their yields by incorporating sustainable farming practices. In 2015 - 2016 alone, SOIL trained 10 agricultural interns in the use SOIL's compost for increasing crop yields and we conducted sustainable farming experiments on market crops such as Moringa, hot peppers, cucumbers, onions, lima beans, plantains, cabbage, vetiver, soybeans, watermelons, tomatos, and peanuts.

SOIL is now transitioning towards an exciting new approach to our compost analysis work. Building off of our previous agricultural research, we will be focusing our efforts specifically on partners in the agricultural sector who can work with SOIL to examine the benefits of our compost on high value crops. By no longer conducting research directly at SOIL, we will free up staff time to support efforts that get results to farmers more quickly and we can devote more resources to our composting waste treatment sites, where we produce all this compost in the first place! 

You can learn more about our efforts to increase waste treatment services and compost production in Haiti at SOIL's Global Giving project "Generating Organic Compost for Farmers". And we also invite you to join our email list at, friend us on social media @SOILHaiti, and email us anyway at

There’s a Haitian proverb that says, “Sa ou plante, se li ou rekolte.” / What you plant is what you’ll harvest. Thank you for planting the seeds of change in Haiti.

Analyzing the results of a pepper harvest
Analyzing the results of a pepper harvest
Research trials of moringa grown in SOIL compost
Research trials of moringa grown in SOIL compost


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Last week I had the great honor and pleasure of participating in and presenting at the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) International Conference, hosted on the Kwame Nkrumah University Science and Technology campus in Kumasi, Ghana. The theme of this year’s conference was Ensuring Availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for All.

The conference featured many presentations covering topics like fecal sludge management, resource recovery, and sanitation marketing, and was an incredibly valuable opportunity to gain exposure to international research and best practices in SOIL’s sector of work.

In addition, a few months ago, WEDC invited SOIL to present a paper discussing our research and progress in developing EkoLakay as a working social business model for the provision of household sanitation. The paper outlined the EkoLakay toilet and service, including preliminary cost estimates and a review of the iterations and improvements SOIL has made to the service over time. (And you can find the full paper online here if you want to!)

There was a large and engaged audience for my presentation of SOIL’s EkoLakay service, and interest from the group was so high that the discussion period was extended for an extra twenty minutes! Throughout the conference I also had the opportunity to meet with several groups working around the world who are interested in replicating EkoLakay or creating a similar service.

While in Kumasi, I enjoyed not only the intense learning of the conference environment, but also exploring the city in my down time. I had the opportunity to see a municipal landfill and waste treatment lagoon, use one of Ghana’s many pay-per-use public toilets at the Kumasi central market, and visit the Clean Team headquarters.

Clean Team is a Ghanian company that is developing a service VERY similar to EkoLakay – they even have a fleet of 3-wheel motorcycles for bucket collection like we do! I presented SOIL’s work at their office, and we had the opportunity to compare our two models.

The WEDC conference provided a valuable platform for continuing and improved collaboration and information sharing within the sanitation sector – an important component in our shared work and vision to achieve sustainable management of sanitation – in Ghana and Haiti and throughout the world!

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When representatives of 175 countries recently gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York to sign the Paris climate accord, Haiti’s interim president was proudly among them.

With Haiti’s simmering political crisis, an on-going cholera epidemic, and a host of other challenging domestic issues, some might see the Paris accord as a distraction from more urgent problems. Furthermore, Haiti is responsible for only 0.01% of global carbon dioxide emissions, so it’s hardly a heavy-hitter when it comes to preventing climate change.

However, even though Haiti’s direct influence on the global climate crisis may be small, the country has a huge stake in global efforts to slow climate change, because Haiti is one of the countries most vulnerable to its effects. The combination of Haiti’s characteristics – geographic location, topographical features, population density, and lack of infrastructure among others – earned it the number one spot on Maplecroft’s 2012 Climate Change Vulnerability Index. The 2015 Global Climate Risk Index found that Haiti was one of three countries most affected by weather-related losses over the previous twenty year period.

Consequently, Haitian leadership is taking the Paris accord – and its domestic efforts to reduce emissions – seriously. Prior to signing the accord, Haiti submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), which outlines the actions the country plans to take, such as cutting gas emissions 30% by 2030. “It’s about substantially increasing the share of renewable energy in our system of electricity production, the definitive launch of the grand work of reforesting our country, adopting agricultural techniques that are more resilient in the face of climate change, improving the management of our coastal zones and finally reinforcing human establishments” against climate-related natural disasters, according to Privert, who was quoted in Haiti’s Le Nouvelliste newspaper.

Here at SOIL, our production of Konpos Lakay, our EcoSan compost, fits right in with the goal of spreading more resilient agriculture techniques in Haiti, and we’re proud to be combating climate change on the local level through our efforts. In addition to producing tons of compost to buffer Haiti’s fragile soils each year, SOIL is also working with the University of Hawaii to research how SOIL’s waste treatment process can drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions compared to more traditional sewage treatments. Preliminary results from this study show that thermophillic composting has lower greenhouse gas emissions than wastewater stabilization ponds.

The SOIL team is proud of the work we’ve done over the past ten years to create positive change in Haiti’s environmental and sanitation sectors, and we’re excited to see the Haitian Government taking such an active role in crafting Haiti’s climate policy for the coming years!

                                                                climate resiliency

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SOIL celebrated two of our favorite holidays recently: World Toilet Day and World Soil Day. To us, toilets and soil go together like peas in a pod. Many of you know that SOIL uses the natural processes of ecological sanitation in order to transform toilet waste into nutrient rich compost, as shown in the EcoSan Cycle graphic.

ecosan.engThe SOIL Poop LoopSOIL EcoSan cycleHere in Haiti, we celebrated World Toilet Day as a platform to spread the word about Ecological Sanitation. We had a large crowd of over 300 people join us for an event that included DJs, government officials from the Ministry of Public Health, and a theater troupe known as Twoup Djabolo.

Afterwards, we visited a women’s group that invited us to celebrate the day with them. With around 80 participants, we reflected on the theme “Every house with a toilet!” and watched a short film about cholera. Me Daniel Jean-Jacques, an EkoLakay household toilet client, gave a testimony about the importance of toilets. She told the group, “in our neighborhood, there are a lot of problems with sanitation. People don’t have toilets and so they defecate wherever they can, such as in an abandoned house or a plastic bag that they throw out, or by the sea. I thank SOIL for helping this community with the EkoLakay service because it makes an impact on health. It’s important that we participate by telling our neighbors to sign up for an EkoLakay toilet.”

Although the subject matter was serious, we also enjoyed moments of lighthearted fun with the Twoup Djabolo. And of course, no SOIL event is complete without Algate, our Hygiene Promoter, singing her popular EkoLakay song.

SOIL World Toilet Day celebration in Haiti

While we were busy at these events in Haiti, you were celebrating World Toilet Day with us from abroad! We so appreciate the #Unselfies that you shared on social media in order to spread the world about World Toilet Day and SOIL. Our staff also contributed with the reasons that they are grateful for their EcoSan toilets. 

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s World Toilet Day and World Soil Day very special for SOIL.

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Organization Information


Location: Sherburne, New York - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SOILhaiti
Project Leader:
Eliza Parish
Sherburne, New York United States

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