Checking out an EkoMobil toilet
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. One of SOIL's sanitation social businesses, EkoMobil, is playing an important role in promoting the use of ecological sanitation systems in Haiti while also providing SOIL with critical revenue for supporting ongoing projects.
Starting in 2010, aid groups began to donate used porta-potties to SOIL, remnants of attempts to provide sanitation in post-earthquake Haiti. The problems with porta-potties are manifold: they are not a sustainable, ecological nor, arguably, dignified way for people to access a toilet. They are also expensive to construct, import, and maintain. For these reasons we find great pleasure in tearing apart porta-potties at SOIL. We turn them into “EkoMobil” composting toilets that are used at festivals and rented by churches, schools, and individuals around Haiti.
Unlike a porta-potty, SOIL's EkoMobil toilets do not stink or pollute the environment. The finished product is not “waste” that has to be disposed of somewhere, but a resource that provides compost where it is badly needed. And throughout the process, SOIL is happily creating livelihood opportunities to Haitians in the sanitation sector in jobs that are increasingly valorized, not stigmatized.
EkoMobil rentals have generated as much as $2,000 in a single month. This revenue helps support SOIL’s humanitarian relief and research efforts.
EkoMobil toilets also serve the very important function of helping us advertise the many benefits of EcoSan toilets to a wider audience. Overtime we expect this to increase demand for our EkoLakay household toilets and other social business services in Haiti - helping us achieve our ultimate goal of increasing sanitation access nationally.
“SOIL’s initiative has the potential to vastly expand sanitation access in an affordable, sustainable way, while creating new jobs and livelihoods. Its model not only prevents further harm to the environment, it actively restores soil health through compost generation – reducing food insecurity, erosion, mudslides, and flooding in the process. SOIL strives to inspire a shift to a more ecological and equitable sanitation solution globally while working every day to increase national access to sanitation in Haiti.” – Jon Hera, The Globe and Mail, November 14, 2014.