Integrated mobile sanitation solutions in peri-urban setting

2011 - 2013 • Stanford University, SOIL Haiti, re:source


To develop a portable, low-cost household toilet and entrepreneurial service model to deliver a safe, dignified sanitation service in urban slums (the toilet is portable, with removable containers to collect and transport wastes safely from the community)


We are developing a portable, low-cost household toilet and entrepreneurial service model to deliver a safe, dignified sanitation service in urban slums. We piloted a container-based system in Shada, a slum that has no sewers and no piped water supply. Our toilet is portable, with removable containers to collect and transport wastes safely from the community. Waste is being processed at SOIL's human waste composting facilities, generating fertilizer to improve Haiti's devastated soil resources. Our strategy is to enable local entrepreneurs to recover energy, nutrients, and material from the waste in order to subsidize the cost of the sanitation system, reduce user fees, earn a livelihood, improve the environment and boost agricultural productivity.

Since our toilets are portable, users do not need to make a large up-front payment to use our service. They subscribe for a small monthly fee, and receive the toilet as part of the service. If they terminate the service or are evicted without the option of continuing service elsewhere, they can return the toilet at no penalty.

Countries of activity

Location of main activity


1. Design a modern, portable, affordable, and stylish container-based toilet that will appeal to urban customers who otherwise aspire to a flush toilet.

2. Develop business tools to foster the growth of sanitation service businesses around the toilets.

3. Pilot both the toilet and service in a rigorous, research based trial .

4. Integrate mobile waste tracking technology into the service to monitor performance, maximize efficiency, and minimize service costs.

5. Convert all collected waste into useful and valuable end products.

6. Produce rigorous research and business assessment tools to test and improve container-based systems ensuring that they can scale while protecting and satisfying their users.

Further information

We specifically began working in Haiti in late 2011 however SOIL has been working in Cap Haitien since 2006. The pilot phase of this project began in October 2012 and ran through February 2013. The intensive research phase has been completed, but the service is ongoing and efforts are being made to take the service to scale. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation GCE Phase 1 Grant period ends June 15, 2013.

Filter tags

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Composting, vermicomposting (solid waste), composting toilets Container based systems (CBS) Emptying and transport (non sewered) Faeces or faecal sludge Haiti Latin America & Caribbean Market development Operation, maintenance and sustainable services Product design and engineering Resource recovery Specific to one or several countries Toilets or urinals (user interface) Treatment of wastewater or greywater University, education or research institution Urban informal settlements (slums) Urine diversion dehydration toilets (UDDTs)


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