Patricia Arquette, Executive Director of GiveLove, has traveled to Haiti on a regular basis to oversee her organization’s work in Haiti. Her hands-on approach to ecological sanitation has inspired the best experts in the field to come work on her program in Haiti. Her passion for composting and improving health through sanitation has helped draw global attention to this ‘Brown Revolution’.
GiveLove was founded by PATRICIA ARQUETTE and ROSETTA MILLINGTON-GETTY to develop temporary housing solutions and improved sanitation systems in Haiti. GiveLove is working on community-led sanitation projects to treat and compost waste, improve public health, and create jobs around recycling.
WHAT IS ECOLOGICAL SANITATION?
Ecological Sanitation is a bold new approach to sanitation and resource management that recognizes the importance of recycling.
Eco-san is a low-cost management practice that enables the complete or partial recovery of nutrients found in common household waste such as greywater (water left-over from laundering clothes, kitchen water , food scraps, and blackwater, which includes human excrement (urine and feces).
Through a process of containment, sanitization, and recycling, these organic products can be re-used safely to rebuild soil, prevent pollution of water resources, and increase agricultural productivity.
There are many different approaches to eco-sanitation and different kinds of compost toilets, but all of these systems offer exciting alternatives for people living without any sanitation at all.
WHY IS ECO-SAN SO IMPORTANT ?
Eco-san requires a paradigm shift and radical new way of thinking about the interconnections between health, quality of life, and protecting the environment for future generations. Eco-san approaches encourage zero-waste, and a complete closure of nutrient loops.
Eco-san practitioners recognize that our natural resources – soil and water – need to be managed to ensure life on this planet.
Most of the world’s poor people do not have access to a proper toilet or affordable, clean drinking water. Open-defecation, and the use of plastic bags to collect excreta are common practices in many parts of the world. Water-based sanitation systems are too expensive to build, and clean water is becoming a scarce resource. Eco-san practitioners are working to develop low-cost sanitation alternatives for poor people to improve health, provide dignity, and prevent pollution of water resources.
GIVE LOVE’S SANITATION WORK IN HAITI
Most people don’t know that you can safely treat and recycle human urine and feces, which we also call Humanure, by composting it. Compost is essentially organic matter that has broken-down by decomposition. Ecological sanitation recognizes the value in composting, recycling the valuable nutrients in all organic matter, by empowering individuals to use compost for fertilizer and soil amendment and protecting scarce resources like water.
GiveLove is working to promote eco-sanitation by providing training, technical support, and environmental education for Green Schools, and community-based composting projects throughout Haiti. Eco-sanitation can improve public health, clean the environment, create new jobs, and ensure dignity and safety for women and children by providing people with clean toilets.
GiveLove established its first successful humanure compost project in Cite Soleil in May 2010, at one of the largest internally displaced person, or IDP, camps in Port-au-Prince. Thermophilic composting is a low-cost method to treat and recycle human excreta on-site without special equipment or extensive training. Using locally available construction supplies and organic cover materials (such as market scraps and agricultural refuse) GiveLove is able to establish community compost centers almost anywhere in Haiti. GiveLove also provides a comprehensive training program so that community compost workers can easily acquire the skills they need to safely manage these improved sanitation systems.