AIDG/SOIL/AFAPA dry composting latrine in Petite Anse neighborhood of Cap Haitien, Haiti
Last week, I got a chance to check out the composting dry toilet we installed in Petite Anse, a neighborhood of Cap-Haitien, with our community partners, SOIL/SOL and AFAPA (Association Femme Actives en Petite-Anse).
The latrines are located at the rear of the bustling market where they serve 300 people. They are pay-per-use toilets and cost 5 gourdes (about 14 cents) a go. The pricing is a bit steep, particularly as the Shada toilets cost only 1-2 Gourdes. However, the women’s community group involved with the project picked the price point. From our discussions with SOIL and efforts to get AFAPA to lower the cost, the pricing seems to be based on the fact that they DON’T WANT people use them “too much”. The community group is concerned that they will fill up too quickly.
Hunh? you say. Well this turns out to be a very rationale concern. Within Cap-Haitien, there are many public toilets that are now full and therefore unusable. When they were first installed, they were great. However, money for continual upkeep/emptying wasn’t available and now they’re not really helping anybody. Given this previous experience, folks are treating our new toilets as a scarce resource and rationing them despite our assurances that things will be different this time.
I think for a good while, it will be hard for the community to believe that we’re solving the emptying and maintenance problem.
A great start, but ultimately just a drop in the bucket
A little more on Petite-Anse
Petite-Anse is much lower density than nearby Shada. It’s laid out roughly in a grid with wider streets, “although this is likely to change as [population] density increases” [Ref]. Gerthy Lahens, a Haitian community organizer who works with Amy Smith and who we first came to Haiti with, comes from Petite-Anse.