Gambia Community Stove Initiative

Dick Sisman, Serenity Holiday’s sustainable tourism advisor and an industry expert has started a new and exciting initiative based in The Gambia. With his help we are offering you the opportunity to donate a stove to a Gambian family for just £20.

Set up by the Tourism Industry Carbon Offset Service (TICOS) in 2009, the Mayan Turbo Stove scheme is a 3 year project exclusive for Serenity Holidays customers. The stoves not only achieve climate change benefits but are also an inexpensive and time saving option for their users compared with the traditional wood burner.

The stove was developed by REAP (Resource Efficient Agricultural Production) in Canada and local artisans in the Philippines in 2001.  Following a successful pilot project of 50 stoves in 2004, TICOS and Serenity Holidays signed a 3 year agreement with REAP to provide some 500 stoves annually to communities in The Gambia. Funds raised from the Carbon Offset scheme subsidise the cost of the stove for the locals so that they only have to pay D150. This is not only cheaper than traditional wood burning stoves but they also have a long lifespan, lasting around 6 years.

For The Gambia, the stoves have been adapted to burn agricultural by-products of rice husk and groundnut shells as these are freely available. This reduces the locals reliance on charcoal and wood, which are either expensive to buy or unsustainable and time consuming to collect. In addition to the savings in cost and time, health benefits are also being reported and monitored as the Mayan stoves can be used in the open air and are virtually smoke free.

Mayan Turbo Stove


  • Reduce the use of fuel wood for household cooking.
  • Cheaper than buying charcoal or wood from markets.
  • Reduce people's reliance on scarce and costly fuels.
  • Reduce pressure on the Gambian forests by slowing deforestation.
  • Reduce methane emissions from crop milling residues by utilising peanut shells, millet husk and rice husks as fuel i.e. putting waste products to good use.
  • Health benefits i.e. reduces intake of smoke, reduces chance of injury from chopping wood.

To date, we have subsidised the sales of over 1000 stoves and have a waiting list of 1500 to distribute. If sales of the stoves continue, we believe that we will exceed our target of subsidising and distributing 1500 stoves by the end of 2012 and many villages will become 'wood free' in their cooking.