Sheriff Sonko is the project manager of Tiloo’s project center in Latriya. He was born and raised in Gambia, where he completed Senior Secondary School and graduated from Computer professional course. He underwent many additional professional trainings as for example with World Links, Peace Corps or Network Plus (N+).
He brings a manifold of professional experiences and skills into his managing position for Tiloo: He was employed as a computer teacher and as an information and technology lecturer, later joined the banking industry and also worked for the Office of the President as System administrator. In addition, he served most of his career as a community worker with ‘The Green Trust’ which is a rural community-based non-governmental organisation engaged in environmental protection, good forest management practices, village capacity building, campaigns against forest degradation and which carries out tree planting exercises.
Sheriff Sonko says that he loves to work for Tiloo because it is “an organization that’s leading the future of the people. Its objectives are to show to the population of the Gambia the practical advantages of solar energy and how it can contribute to better health and hygiene.” He is strongly convinced of the concept of help for self-help, as saying goes: “Better show me how to catch a fish than to be giving me fish daily.”
To book activities, visit our project or discuss other questions, our project manager and team at the Project centre can be reached by phone during our opening hours, by e-mail or via the contact form at the bottom of this page. Activities can be booked also for lunch time, even if the office is closed.
In 2013, the Project Tiloo moved from its original place in Kanifing to a new location in the village of Latriya. Currently, we are busy building the new project centre. The main building will be completed in December 2014. We expect to secure the financing for the remaining buildings until the end of 2015 and to complete their construction until the end of 2016.
If you want to support us with the construction, please use our donation form presented on the left side of our website. Thank you!
The new TILOO Project Centre will resemble the former facilities in Kanifing but without the large bakery shop. Instead we will concentrate on our educational programmes for baked goods and dried fruits and vegetables. We think that the educational programmes are of great importance. Therefore, we focus on making courses with content, showing in an accessible way how solar technologies can bring an additional income and how they can help our environment and health. These courses will be taught in our project centre, under a large roofed area we are now building. This structure will also be used to make demonstrations for tourists and other visitors.
We also make numerous presentations throughout the region, where we try to make people aware how solar energy can be used. In addition, we have a stand on several events, where we demonstrate our solar cookers, tunnel driers and sell our products. Thanks to the generous sponsors of our School Programme, we are able to present Solar Cooking at several schools spread all over The Gambia.
We currently employ one carpenter in our project, who produces the solar cookers and tunnel driers in accordance with the international ULOG design.
We take special care to insure that our cookers and driers are produced from local materials. This way, we actively support local employment and local businesses.
A large part of the heating needs of the populations in Africa are covered by wood harvested from local forests. The intensity and scale of wood harvesting is such that many forests in African countries are greatly endangered. The usage of firewood - mostly for the preparation of food - leads not only to increased CO2 emissions but also to an increased risk of desertification and erosion. This results in the loss of habitat for plants and animals and valuable agricultural land. By switching to solar cookers it is possible to decrease strongly the need for firewood and related emissions. The cooker works exclusively with sunlight and is capable of reaching 170°C.
Our solar cookers are very well suited for cooking, baking, refining, making fruit or vegetable preserves, drying and sterilising water and medical equipment. The cooking time is longer than with conventional means but, since there is no risk of burning or overcooking, it is not necessary to always be around the cooker. This frees up a lot of precious time. Since the energy of the sun is freely available the costs of a solar cooker can be amortised in a few months. What's more, the families with a cooker can earn an extra income by preparing baked products or dried fruits for sale.
Most African families use a lot of oil when cooking. With the solar cooker less water and oil are required, which reduces their costs and helps to preserve the vitamins and mineral nutrients in the food. The lower usage of fat and increased nutritional content of the food means that cooking with the energy of the sun is also much healthier. Another important health benefit is that people are less exposed to smoke from traditional open-fire cooking stoves, a normal cause of persistent respiratory diseases and eye problems. The solar cookers are therefore a better, harmless option both to the environment and to people, in particular children.
Many families in The Gambia have no refrigerator, meaning that fresh fruits and vegetables can only be kept for a short period. With our tunnel drier it is possible to preserve food for up to half a year. This also allows women to earn an additional income by selling dried fruits and other dried products.
The drier is suitable for different types of fruits, vegetables, nuts and even fish. The traditional drying methods involve laying the food directly on the ground. Using a drier instead, it is possible to prepare the food in a much more hygienic way that keeps flies and dirt away.
At the entrance to our Project Centre we established a small shop where we sell dried fruits and accessories for the solar cookers (baking forms and pots manufactured by us, together with other articles from partner organisations).
Our project Centre is located in the heart of Latriya, a small village in the Kombo North District on the West coast of The Gambia. Currently, the village has neither electricity nor running water. The population of Latriya lives mostly of agriculture and small activities. The climate is tropical, with two main seasons: between June and October the weather is hot and rainy, during the rest of the year it is much cooler and drier.
Please look into our Contact page for detailed directions.