Innovation Changes Cooking and Lives
A recent perusal of Amazon.com brought us to an amazing story of one woman making a difference and following her dream. The woman is named Sarah Collins and her product is known as the “Wonderbag.” Together they are bringing innovation from South Africa to the world, and in turn bringing relief back to Africa in order to help its poorest citizens empower themselves and improve their quality of life.
The inventor has a rich history of service in Africa, from humanitarian to environmental work. The Wonderbag marries both of these in a concept that is simple, elegant and eminently practical. It is a portable slow cooker that uses no electricity and helps to conserve fuel and increase efficiency while cooking. The full list of benefits is impressive.
Over 3 billion people in the world still cook exclusively over a wood fire, a method which entails concerns related to the environment, personal health and safety. It can also make it difficult for economically challenged families to get ahead. Burning wood to cook necessitates the felling of trees and releases harmful emissions. Wonderbag reduces carbon footprint and each one saves approximately 1.7 trees a year. Wood burning fires, especially indoors, pose major health risks from smoke inhalation on top of the additional health and safety concerns related to the gathering of wood and water. Wonderbag can free up time and empower those in rural Africa to enjoy further pursuits outside the home, which in turn allow them to better their lives.
The Innovation of The Wonderbag
The concept is simple enough and has been around for about as long as mankind has harnessed fire. Insulation prevents loss of heat and by placing a boiling pot inside the heavy padding, Wonderbag allows it to remain hot and continue cooking for up to 12 hours. While this is truly changing lives in Africa, the magnitude of this may be difficult to fathom for those of us who can simply flip a switch for power and have never had to walk to gather wood or water before.
Wonderbag is engaged in a wonderful 1:1 donation effort, meaning that for every unit sold elsewhere in the world, one will be donated to a family in need somewhere in rural Africa. The device makes “practical, environmental and commercial success” no matter where in the world the user is, but the knowledge that it can serve as a catalyst out of poverty for those in need is its greatest boon.
The slogan for the product reads “Powerless is Powerful.” This serves as a perfect encapsulation of the dual aims of environmental conservation and humanitarian aid. Read more about the history and technology of the Wonderbag, the outreach work and even find some great recipes on their website if you are interested.