What can you buy for $50? A tank of gas? If you are a co-ed or single, groceries for a week perhaps? Pay your monthly cell phone bill? What if I told you $50 could buy you a slow cooker, known as The Wonderbag, that does not require electricity and, for your purchase, a Wonderbag would also be provided to a woman in Africa?
Why is that a big deal?
Consider these facts:
- Women in developing countries spend 4-6 hours cooking each day.
- The Wonderbag saves energy, water and time, all very important in developing countries where there is little access to either. Also, staple diets require long cooking times.
- Lack of clean fuel means using charcoal or tree-wood for cooking. In parts of Africa, there can be little income to afford charcoal, so someone must cut down trees for all the wood necessary for long cooking times.
- Cutting down trees results in deforestation as communities quickly use the tree wood around them, digging up the roots when desperate. When local resources become limited, foraging for wood occurs further away from home. Girls are taken out of school for this chore.
- Females are at greater risk of violence, including rape, the further they are from home.
- Poverty will not end if girls don’t have time for school.
The Wonderbag was developed in 2008 by Sarah Collins to ease the social, economic and environmental impacts of these circumstances. The Wonderbag is a non-electric, heat-retention cooker that allows food that has been brought to a boil on a stove/fire, to continue cooking for hours after it has been removed from the fuel source.
One simple item provides positive environmental and social impacts including water conservation, reduction in carbon footprints, reduction in deforestation, reduction in smoke inhalation diseases and deaths, reduction and prevention of violence and rape, and increased opportunities for further education for girls.
When I read this story, which I stumbled upon on the home page for Amazon.com, there was no hesitation on my part. I immediately ordered two Wonderbags, one for myself and one for my mother-in-law. It will be a particularly handy item on camping trips during those times when it is chilly enough in the morning to cook breakfast over a fire but you wouldn’t want a fire later in the day. I will make a one pot supper while also cooking breakfast, slip the pot into the Wonderbag, and have a tasty meal ready for munching after a day of full of fun but exhausting adventures.
This weekend, my Wonderbag will get its inaugural run with a tasty recipe for Brunswick stew. Perhaps there will also be equally tasty meals cooking in Wonderbags I provided for two women in Africa. Better yet, perhaps there will be a few young ladies using the time no longer spent gathering wood towards their studies.
For more information, please watch this brief video.