The Wonderbag is a portable, non-electric slow cooker with a social conscience. Created by Sarah Collins, a South African adventurer, entrepreneur and social activist, the Wonderbag eliminates the need for tedious wood fire cooking and /or electricity.
The idea for the Wonderbag came to Sarah while in the middle of a rolling power outage in South Africa, resulting from the country’s precarious electricity reserves. Wanting to still cook without electricity, Sarah remembered her grandmother taking pots off the stove and wrapping them in blankets and furniture cushions in order to keep perfectly cooked casseroles piping hot. This heat retention method also enhances rural women’s quality of life by reducing the time spent cooking and keeping them from inhaling so much hazardous smoke from their cooking fires.
The Wonderbag itself is made from a simple colorful fabric filled with repurposed foam chips, a waste product of furniture and mattress manufacturing in South Africa, and fits 2 – 9 quart pots. You sit your pot on a trivet in the bag and the top seals with a drawstring. It continues to cook food which has been brought to boil by conventional methods for up to 8 hours without the use of additional electricity or fuel.
I made a Hearty Tuscan Bean Soup in my Wonderbag, and it was delicious. I prepped the soup, boiled it for a few minutes and let it sit in the Wonderbag for a couple of hours before serving. It was piping hot when my boys and I ate it, and I didn’t have to deal with washing my big crock pot afterwards. It would be great to bring to hot foods to parties or even for camping.
The best part is that for every Wonderbag purchased in the US, one is donated to a family in need in Africa. Here is more on the social impact:
Smoke inhalation from wood fire cooking is the leading cause of death globally. More than 50% of premature deaths in children under five are related to household air pollution
Each Wonderbag saves 1.7 trees, 1,000 liters of water, and 1,248 hours of time not spent collection firewood
82% of female rapes in Africa occur while collecting firewood for cooking
One job is created for every 1,000 bags sold. Over 700,000 bags have been sold to date
Watch this video for more on the social impact that Wonderbag is making.
Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. Read past stories here.