A South African company has changed the game when it comes to slow cooking with the creation of the Wonderbag. These large, extra colouful pillow-shaped cooking bags have revolutionised what it means to slow cook your meal.
Designed by South African entrepreneur Sarah Collins and poverty activist Moshy Mathe, the Wonderbag is aimed at helping families from areas where firewood is scarce, or fuel is too expensive, to confidently prepare perfectly cooked meals without having to worry about fuel or electricity consumption.
In 2018, Time Magazine placed Wonderbag on their list of top 50 most genius companies in the world, sharing the spotlight with the likes of Nike, GoFundMe, and SpaceX. The accolades don’t end there. Collins was featured in Oprah’s African Heroines, she received Fair Lady’s prestigious Woman of the Future Award, along with being named one of Africa’s top six wealth creators on the continent by Forbes Africa Women Magazine. Her most recent achievement includes winning the Ardent Techie category at the 21st Century Icon Awards in London.
“To be recognized as a New Wealth Creator by Forbes Woman Africa is a huge honour as the summit itself is a source of inspiration and support that connects and empowers women all over the African continent. Every woman in Africa is a potential entrepreneur, but if they spend up to 8 hours collecting firewood and water as well as cooking – how can they ever have time to earn an income or tend to their agricultural land and sell produce in the market? That’s why I created the Wonderbag. I believe Africa needs economic stimulation in rural communities to ease the burden on urbanization” Collins said at the Forbes Woman of Africa Gala dinner.
Wonderbag has done more than reduce the cost of cooking a meal for those in low-income areas. According to a study conducted by WHO, for every family that purchases one Wonderbag, 1.7 trees are saved from deforestation, 1000 litres of water is saved per year, one job is created for every one bag sold, and carbon emissions are reduced by over 1 ton. Wonderbag also eliminates ‘time poverty’ meaning women are able to focus their time and efforts on tasks that will help befit their future, instead of spending on hours gathering firewood, or spending large portions of their salary on paraffin.
As of 2018, Wonderbag has helped increase the income of over 500,000 women across 20 countries, with a majority of those women using the Wonderbag as part of their catering business or by actually making the bags themselves. Last year, Wonderbag partnered with the Red Cross Foundation to bring the bag to refugee camps in Rwanda and Uganda.
As for Wonderbag itself, the company has received plenty of recognition internationally and was accredited by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, awarded first place in the Climate Change Leadership Awards, and received Eskom’s 2012 Innovation Award. In 2019, this proudly South African product also earned itself further international acclaim by being included in the London Stock Exchange Group’s second edition and 2019 report for ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’, which identified Africa’s leading private companies with the most inspiring stories and strongest growth potential.
“Food is the one thing that unites the world. Often we need to look out of the box to look at change” Collins said in an interview with Time magazine.
Feature image: Twitter/ @WonderbagSA