|Posted by Edith Achamukong on May 3, 2014 at 3:25 AM|
A specially designed bag called ‘The Wonderful Bag’ has been introduced to low and high income households in Buea sub division to enable them cook while saving time, fuel and money. The bag that is made from cloth is filled with an insulating material called polystyrene that conserves heat or cold for a long time. It is an initiative of an environment NGO Pro Climate International and is intended to scale down the felling of trees for firewood around the Mount Cameroon National Park.
The simple but efficient bag was introduced to women’s groups, gender activists and members of the public at Bongo Square in Buea on April 09 2014.
After carrying out research in villages around Cameroon, Pro climate International found out that, women have difficulties meeting their fuel needs in the kitchen. The NGO thus saw the need to address the fuel problem while ensuring that forests are preserved. Talking to ‘The Green Vision’, Hassan Ngale field assistant said ‘Our mothers go to the farm and fetch plenty of firewood that is used up in a very short time. With the Wonderful Bag, they will use the same quantity of firewood for a longer period. We are really trying to fight deforestation in Buea and in Cameroon and we believe that since this Wonderful Bag worked in Rwanda and South Africa, it will work in Cameroon.
Talking about how the project came about, the Pro Climate’s Executive Secretary Jean Claude Tsafack said ‘We are out to fight against global warming and to improve on the living conditions of the people. We have started with the production of some 200 bags that were co-financed by the PASC (Civil Society Strengthening Program of the European Union). Actually we are negotiating with NGOs Partners from Germany to start a pilot phase during which we will produce some 500 bags. If that pilot phase is successful, we are going to extend the project to others regions of Cameroon’. He went on to give directives on how the bag is used ‘to cook the food, you need to boil the food on the fire, and as soon as the food starts boiling, you carry the pot, put it inside the bag and close it. You can go to the market, to the farm or you can be doing laundry while the food is gently cooking inside the bag’.
During a demonstration exercise at Bongo Square, staff and volunteers of Pro Climate International used the cooking gadget to prepare food items like beans, rice and green plantains.
One of the onlookers Cletus Agbor who happened to procure one of the cooking bags for his family said “I am an advocate for environmental protection. I want to see if this bag is going to be sustainable and if it is going to help us in stopping the damage that we have already caused on the environment.”
Agbor went on that he uses both gas and firewood in his home “When I buy a bottle of cooking gas, it lasts for a month since I have a large family. I buy a truck load of wood for eighteen thousand FCFA and the wood lasts for about three months. So I will have to compare to see if with the use of this bag, the expenditure will increase or decrease.
Moved by the idea, gender activist and promoter of women’s empowerment Mme Esther Omam remarked that “the wonderful bag has come to increase household incomes for women. Women are the biggest users of firewood and this has heavy consequences on our forests, environment and climate. I think this initiative by Pro Climate to come up with bags that will enhance cooking while reducing the level of firewood consumption is a very good idea because the woman will not need to buy much firewood again. The money saved from firewood will be used to educate our children, pay health bills and take care of other household expenditures and who comes out victorious and empowered- the woman!
According to officials of Pro Climate International, users of the Wonderful Bag can use it not only in the kitchen but also in the farm, office or school given that no smoke is emitted in the cooking process.