27 February 2017

Time Poverty and the Importance of Culturally Relevant Innovations in the Developing World

This mini-biography of Sarah Collins is the second piece in the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Women in Science, Technology and Innovations series that analyses the gender dimension of Sustainable Development Goal #9: Industry, Infrastructure and Innovation. Leading women inventors of the 21st century were asked to avail themselves for interviews and/or submit articles highlighting the gender dimension of their work, research or inventions as they relate to SDG #9 and outlining their implications in helping to realize that goal. Please note that the interviews and articles are for discussion, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.

Referred to by most as ''the Bag Lady'', Sarah Collins has come to be known the world over for her brainchild - the Wonderbag. The cooking tool has become beneficial to many for several reasons: it saves energy and fuel, provides health and nutritional benefits and saves time, among others. During our interview on women in science, technology and innovation, to commemorate the International Day of Women in Science, Sarah stated:

''If we give people back time through culturally relevant innovations like the Wonderbag then we will achieve all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.''

With many countries around the world such as South Africa, the United States, Jordan, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Uganda, the United Kingdom and more recently, Ghana, embracing the Wonderbag, its sales surpassed 1 million in 2015. The business world and international community have also been quick to recognise the potential of Sarah's invention. She was voted as one of the Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs by Fortune Magazine in 2013 took the stage as a key note speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos and TEDx Cape Town in 2015, and more recently, worked with technology giant, Dell, to help raise awareness around entrepreneurship and its value in the developing world.

The overwhelmingly positive adoption and response surrounding the Wonderbag makes it clear that Sarah's innovation is a critical catalyst for positive change in households around the world.

Tune in to our Digital discussion series podcast here to find out more about the Wonderbag and its inventor!