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Sarah Collins of Wonderbag launches the global Coalition of Action

Sarah Collins, social entrepreneur and founder of the Wonderbag, launched the Coalition of Action (COA) on Wednesday, 31 August in Cape Town to unite communities and leaders across the globe to address many of the world's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Sarah Collins of Wonderbag launches the global Coalition of ActionUsing Wonderbag as a catalyst, the COA will pool major resources from investors, philanthropists, big business and influential leaders to empower communities across the globe. The goal is fundamentally to collaborate to end poverty by bringing a total solution of a better life to women in the rural world, connecting brands with data, lifestyle and prosperity.

“We cannot afford to sit back and let the 2030 deadline go by without actually effecting change. We must make this reality,” exclaims Collins. The COA is endorsed and supported by big-hitters such as Unilever, Dell, Huffington Post, and Jane Goodall with COA partnerships centres currently being set up in SA (Africa), USA, and UK.

“It’s absolutely brilliant when large corporations and organizations support initiatives like these, which might start small but have game-changing potential to impact society and business for the better. Dell has a long-term commitment to women entrepreneurs on any continent, and we are thrilled to offer women like Sarah the technology and the access to networks and markets to scale their business and impact globally,” shared Elizabeth Gore, Dell Entrepreneur in Residence.

The Wonderbag, with Collins as its fiercely passionate and uber-connected founder, is well placed to head up this SDG linked initiative. With 8 years of data on hand and over a million bags active around the globe, the Wonderbag has been recognized as a real solution by Forbes, Davos World Economic Forum, and most recently the United Nations where Sarah gave an address on Time Poverty and Using Data and Innovation as a catalyst out of economic deprivation. At home, Fairlady recently recognized Sarah for role as change leader, awarding her prestige accolade of 2016 Woman of the Future.

“We’ve proven that it’s bringing answers to the women who were once living on 20 US Cents, but after the Wonderbag effects, now generate $2 per day to live on - that's huge success, they have more time and more money, dignity and freedom,” indicates Collins.

Research backs up the 'Wonderbag Effect' and that is does have a direct impact on deforestation, addressing gender inequality, creating entrepreneurs as selling agents, eradicating time poverty that limits women from being economically active, reducing death and disease form indoor air pollution, and getting girls away from endless cooking and firewood collecting and back into schools. All of these benefits link directly to core objectives set out by the United Nations.

“I believe the world of business and economic developments are intrinsically linked. The only way to see real shifts out of poverty and a removal of the status quo for women living in inaccessible, rural areas is if we can get the right data to support innovation that is culturally relevant to these marginalised communities,” shares Collins. This data is also part of Collins’ bold move as the organisation becomes more ‘data-heavy’, banking critical information in “data-less” communities to develop high-impact interventions. And to partner with business using this data as a key leverage point.

The COA is right on market trend with the shift in big business from predictable rote “CSI programmes” to purpose orientated brands with real development to make “billions of lives betters”.

Showcased project

The COA launch included the showcasing of Hout Bay High (HBH) revamped Wonderbag School feeding programme that proves that government, entrepreneurial learners, and nutritional innovation can together revolutionise school feeding programmes – that can be applied across the continent.

HBH is well known for its successful, commercial vegetable gardens that are run by its learners and supply local restaurants. These gardens not only replaced the dump sites around the school but also currently generate a consistent income that is managed by a very entrepreneurial Environmental Committee.

Like many other schools across the continent,over a 100 students come to HBH school on empty stomachs every day. The Wonderbag partnership, sought to address this by bringing on board well-known, ex-Unilever chef, Ursula Rohrs, to explore how the standard, state-issued ingredients, generally unappealing to the students, could be used with their produce to persuade hungry students to eat healthily – and not just survive of their preferred packet of R3 chips every day.

The project took four months to complete and recipes were handed over to the school to pilot with students. The school cook and a selection of students were trained on how to prepare these meals. The impact of the Wonderbag will also be tracked as part of an energy-reduction project run by learners.

Parents of learners attended the event – with over 200 families having snapped up a subsidised Wonderbag. This is particularly valuable for impoverished communities, as by using a Wonderbag 3-4 times a week, each home can save up to 30% on their monthly energy costs, cut cooking time in half, and families are at a lower risk of injury and disease caused by fumes, smoke and fire typically used to cook.

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