Mercy

Help Mercy bring clean and cost-saving energy to the people of Mathare slum in Kenya

$1,062 will pay for:

Mercy and her team to train 10 women tailors to produce Wonder Bags from garment off-cuts, and provide 30 families in need with cleaner, safer and cheaper cooking systems

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Mercy's Story

Mathare, Kenya

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700 million people in Africa rely on solid fuel such as firewood and coal to cook, heat and light their homes. Household air pollution is responsible for 1 million deaths in children under 5 years old every year. On top of pollution, solid fuel is costly to poor families and firewood is very time consuming to collect.

Mercy, who lives in Mathare slum in Nairobi, has one solution which addresses all these problems. It’s called the Wonder Bag. It was invented to help rural households reduce fuel consumption, especially in areas where there are frequent power outages.

This is how it works: Simply bring rice or beans – or whatever you’re cooking - to the boil in a pot on the stove, and as soon as the water is boiling transfer the pot to the Wonder Bag, where it will keep cooking without using fuel!

Its effective design made with locally-sourced cotton and thick fibres means that no heat escapes. This enables users to cook in the morning and leave their food in the Wonder Bag for the whole day, and it will be hot when they come home. So people can store their food for an entire day, as well as use less energy, save time collecting firewood and save 40% of their weekly fuel costs.

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Each bag lasts for 5 or 6 years and if damaged can easily be repaired at a tailor’s shop for less than $1.

Mercy has been a tailor for the past 15 years and learnt how to make Wonder Bags through a Sustainable Energy Africa initiative which focused on equipping women tailors with Wonder Bag production skills, as a way to reduce household pollution for poor families as the bags become more available.

She has since made and sold over 20 Wonder Bags and is now keen to train other women tailors to use recycled waste cotton from the off-cuts of their garments, to produce more Wonder Bags, so more families in their community can utilise them!


For $1,062 Mercy can train 10 local women tailors from the Mathare Slum to produce 40 Wonder Bags. They’ll each keep one for themselves and 30 will be donated to single mothers who need them.