Ricochet News

Hotbox project contributes to bigger picture in George

Nov 14, 2017
Hotbox project contributes to bigger picture in George

A five-day workshop to teach women and youth to make ‘hotboxes’ not only develops skills, supports business and saves energy, but also forms part of a research project on energy uses and challenges in low income households.

The project partnership involves the resources and skills of Sustainable Energy Africa, Green Business College South Africa, iThemba Lobomi, the George Business Chamber and George Municipality with Heinrich Boell Stiftung, a German development foundation, funding the hotbox training course.

Thirty-five participants are this week learning to make hotboxes, also known as Smanga Bags, which are padded, insulated fabric bags in which pre-boiled pots can be placed to slow cook food without further use of electricity.

The bags save electricity, which has financial and environmental benefits, and contributes to indoor air quality and safety in houses where cooking is done on an open fire or paraffin stove.

As they are relatively easy to make using low-cost and recycled materials, hotbox making and selling is also a business opportunity for inspiring entrepreneurs. The workshop also provides business development skills to help participants start a sustainable hotbox business.

The hotbox training programme forms part of a research project by Cape Town-based NGO Sustainable Energy Africa, who is, with the assistance of the George Municipality electrotechnical department, conducting research surveys and focus groups regarding energy usage and challenges in Thembalethu and Lawaaikamp. 

The information gathered will feed into municipal strategic planning for low-income households in urban George. 

Image: Back from left are George Municipality strategic services portfolio councillor David Willemse, George Business Chamber Chairman Dr Willie Cilliers, iThemba Lobomi community coordinator Zameka Dyantyi, Sustainable Energy Africa training coordinator Peliwe Jubase and (front from left) George Municipality electrotechnical planning department official Steyn van der Merwe, Green Business College trainers Mamosweu Tsoabi and Dineo Tsoabi, and George Municipality manager economic development Pedro Oliphant.