The hay basket (or hay bag or hay box) is an ideal way to keep food warm or to finish the cooking process. It makes it possible to prepare food and to eat it (much) later so that women can be more flexible in organising their time. And it saves wood because the food does not need to be reheated. The hay basket is a success story in all projects.
The hay basket is a braided basket made of locally available plaiting materials (hay, reed, grass, bamboo). It is lined inside with fabric, filled with cotton or other insulating materials). Depending on what is locally available, one uses also (chicken) feathers/down, hay/grass, millet chaff, (sheep) wool, rags and even used plastic bags.
As long as the basket insulates sufficiently and retains the heat. The pan is placed inside and covered with a cushion.
Local hay basket production can be part of a small business, an NGO or a cooperative.
A hay box works on the same principle, but a box instead of a basket is used.
The cheapest method is the hay bag. Two empty bags are needed, for example plastic rice bags as found in Africa. The bags are nested one inside the other and the space between the two bags is filled with millet chaff.