SUMMARY: ColaLife harnesses sea-changes in corporate social responsibility and mobile-based micro-payments, proposing its AidPod distribution system, allowing local health agencies to make simple low-cost life-saving health supplies and awareness materials, ubiquitous, well-understood and easily available in the developing world, over-coming current transport, logistical and commercial barriers.
PROBLEM SPACE: 1 in 5 developing world children (1.5 million annually) die before age 5, often from treatable causes such as diarrhoea, malaria, poor nutrition and sanitation. Poor awareness and scant local availability of simple, cheap medical and health supplies are key; a function of poorly developed rural transport and distribution systems.
SOLUTION: In May 2008 former British Aid worker Simon Berry realised that with multi-nationals competing for CSR ‘wins’ he could use his skills in stakeholder management, ICT and Social Media to campaign to resurrect an idea he originally had in Africa in 1988: ColaLife.
With Facebook supporters quickly growing into thousands, and harnessing the support of UK and international media, by June 2008 Simon gained an interview with Coca-Cola’s Global Head of Stakeholder Relations, Salvatore Gabola. Simon was invited to Tanzania by Coca-Cola in November to visit locally owned Manual Distribution Centres (MDCs) and local bottling enterprises and contribute to a stakeholder development event. In on-going dialogue, Simon successfully brokered a relationship between Coca-Cola and a global NGO, AED Ltd, as partners in a ‘Learning Lab’. By April 2009 Coca-Cola publicly committed to trials of ColaLife; AED is now managing a first fieldwork programme in Tanzania, piloting a variety of training and development initiatives centred around MDCs. To ensure ColaLife is a successful part of this trial, we have incorporated, developed a support team and micro-payments partner, and now need start-up funding to commission Africa-based prototyping of our ‘AidPod’ design, a concept now accepted in principle by key stakeholders including local MDC owners.
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