ColaLife: Kit Yamoyo
by Tiffanie Pfrang on 04/24/2013 | 5 Minute Read
An incredible life-saving project that uses the empty space between Coca-Cola bottles in their shipper crates to deliver health supplements to developing countries:
You can buy a Coca-Cola almost anywhere you go in the world, even in the most remote parts of developing countries. In these same places 1 in 9 children die before their fifth birthday from preventable causes. Most die from dehydration from diarrhea. With that in mind, Simon Berry, founder and CEO of Cola-Life is working with Coca-Cola to open their distribution channels in developing countries to carry ‘social products’ – oral rehydration salts and Zinc supplements – to save children’s lives. It had been selected by The Design Museum as Product Design of the Year 2013.
Following the "Air Pod" concept, a rectangular shaped "pod" can be stacked on top of any Coca Cola case, using that free space without any extra cost. Those Pods (with anti-diarrhoea kit) then are delivered to local retail stores to be sold, distributed, etc as determined by local health organizations and private sectors. Ex. A local clinic or health worker can pick up these kits at the retail spots, hence empowering and strengthens the public health and private sector infrastructure. (Watch Simon Berry's Video on the Pod Concept below.)
"The concept stems from a question that bothered UK Aid worker Simon Berry in Zambia, in 1988: Coca-Cola is available even in remote villages yet simple medicines to treat the second biggest childhood killer, diarrhoea, are not. Why?
When Simon re-visited the idea in 2008, his wife Jane suggested making use of the unused space in a cola crate to carry an anti-diarrhoea kit. By 2009, Simon and Jane had set up the ColaLife charity, and, from their kitchen table – using Social Media – won the goodwill of Coca-Cola to explore the idea. Funded by an award from UnLtd in 2010, they gave up their jobs to bring together some of the best minds from big business, academia and non-profits: supply chain experts, health experts, logistics and design. These included Rohit Ramchandani, now ColaLife’s Public Health Advisor. Visits to Zambia were funded by Simon’s Boulogne-Biarritz Cycle ride in September 2010.
After a chance meeting at a presentation, packaging expert PI Global took the brief to design a robust pack to carry WHO recommended diarrhoea treatments, a clever plastic container which, vitally, helps illiterate mothers in rural Africa accurately measure water for the child-sized sachets of Oral Rehydration Salts it provides. Also containing Zinc to help prevent diarrhoea recurring and soap for hand-washing, the pack – dubbed ‘AidPod’ by the BBC – acts as a cup and a re-sealable storage vessel. Most important, ‘Kit Yamoyo’ was designed with input from African mothers and carers, most of whom live many hours’ walk from a health centre. In Zambia, where a trial is underway, independent rural retailers are buying it by the boxful, to carry out to their small shops in remote villages, because it’s designed to yield a profit – just like Coca-Cola does. These retailers, trained by the project, have, in the last 6 months, bought over 20,000 Kit Yamoyo, to sell at ZMK5 each (just under $1). The most promising retailers are not only serving their own community but making a gross profit on this new product of $25 to $60 per month. In rural Zambia, that feeds a family.
As Simon and Jane, who are now in Zambia managing the project, agree: “We started with the space in the crate, but much more important for the long term is the space in the market. The millions of the world’s poor want good, affordable design that meets their needs. They don’t have much to spend and want to spend it well, ideally close to where they live. Good design is not only for the rich: the poor of the world deserve the dignity of attention, from designers and from corporates as well as from the public sector and aid agencies.”
DfID is the trial’s majority funder and Justine Greening, the UK’s International Development Secretary, said: “I warmly congratulate ColaLife for this tremendous achievement. Their innovative use of Coke’s distribution system to deliver vital supplies is helping to save countless lives. It is a fantastic example of how we can work hand in hand with business to help alleviate the suffering of the world’s poorest people.” Full Press Release
More About ColaLife visit colalife.org
Simon Berry's Video on Kit Kamoyo Packaging
Evolution of Cola Life