Maximpact Blog

Coca Cola teaches ColaLife how to turn profit points into healthy babies

 New collaborative models in social impact delivery are springing up all around us, sometimes in surprising places. At Maximpact, when we see them, we like to celebrate them. One encouraging example is the story of ColaLife.

The founders of ColaLife had a brilliant idea: using Coca Cola’s extensive distribution network to get anti-diarrhoea medicines into the remotest parts of rural Zambia. The goal was to improve infant mortality rates in a country where as many as 1 in 9 children die before their fifth birthday from preventable causes like dehydration from diarrhoea.

ColaLife’s innovative design for packaging the medicine to fit into Coca Cola crates won product of the year design award from the Design Museum. But it wasn’t until they began talking to the people at Coca Cola that they began to understand what would really make their plan work.

This podcast by BBC broadcaster Peter Day is an excerpt from one broadcast in From Our Own Correspondent aired 18th July. It tells the story of how ColaLife learned the secret of successful distribution from Coca Cola.

At first, they were floored when Coca Cola personnel asked them a simple question: “What is the value chain of your product?” But they responded by changing their model; and changing their minds about the best way to deliver their mission. Now ColaLife is taking Coca Cola’s market lessons to heart, exploring more ways to use market methods to deliver health benefits in Zambia.

For more on how they’re adapting business practices to deliver mission, see their inspiring website.

To hear the entire 18th July episode of Radio Four’s From Our Own Correspondent click here.

Moving with the times: Example of a ColaLife Crate

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