To put a new twist on an old Coca-Cola slogan: ”Have and Coke and . . .some hydration salts?”
While many commercial products never find their way to all of the world’s countries, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t have Coca-Cola. The ubiquitous soft-drink, with its trademark red and white label and logo, can be found wherever there are people to drink it.
Coke, and its renowned global distribution system, is the inspiration for the non-profit start-up ColaLife. The idea is to “hitch a ride” on the unused spaces in crates that carry Coke and other products and disperse life-saving health care products, such as oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements. About 1 in 5 children in the developing world die before age five from simple preventable causes like dehydration from diarrhea.
ColaLife is the vision of Simon Berry, a longtime innovator and social entrepreneur. Based in the United Kingdom, he and his wife Jane have given up regular employment to volunteer their time to launch to the company. The WHCC Health Innovations Blog recently spoke with Mr. Berry about their endeavor.
The organization started as an online ‘movement’ in April 2008 and has more than 10,000 online supporters that have given it the power to engage Coca-Cola, UNICEF and other key stakeholders. Coke supports the idea and ColaLife is working to secure funders and partners to get the project up and running.
ColaLife uses a simple yet elegantly-designed container called an AidPod to hold small products that are needed in developing countries. The wedge-shaped device slips between the necks of rows of crated glass Coke bottles. Two ridges located on either side of wedge allow the container to lodge beneath the bottle caps, thus ensuring it will not fall out during transport. It’s possible to “piggyback” the AidPod on products that are destined for remote areas that have a need
The AidPod has gone through several design phases (it’s on number 5) in order to reduce production costs and allow it to work more efficiently. The current design is about half the length of the previous one. A slide-off cap used on a previous version has been replaced by flip-up cover.
Plans call for using private industry to distribute the AidPods, with each point of distribution earning money for their efforts.
ColaLife has chosen the sub-Saharan African country of Zambia for its trial run. Both Simon and Jane Berry will be relocating to the country while the trial in underway. They are in the process of raising funds and lining up supporters and distributors. Visit here to donate to the ColaLife effort.