Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.
In Zambia, rural health posts may serve communities 30 km away, with walking often the only access option, and queuing for ORS, which, although free, may not be in stock. ORS is well known, but zinc is not. Huge distances and distribution bottlenecks at district level stop EMs reaching rural people, and costs of bridging 'the last mile' are prohibitive; so the government is active in pursuing innovative public/private partnerships. Zambia's private health sector is one of the smallest in the world with only 70 registered retail pharmacies (2009) most in major towns; health-seeking behaviour via private sector retailers in rural areas is low. There are 2.3M children under 5 in Zambia; 74,000 die per year (Under-5 mortality rank is in bottom 20); 15% of childhood deaths are diarrhoea-related. Only 56% of Zambian under-5s with diarrhoea received oral rehydration and continuous feeding (World Bank, 2010). Nearly 20% are underweight (UNICEF). Rural mothers/carers ages are 15 to 80 with a median age 37 (eg USAID/SCOPE OVC programme, 2002), 70% are female. Average births is 6/mother and household size typically 6-7. UN estimates 570,000 Zambian children are AIDS orphans, many in extended families. Of $1-2 dollars/day income, 75% may go on food. The latest Demographics and Health Survey (DHS) for Zambia notes that 6 in 10 children with diarrhoea were taken to a health provider (DHS, 2007). Only 60% were treated with an ORS sachet; 10% were given recommended home fluids (RHF) prepared at home; 34% were given increased fluids 16% of children with diarrhoea received no treatment. Handwashing practice is poor in rural areas; UNICEF policy is to improve it. Over 2009/10 we completed 3 fieldtrips and 3 co-design workshops for a first trial of ColaLife localized to Zambian priorities, meeting 50+ professionals (16 NGOs), government and SABMiller and local women/retailers.
Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
ColaLife founder/Director Simon Berry, a former British Aid worker, and his wife Jane lived and worked in remote rural Zambia in the late 1980s – when Coca-Cola was commonly available in villages, but ORS not. Then 1 in 5 children under 5 died avoidable deaths (eg from diarrhoea). Today little has changed. The 'co-transport' idea then failed to gain traction, but changes in Social Media (to spread the idea, convene interest and put pressure on corporates) and in CSR and Business Innovation (eg Business Call to Action) and pressure to achieve MDGs have made the idea acceptable now. So in 2008 Simon realised he could employ his stakeholder management, ICT and Social Media skills to resurrect the idea. With Facebook supporters quickly growing into 1000’s, and winning support from UK and international media, Simon was able to engage Coca-Cola – which reaches even the most remote developing world communities via small-scale independent entrepreneurs – and persuade them to allow their bottlers to engage in locally determined health projects to carry AidPods, designed by Simon and Jane to fit between bottles within their crates. Simon gave up his job in June 2009 to move the vision forward and Jane has also focussed full-time on the research, legal aspects, business planning and bid-writing needed, both in a voluntary capacity.