Answering some of the questions

Dehydrated Child

Various questions came out of the first get-together last week of the ColaLife Campaign. I thought it would be useful to try to expand on these and seek help/suggestions from readers of this blog, so here goes.

What problem do we want to solve?
This is easy. We are trying to reduce the number of children that die everyday before their 5th birthday from simple causes such a dehydration from diarrohea. This will not be achieved by distributing Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) alone. Education and awareness of sanitation and hygiene issues are the most effective. So we want to distribute educational materials and link the distribution to local extension activities. We can do this!

Where would the project be taking place?
Our objective must be to get a commitment, from Coca-Cola, before the end of the year to trial this idea in Africa with the involvement of the local institutions responsible for children’s health. The results of the research into Coca-Cola’s distribution system in East Africa should be available in Oct/Nov.

What would we be sending – rehydration salts?
Yes, but we will use these as a ‘device’ to convey an educational message as well. And we must leave room for local determination of what is distributed. LifeStraws?

What doesn’t manage to get distributed successfully at the moment?
Virtually everything. Condoms for example. But we must keep things simple, focussed and appropriate to the Coca-Cola brand. Rehydration is it!

Can we get the RSA and more fellows involved?
There is a project set-up on the RSA Networks system here. Unfortunately you have to request an ID and PW to see it. However, if you are an RSA Fellow please support the campaign there by commenting/contributing and thereby keeping the project ‘live’. Thanks to those who have already done so.

Would it be beneficial to create a competition brief (e.g. RSA Design Directions / Design21 / Core 77)?
There are many others in this group who are better qualified to answer this than me but here are a few thoughts:

  • We need some sort of container to carry non-Coca-Cola items within a Coca-Cola crate either in one of the crate compartments, which would sacrifice a bottle of Coke, or in the other space in a crate not taken by the bottles.
    • Can anyone provide the dimensions of the crates and bottles used in Africa?
    • Can anyone provide details of the crate-filling process? Whatever we do would need to fit into this process without too much disruption.
  • We are focussing on Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and Educational Materials but there needs to be some flexibility for the actual contents to be determined locally
  • How could we ensure participation in such a competion by people in developing countries?

How can we use the Coke packaging itself, could it be altered to create a lifestraw for example?
Umm, I’m not sure about this. As far as possible, I think what is distributed should be on a ‘no purchase necessary’ basis. May be the instructions that go with the ORS could refer to a Coke bottle as a measure of the amount of water to add.

Should we look into hosting an event?
What do people think? Who would do these outside the UK?

How can we get demographic data from the Facebook group and do we need to?
It would be very powerful to do this and I think it would be possible. For example, I believe the Facebook Group now has members in virtually every country in the World and that most members are young people. There is a Facebook developers group that meets regularly in London and I have a contact. I will follow this up and report.

Should we work together with an NGO? Who?
We do need to identify an international NGO to work with Coca-Cola on the project. Initial, low level contact with Oxfam and WaterAid and been disappointing but members of the Facebook Group are working on contacts in both of these NGOs. If we draw a blank with these then we will move on to others. Coca-Cola have existing relationships with international NGOs such as CARE International.