At 19:15 BST the ColaLife idea was submitted to Google’s Project 10^100.
What happens next?
Google will now select 100 of the ideas they receive and publish these on 27 January 2009 and ask everyone to vote for the ones they like to see supported. The top 20 will then go to a panel of experts who will choose the five that are funded.
You can register for a reminder to vote here. Go on, do it now!
The full text of our application follows. Our answers are in bold:
Google’s Project 10^100
Have a great idea for helping a lot of people? Submit it here.
The first three questions are required for submitting your Project 10^100 idea, but we won’t display any of this personal data on the website or disclose it to third parties without your explicit permission.
Note: Please note that the information you have entered will be lost if you leave the page without submitting the idea.
sxberry [at] gmail [dot] com
All this information will appear on the public site as part of your submission.
Nickname: (How you want to be named as the author of this submission?)
Your idea’s name (maximum 50 characters):
Please select a category that best describes your idea.
Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?
Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?
Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don’t fit into any category at all.
6 small boxes, 1 great idea…
What one sentence best describes your idea? (maximum 150 characters)
That Coca-Cola use their distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts & save children’s lives. 147 characters
Describe your idea in more depth. (maximum 300 words)
We (6,000 in a growing Facebook Group) want to combine the talents of people working for Coca-Cola, at all levels, with the talents of those working to save children’s lives in Africa to reduce the terrible death toll of children under the age of five.
Why Coco-Cola? Because you can buy one in the most remote corners of the world, but you can’t get simple medicines. Coca-Cola have built the most amazing, truly global distribution network. We want to harness it to ‘do good’ whilst they use it to ‘do business’: a compatible process; a win-win relationship. Their network comprises local entrepreneurs, linked to locally run bottling plants. We want to demonstrate that corporates can ‘do good’ and local enterprise supports social as well as economic development. If we can make it work with a global commercial player then the model may transfer to other compatible partnerships.
The problem is not new. In Africa, everyday around 5,500 children under 5 die from simple causes like dehydration from diarrhea. This has been the case ever since record keeping began. That’s more than 2m children per year, 4 per minute in every minute of a 24 hour day, in Africa alone.
Why not use an existing, sustainable, commercial network to distribute simple medicines (oral rehydration salts)? And get hygiene and sanitation messages to all the places you can buy a Coke. This would save thousands of children’s lives. It would spawn other ideas that would join up the private sector with the public/NGO sector, combining talents of both for a better world.
We think win-win arrangements work. We want Coca-Cola to do what it does best. Let’s encourage a link-up between global business and national and local NGOs to solve one of the most shameful situations on our planet.
What problem or issue does your idea address? (maximum 150 words)
We want to address child mortality in developing countries, focusing initially in Africa; this is one of the current UN Millennium Goals. It really is an indictment on our humanity that we allow so many children to die, day in day out, in developing countries. Most people in more developed countries have no idea that this is happening; linking publicity for the issue to a simple-to-understand solution explains the fast-growing support for this idea. One measure of this is the growth of the Facebook Group which has grown, from a standing start, to more than 6,000 members in just 6 months.
The other problem this idea helps to address is the lack of awareness in the developed world, in the short to medium term, that people in Africa need help to find solutions for simple day to day issues; not just when ‘disaster’ strikes.
If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? (maximum 150 words)
The whole world would benefit from this idea becoming a reality: more children would reach their 5th birthday (this is a human right); birth rates would fall (when children survive, parents seek ways to limit the number of children they have); and the disgrace on all of us that so many children do not get the opportunities in life they deserve would be alleviated.
In addition, if we could demonstrate this type of partnership between a global multi-national and the NGO and public sectors, then many other businesses are likely to explore similar partnerships. This would go beyond ‘the usual’ CSR initiatives and show new ways of working for the common good.
What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? (maximum 150 words)
We have already made a lot of progress and we now have an open line to the CSR people at Coca-Cola. But there’s lots of work to be done persuading the business people in Coca-Cola and so we MUST keep the pressure on. We still need to persuade a global NGO to engage. As with all simple ideas the devil is in the detail. The campaign needs proper resources to build on the voluntary effort to date to: build an effective PR campaign; work out the logistics without undermining the livelihoods of those involved in local distribution; do the design work required to get materials into Coca-Cola crates; engage with local health experts and practitioners on the ground; design and implement trials that get ORS and educational messages out to parents who need them; promote the whole concept of cross-sectoral cooperation to solve problems.
Describe the optimal outcome should your idea be selected and successfully implemented. How would you measure it? (maximum 150 words)
When the campaign started our objective was to get this idea in front of Coca-Cola and talk to them about it. We achieved this within a few weeks and so our ambitions have grown. We now want to see properly monitored and evaluated trials of the idea take place, with business, non-profit and public agencies working together. We want everyone involved to learn from these so that the methods can be spread and taken up by those working to reduce child mortality on the ground.
Reduced child mortality would be our ultimate measure of success and there are tried and tested methods for measuring this. We’d also like to measure awareness amongst parents of how to prevent diarrhea in the first place and their knowledge of what to do in the event of their child getting diarrhea to prevent death from dehydration.
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You may also submit 1 YouTube video (max 30 seconds long) explaining your project. View video guidelines
Enter the URL of your YouTube video.
If you’d like to recommend a specific organization, or the ideal type of organization, to execute your plan, please do so here. (maximum 50 words)
We need to engage with many organisations and expertise to make this happen but a first step would be to get an international NGO to commit to working with Coca-Cola at a global level. We could then drill down and make things happen from the bottom up.
Email me when the voting period begins.
If my idea isn’t chosen in this program, please contact me about organizations that are interested in funding it.
Finally, please note that you can’t revise your submission once it’s live, so make sure you’ve included all the relevant information before you click “Submit.”