ColaLife brokers partnership with global NGO for Tanzanian field work

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Our first major achievement was to get Coca-Cola’s agreement to look at trialling our ideas on the ground in Africa. Now we can reveal our second major achievement: we have successfully found them the partner they needed. Three weeks ago, on 20th July 2009, after months of partnership development talks, AED (The Academy for Educational Development) started work on the ground in Tanzania with Coca-Cola and local bottler SABCO. Together, they will be looking at the viability of early field trials to develop the work of their MDCs: a ‘learning laboratory’. And we hope that the concepts and ideas Colalife has put forward will form a successful part of those trials.

Over a year ago, in June 2008, when I travelled to Brussels to meet with Salvatore Gabola, Coca-Cola’s Global Head of Stakeholder Relations, he set me a challenge. He liked the idea. He said that the time could be right. BUT:

“Coca-Cola couldn’t do this [colalife] by itself even it wanted to. Distribution of medicines is not our business, not our area of expertise. We would need to partner with an international NGO.”

Not one to turn down a challenge, I started approaching all the big names in the UK. It’s a great idea – surely some big organisation with the expertise we needed would take it forward? What’s to lose? People could only say ‘No’…. Yep, they said No. Six months and a great many polite put-downs later: still no luck. Then I got a message from a member of the Facebook Group, Magdelena Serpa. She works for AED in the States and was really excited by the Colalife idea. She arranged a telephone conference with her colleague, Peter Johnson, a member of AED’s Senior Management Group. We followed this initial call with another involving all the relevant AED experts in Washington and New York and I was able to persuade them that the idea had potential. I undertook to try and set up a telephone conference call with Euan Wilmshurst and Adrian Ristow of Coca-Cola. That was in early December 2008.

The Coca-Cola/AED telephone conference took a while to arrange but finally we all got around the virtual meeting table on 20 January. After a couple more telephone conferences it was clear that this partnership was going to be fruitful. But there was still a lot of work to do to build the relationship; it would not have helped to reveal that negotiations were underway at that time, so I put my blogpost on the back burner and waited.

This week, my contacts at Coca-Cola told me that the work is underway, though any major announcements will have to wait until the findings start to emerge. This exploratory phase will assess the viability of social product distribution and social messaging, for trials in the last quarter of this year.

This is a big day for ColaLife: a truly significant milestone for the ColaLife campaign and the culmination of months of work behind the scenes. Thank goodness I don’t have to keep this to myself any longer!

Onwards and upwards.

Comments

  1. Russell Tanner says:

    this is just wonderful news – well done Simon

  2. Congratulations on a network well formed! Yay Magdalena!

  3. Well done Simon, you’ve demonstrated that persistence, resilience and stamina, with a good dose of belief, get the results you need.

    Best wishes

    Steve

  4. Well done, Simon. Thank you for writing such a detailed post explaining the journey. This is *so* well written.

  5. Simon Berry says:

    Thanks for the comments but I can’t let Steve’s go without a confession. I have a seriously good wordsmiths available to me. My wife, Jane who has done so much work and thinking on this campaign but has wanted to keep her head down . . . until now! Thanks Jane.

  6. Niall Cook says:

    Congratulations Simon. You must be very proud/pleased/excited* (* delete as applicable)

  7. Massive congratulations to all – you are providing not only a great thing through colalife, but inspiration to loads of us all over the place 🙂

  8. Simon and Jane – I am gobsmacked by what you’ve achieved so far, and how close the goal is becoming now. ‘Well done’ doesn’t really cover it!

  9. Rev.Ebenezer J.Malyi says:

    I recommend ColaLife to start its mission in Tanzania.Will save many children who die before their 5th birthday.This plan is from God.May God bless it.

Trackbacks

  1. RT @51m0n Another huge milestone in ColaLife campaign. NGO Partnership brokered: http://bit.ly/12C7NQ

  2. RT @Fiona_WordsBird: RT @colalife: Another huge milestone in ColaLife campaign. NGO Partnership brokered: http://bit.ly/12C7NQ << Hurrah!

  3. ileia says:

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  4. Bert(ie) says:

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  5. Sam Holmes says:

    RT @colalife: Another huge milestone in @ColaLife campaign. NGO Partnership brokered: http://bit.ly/12C7NQ – plz rt <-very big!

  6. WARDLAW says:

    RT @davidwilcox: RT @colalife: Another huge milestone in @ColaLife campaign. NGO Partnership brokered: http://bit.ly/12C7NQ – plz rt &lt …

  7. Anny Deery says:

    http://ping.fm/ypzW6 great progress for Cola Life. Keep up the good work!

  8. RT @Civil_Sam: RT @colalife: Another huge milestone in @ColaLife campaign. NGO Partnership brokered: http://bit.ly/12C7NQ

  9. […] excitement of yesterday’s announcement was just too much for one ColaLife supporter who decided a balloon release was in […]

  10. June Zaft says:

    RT: @Civil_Sam RT @colalife: Another huge milestone in @ColaLife campaign. NGO Partnership brokered: http://bit.ly/12C7NQ

  11. RT @colalife: Another huge milestone in the ColaLife campaign. NGO Partnership brokered: http://bit.ly/12C7NQ – please RT 😉

  12. […] article (Can One Pill Tame the Illness No One Wants to Talk About?) brought to my attention by Magdelena Serpa. As you can see the main theme of the article is the role Zinc can play in treating and even […]

  13. […] While all this campaigning has been going on, ColaLife has also been working hard to get Coca-Cola an appropriate global NGO partner to make this happen and get field work underway in Tanzania. The partnership with AED was announced here on 4/8/09. […]

  14. […] in Dar Es Salaam and now condoms are being distributed to clubs and bars. In early 2009 I brokered the partnership between AED and Coca-Cola at the global level and this led to Coca-Cola working with AED in ‘The Learning […]