Our strategy has been to move from one achievable objective to the next. Our first objective was to start a dialogue with Coca-Cola on opening up their distribution networks to carry social products to save children’s lives. This dialogue started in 2008.
Our next and current objective is to complete the independently evaluated trial of the ColaLife concept – The ColaLife Operational Trial in Zambia (COTZ). This includes a funding stream to analyse and share learning – not only in Zambia but across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
In line with our step-by-step approach this objective was broken down into the following tasks – most of which we have achieved on time:
- Research into possible countries for a field trial. This involved looking at the overall country data on population, culture, health, Coca-Cola-related infrastructure, drug availability and supply chain and public health infrastructure. We also looked at case studies of existing health initiatives and we initiated conversations with local and international NGOs and government officials in some of these countries. [UPDATE 29/11/12: We selected Zambia as the most promising country for a successful trial and it is underway].
- Establishing communications with the local and international stakeholders who will be need to run the trial. Good relationships with international stakeholders and local stakeholders are established. One of the key factors in deciding the country of the trial was the agreement from the Coca-Cola bottler to participate. [UPDATE 29/11/12: The implementation partnership in Zambia includes: The Ministry of Health; Medical Stores Limited; SABMiller (the Coca-Cola Bottler); a pharmaceutical partner (PharmaNova); a mobile transactions partner (Zoona); a local Social Marketing Partner (Keepers Zambia Foundation. Our Steering Group, set up to share information and learning, includes the Churches Health Association of Zambia; JSI; CHAI; World Food Programme; PATH; IDE; World Vision; Society for Family Health (PSI); CIDRZ and UNICEF. We are funded by the (UK) Department of International Development, J&J Corporate Citizenship Trust; COMESA/TMSA; Honda and with additional funding to strengthen evaluation from Grand Challenges Canada].
- The co-design of a fully costed trial plan. We visited Zambia during 2010, as volunteers, to meet face to face with the key stakeholders to discuss the possible scope and scale of a trial of the ColaLife concept. We worked collaboratively with the key stakeholders on the co-design of a trial. [UPDATE 01/12/11: We visited Zambia three times. The COTZ trial began on 1 December 2011. The pilot outline developed during a workshop run in Zambia is here].
- Fundraising for the country visits. We initially raised £6,000 to fund our trips through The ColaLife Participation Ride; and an additional £3,000 via the Buzzbnk initiative. Coca-Cola also assisted with airfares. In addition, we were given free accommodation and transport while in Zambia by a ColaLife supporter there.
- Fundraising for the independently evaluated trial. The co-designed, fully costed trial plan, the outcome from step 3 was completed by 16/6/11. The funding was in nearly in place by October 2011, so we moved to Zambia to finalise it; the trial began in December 2011. The basis for the planning of a trial is here.
- The implementation of an independently evaluated pilot. As well as undertaking the COTZ trial we will want to publish the results so that others can learn from our experience. We appreciate that, in doing this, we will need to respect commercial confidences.
We have also been implementing the following tasks in parallel with those outlined above:
- To continue to build our supporter base. This activity was our primary activity and was very successful in building the profile of ColaLife and getting the attention of Coca-Cola. As we moved to the implementation phase, this activity has become more focussed.
- Raising strategic funding. At present three people are working full-time on the COTZ Trial. Simon and Jane Berry won a joint award from UnLtd to cover living expenses, and volunteered their time for 18 months prior to the trial started; they were subsequently appointed Project Managers by COMESA/TMSA – the Accountable Body for DfID. Rohit Ramchandani began volunteering as Public Health Advisor in 2008, and is currently undertaking a Dr PH in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University USA, where his focus is the COTZ trial – from which he draws a stipend. In order to continue our work beyond this initial trial we will need to raise unrestricted funding. To do this, we have been pursuing a range of strategies; using the Buzzbnk initiative; Global Giving crowd-sourcing; public donations and fund raising events; investigating cross subsidies; and winning a few awards.
First published: 24 August 2010
Last updated: 29 Nov 2012