21 October 2015 – Immediate release
Affordable, desirable, attractive – these are not words you would usually associate with a kit designed to counter childhood diarrhoea in developing countries. Yet this is what UK charity ColaLife has managed, through listening to customers and a focus packaging – with the help of Amcor Flexibles.The ‘Kit Yamoyo’ design benefits have now won over the Zambian Ministry of Health – who have placed the first major public sector order for 452,000 kits, to distribute in some of the remotest, highest risk areas of the country. Distribution of the first 30,000 kits is now underway, manufactured locally in Zambia, in an adaptation of the award-winning Kit Yamoyo design which has been adapted to conform to the government’s branding and requirements. Today, ColaLife’s partners Keepers Zambia Foundation (KZF) and Medical Stores Ltd (MSL) signed an agreement for distribution.
This is an excellent achievement and a major boost for the new product, which contains the established global recommendation for treating diarrhoea with Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and zinc. In a customer-friendly design breakthrough, the lightweight Flexi-pack offers a measure for the water required to make up each of the four 200ml sachet of ORS packed within it – vital in rural Africa where households rarely have measuring utensils.
Simon Berry, co-founder of ColaLife, comments, “Working closely with our packaging partner Amcor Flexibles, we came up with a way to keep the important functionality and attractiveness of our original trial package while ensuring that the kit comes at a cost that won’t require subsidy. Then Amcor offered the first 870,000 Flexi-packs as a donation – a saving we’ve passed on to our local manufacturer and ultimately the customer.”
The Flexi-pack is ‘flexible’ in other ways too: Keith Gater of Amcor Flexibles explains, “The Flexi-pack is see-through, so the printed leaflet inside, which sits squarely against the front of the pack, can be amended to carry any brand or instructions – adapted to local customs, language or regulations. Another benefit is that the filled pack lays flat improving supply-chain efficiency from packer to wholesaler and it’s easier for retailers to transport by bike.”
Copying the techniques of fast-moving consumer goods, like fizzy drinks, ColaLife has so far focussed on using the informal, private market, encouraging and training small shop-keepers, miles from towns and health centres, to stock the kit. Simon explains: “The Zambian Ministry of Health welcomed this model, as it means parents can buy the medicines they need for their children closer to their home. It’s been about working with local people to find out what they really want, not what we might think they need. Now, seeing the pack’s success, the government is piloting its own version.”
The UK’s Department for International Development is now co-funding a 2.5 year market development programme, to establish Kit Yamoyo in the private and public sector in the capital, Lusaka, beginning in October 2015, as well as a sister project in remote rural areas. This will continue the mission to stop young children dying unnecessarily from easy-to-treat illnesses like diarrhoea.
Notes for editors:
1) ColaLife is a very small, independent UK registered charity, number 1142516. It is run mainly virtually, with very low overheads. It works through partners in-country, supporting them with project management, communication and innovation skills, as well as funding. Current work is in Zambia, but ColaLife actively seek to transfer learning, designs and processes elsewhere. http://www.colalife.org/openaccess/
2) Whilst ColaLife seeks to work with corporates to bring about social change – its initial work was to find out how Coca-Cola manages to make its products available even in remote rural areas of developing countries – it is not affiliated to any other organisation and its work with others does not imply an endorsement of any product or brand. It became a registered charity on 21 June 2011. See http://www.colalife.org
3) Kit Yamoyo – the Kit of Life – was designed by ColaLife founders, Simon and Jane Berry, by working with the Zambian Ministry of Health, packaging experts Amcor and PIGlobal, health and logistics experts, local NGOs and crucially, mothers and carers of under-five children in Zambia – to find out what they want and issue they face. This is called ‘Human Centred Design’. See http://www.colalife.org/kityamoyo/ http://www.piglobal.com/ http://www.amcor.com/about_us/innovation_tech/helping-a-child-reach-five/
4) Kit Yamoyo has won many awards for innovation, including Product Design of the Year 2014; DuPont Packaging Innovation Diamond Award, 2013; the FT/IFC Transformational Business Award (Health, with Johnson and Johnson) 2014, and the GSK Save the Children Health Innovation Award, which is co-funding market scale up in Zambia. See Note 5 and http://www.colalife.org/awards/
5) For current status of ColaLife’s work see http://www.colalife.org/status/. Funded projects include an initial trial, majority funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, which produced compelling results, see http://www.colalife.org/2014/02/11/seven-of-the-headline-findings-from-the-colalife-trial-in-zambia/ and two market scale-up projects, also supported by DfID among other funders, to scale-up distribution in both remote rural and urban areas of Zambia. See http://www.colalife.org/2015/02/16/kyts-ace-gets-underway/ and http://www.colalife.org/2015/09/10/dfid-support-for-lusaka-scale-up-confirmed/
6) ColaLife does not take any profit from the designs and Intellectual Property it creates, but offers these as ‘Open Source’ to any corporates, health agencies or NGOs who can use the learning to save children’s lives in developing countries. The charity works to influence manufacturers, governments and international agencies to ensure more appropriate, easy to use and customer-friendly designs are widely available in Zambia as well as other countries.
7) ColaLife’s local manufacturing partner in Zambia is Pharmanova. The charity is also supported by and working with Johnson & Johnson/Janssen and GSK. NGO partners include Keepers Zambia Foundation. Medical Stores Ltd is the government parastatal for distribution.
8) For high resolution product photos see http://www.colalife.org/gallery/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/colalife/albums/72157658908768529
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