Progress Report – 30/12/09

MDC Child
Child at Rene MDC, Tanzania, November 2008
Image credit: Simon Berry

May 1988 – May 2008 – the first 7,305 days – no progress!

  • May 1988 Had the idea while working on the British Aid Programme in NE Zambia that Coca-Cola’s distribution muscle could be used to distribute oral rehydration salts in developing countries
  • I tried to promote the idea but made no progress at all!

May 2008 onwards- the last 578 days – real progress!

  • 6/5/08 The presence of Coca-Cola’s Chief Executive at the Business Call To Action event re-kindled the idea. I contributed to the online blog saying: What about Coca Cola using their
    distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts? Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as ‘the life saving’ compartment?’
    (original live blog available here)
  • 6/5/08 I decided to blog the idea and then follow-up by trying to get Coca-Cola’s attention. The blog post is here.
  • After the blog post I tried to get the idea debated on the BBC Radio 4 iPM programme. I was successful on the 3rd attempt and after getting friends to support the idea on the iPM blog (see below).
  • 6-14/5/08 I was in communication with Coca-Cola but could not get past the first line in Coca-Cola’s CSR department
  • 16/5/08 Heard Annie Lennox on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. She said We can distribute Coca Cola all around the World but we can’t seem to get medication to save a child from something as simple as diarrhoea and I think that that is wrong. At this point I decided my blog post wasn’t going to be enough! I decided to set up a Facebook group to get people behind the idea.
  • 18/5/08 Facebook Group formed.
  • 19/5/08 #colalife tag set-up in hastags
  • 21/5/08 Interviewed by Eddie Mair for the iPM Programme.
  • 21-24/5/08 The iPM Team worked flat-out to create an amazing feature for the programme on 24/5/08 and this paid off handsomely
  • 23/5/08 colalife tag establsished in
  • 23/5/08 The iPM Team received a Written statement received from Coca Cola – ‘willing to talk’
  • 24/5/08 The campaign was featured on iPM (BBC Radio 4)
  • 24/5/08 As part of the iPM feature, Eve Graham (ex lead singer – The New Seekers) sang supporting lyrics to ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’.
  • 27/5/08 Coca-Cola Reydration Project proposed on RSA Networks (RSA Members only)
  • 1/6/08 The colalife ampaign was nominated for the New Media Awards
  • 5/6/08 Telephone conference with Coca Cola’s Global Head of Stakeholder Relations and UK conterpart
  • 13/6/08 Facebook Group grew from 0 to 2,115 in 26 days. Membership includes a ‘frontline’ Rehydration Project in India
  • 16/6/08 Face to face meeting with Coca Cola’s Salvatore Gabola in Brussels.
  • 3/7/08 Ran workshop at the 2gether08 Festival
  • 3/7/08 Follow-up interview with the iPM Programme (video)
  • 6/7/08 Coca-Cola’s Adrian Ristow sent his first diary note from Ethiopia
  • 6/7/08 ColaLife Google Group established
  • 6-20/7/08 Facebook bug did not allow Kate Andrews to be added as group administrator – Facebook Support contacted
  • 13/7/08 Simon Berry interviewed on the BBC World Service
  • 17/7/08 Progress Report (6th Facebook Newsletter) >>more
  • 21/7/08 Kate Andrews became Admin of the Facebook Group (group size: 3,400)
  • 29/7/08 Kate’s article published on
  • Inhabitat article starts an avalanche of other artcles including on treehugger, trendhunter and many more.
  • 3/8/08 ColaLife Flickr Group established
  • 3/8/08 domain name purchased
  • 3/8/08 Aims & objectives finalised through Google Group
  • 4/8/08 Colalife website and dedicated blog built by Facebook Group member Dave Briggs.
  • 6/8/08 Facebook Group membership hits 4,000
  • 14/8/08 First face-to-face meet-up of the ColaLife Group
  • 20/8/08 Meeting with James Alexander, CEO, We Are What We Do
  • 21/8/08 Interviewed for Common Ground Magazine (US) – feature to be published on 1/10/08
  • 21/8/08 Responded to questions from El Mercurio, Chile
  • 27/8/08 Facebook Group membership hits 5,000, Google group has 55 members, Flickr Group has 256 members
  • 27/8/08 Progress Report >>more
  • 31/8/08 Article published in the Sunday edition of El Mercurio, Chile. This is the first the ColaLife story has been printed on paper. >>more
  • 1/9/08 ColaLife banner ads made available. >>more
  • 8/9/08 Facebook group hits 5,500 – the number of children under the age of 5 that die each day in Africa. >>more
  • 12/9/08 ColaLife ‘Buzz Monitor’ created using Pageflakes. >>more
  • 15/9/08 talkSPORT interview. >>more
  • 20/9/08 Excellent ‘Before and After’ ORS pictures found. >>more
  • 4/10/08 ColaLife featured as a case study at ‘Social Activism Online’ conference. >>more
  • 18/10/08 ColaLife press page created >>more
  • 19/10/08 ColaLife Video for Google’s Project 10^100 published on YouTube. View the video on YouTube.
  • 19/10/08 Application submitted to Google’s Project 10^100. >>more
  • 25/10/08 Kate Andrews writes ColaLife Wikipedia Entry.
  • 25/10/08 Coca-Cola invites ColaLife to Dar Es Salaam! >>more
  • 1/11/08 Progress Report >>more
  • 6/11/08 ColaLife Video for Google’s Project 10^100 made available for the iPod >>more
  • 10/11/08 Skype call with ColaLife mentor Tielmann Nieuwoudt
  • 15/11/08 Jess ponsford submits innovation ‘ColaLife Pod’ design ideas >>more
  • 18/11/08 Facebook Group membership hit 7,000
  • 20/11/08 BBC to cover the Tanzania Trip >>more
  • 20/10/08 ColaLife case study presented at NCVO’s Collaboration conference
  • 24/11/08 ColaLife plenary presentation at NCVO’s Info 2.0 conference >>more
  • 24/11/08 Views of ColaLife Video for Google’s Project 10^100 hit 3,000
  • 25/11/08 Kate Andrews presented ColaLife as a case study at KHiO, Oslo
    National Academy of the Arts >>more
  • 25-29/11/08 Simon Berry in Tanzania at the invitation of Coca-Cola >>more
  • 25/11/08 Field trip to Manual Distribution Centres (MDCs) in Dar Es Salaam >>more
  • 26/11/08 Stakeholder meeting convened by Coca-Cola in Dar Es Salaam
  • 26/11/08 Made prototype ‘ColaLife Pods’ >>more
  • 27/11/08 Field trip with Benito Xaverly – ‘ColaLife Pods’ discussed on video >>more
  • 28/11/08 Met with Dr Jane Miller, PSI, Dar Es Salaam. PSI are potential partners in the trialing of the ColaLife idea >>more
  • 4/12/08 interviewed by Nigel Courtney for NESTA Innovation Handbook
  • 5/12/08 Live interview on newstalk Radio, Ireland’s national talk radio station >>more
  • 6/12/08 Progress Report >>more
  • 13/12/08 ColaLife aims and objectives formally reviewed and re-stated based on the learning so far and informed particularly by the trip to Dar Es Salaam. The AidPod moves centre stage.
  • 16/12/08 Face to face meeting at Global Tolerance HQ >>more
  • 27/12/08 BBC iPM ‘Best of Year’ feature broadcast >>listen
  • aidpod domain names registered >>more
  • Introduced by Kate Andrews to David Berman the author of Do Good Design >>more
  • 8,000th member joins ColaLife Facebook group >>more NOTE: we are now encouraging people to join our Facebook page
  • 24/1/09 AidPod ideas explored >>more
  • 21/2/09 ColaLife Twitter background released >>more
  • 4/3/09 Mark II of the AidPod revealed at face to face meeting at Global Tolerance HQ >>more
  • 8/3/09 Supporters encouraged to make their own aidpods – patterns released >>more
  • 11/3/09 ColaLife’s Simon Berry is second blogger to be confirmed for the G20 Summit >>more The G20-specific blog posts are here
  • 18/3/09 Simon Berry featured in ‘Social Pioneers’ supplement in the Guardian >>more
  • 25/3/09 The children of N’gombe Compound, Lusaka celebrate the aidpod >>more
  • 28/3/09 Dame Barbara Stocking (Director, Oxfam GB) gives her verdict on the aidpod >>more
  • 5/4/09 Bob Geldof talks to Simon Berry about the aidpod >>more
  • 8/4/09 theWorkshop in Sheffield build a giant aippod >>more
  • 25/4/09 Coca-Cola commit to ColaLife trials in Radio 4 interview >>listen
  • 25/4/09 ColaLife, ‘story so far’ presentation at ‘Africa Gathering’ >>watch
  • 6/5/09 ColaLife’s first birthday
  • 17/5/09 ColaLife featured in HARVARD report >>more
  • 11/6/09 Giant aidpod installed at NESTA, the UK’s Innovation Centre >>more
  • 12/6/09 Prof Don Nutbeam endorses ColaLife in televised panel discussion on global public health >>more
  • 17/6/09 Mark III of the aidpod unveiled >>watch >>slideshow
  • 24/6/09 ColaLife to play Glastonbury >>more
  • 1/7/09 Mayor of London says ‘No’ to ColaLife giant aidpod on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square >>more
  • 5/7/09 Russell Tanner dedicates his spot on the 4th Plinth to ColaLife >>more
  • 7/7/09 ColaLife headlines in NESTA handbook on social innovation >>more
  • 11/7/09 Twitter campaign for plinth appearance starts >>more
  • 14/7/09 Sarah Brown (the UK Prime Minister’s wife) tweets for ColaLife! >>more
  • 18/7/09 Russell Tanner promotes ColaLife on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square >>watch
  • 4/8/09 ColaLife brokers partnership with global NGO for Tanzanian field work >>more
  • 5/8/09 ColaLife balloon release >>watch
  • 15/8/09 An assessment of where we are with Coca-Cola >>more
  • 26/8/09 Progress report >>more
  • 19/8/09 ColaLife is incorporated >>more
  • 24/9/09 Google back off from Project 10 to the 100th (very disappointing) >>more
  • 10/10/09 Giant ColaLife AidPod displayed at the Africa Gathering event >>more
  • 14/10/09 WHO/UNICEF Report published: Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done >>more
  • 18/10/09 ColaLife makes the GOOD 100 List >>more
  • 27/10/09 ColaLife presented at the 8th Annual World Food and Innovation Conference, Rotterdam >>more
  • 31/10/09 ColaLife enters the Buckminster Fuller Challenge >>more
  • 4/11/09 ColaLife presented at the inaugural TEDx London event >>more
  • 12/11/09 Keynote presentation at Chain Reaction 2009 >>more
  • 13/11/09 AidPod Mark III animation released >>more
  • 14/11/09 ColaLife Channel launched on YouTube –>>more
  • 16/11/09 The ColaLife animation reaches 10,000 views >>more
  • 27/11/09 ColaLife gets through to stage 2 of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge (35 of 215 entries have made it this far) >>more
  • 7/12/09 Giant AidPod display installed at the RSA, London >>more
  • 12/12/09 ColaLife Development Plan published >>more
  • 30/12/09 Progress report >>more

Next moves

  • Fund raising has begun to raise funds to proptotype, manufacture and test the aidpod and the ColaLife concept
  • Increase level of engagement with Coca-Cola with the aim of securing trials of the ColaLife concept in mid 2010
  • Simon Berry will give up his day job in June 2010 to work full time on ColaLife
  • On-going PR campaign to ensure support groups continue to grow

5,500 children die every day in Africa before the age of 5. This initiative could save thousands and thousands of children’s lives through positive engagement between the private and NGO sector.


  1. I volunteer with charity Friends of Monze we work in town of Monze
    Zambia. Do you work in Monze?

    • Hi Deana

      Monze is one of our ‘control’ districts for the trial and in addition to this we have just done some price elasticity work in Monze to help us understand what mothers and care-givers would be willing to pay for the Kit Yamoyo as we move into the scale-up phase. We are likely to start promoting Kit Yamoyo in Monze after the final survey is done there in March 2014.