Zambia Diary | Day 1, Visit 3 | UNICEF, MSL, MTZL and San Francisco

MTZL Vouchers
MTZL Vouchers (apologies for the poor quality of this image)

I got up early to talk to Alison and Mark about vehicle allocation. But I was too late, they’d already gone. Mark had taken Alison to her new pre-school and dropped her off so that we had use of her car :-). With support like this how can we not succeed? We at least have an obligation to be caught trying!

Before breakfast I thought I’d catch up with email and straight away Google Chat jumped to life. It was Tom Lee from San Francisco – it was 10:30pm there, 6:30am here. Tom, who was the brains and most of the brawn behind our Christmas event, now lives in San Francisco and has been liaising with other ColaLife supporters there on ways to increase awareness of ColaLife in the United States. It was great to get an update on progress from Tom – more on this later.

We had three meetings lined up for Day 1: 10:30am UNICEF; 1pm Ian Ryden, MSL and 3pm MTZL (Mobile Transactions Zambia Limited). A thumbnail of each meeting is given below.

Kicking off with a meeting with UNICEF was the perfect way to start this trip and we covered the following issues:

  • Progress updates on both sides
  • The relationship between the Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) and academic aspects of the pilot
  • The process for identifying and contracting with the Monitoring & Evaluation sub-contractor
  • The approach to the PRA (Pharmaceutical regulatory Authority)

We hope to have the M&E aspects of the plan described and costed (in first draft) by the end of next week.

Ian Ryden, MSL
We have a meeting planned with MSL next week but Ian will not be around for that so he kindly agreed to meet up to share his thoughts on the details of the assembly and distribution workpackage. The result is that we have all the details we need to describe and cost this element of the pilot.

MTZL (Mobile Transactions Zambia Limited)
As someone who just loves the application of new technology to development challenges, I was really looking forward to meeting the guys at MTZL. We’ve been in email contact for a few weeks now and MTZL have been commenting on a specification we put together for the mobile phone elements of the pilot. The specification can be downloaded here (DOC, 45 KB). There are three elements of the pilot where we expect mobile phones to play a role:

  • Voucher redemption – MTZL have significant experience in this area – see example vouchers above
  • Authentication of the Anti-Diarrhoea Kits (ADKs)
  • Health messaging and reminders

During the meeting, MTZL showed us another feature which may also be of interest to us: the distribution of questionnaires to field workers and collection of M&E data using mobile phones. MTZL committed to sending us a costed proposal by the end of next week.

A very satisfying start to our third and final pre-pilot visit.