It’s back to the kitchen table

Kitchen tables have been important in the development of ColaLife. That’s where we started and that’s where we are now.

Jane and Simon's kitchen table

Despite the incredible progress we are making, the funding and administrative arrangements have been very chaotic over the last few months – and here we explain why.

The progress first:

  • Expansion of activities in and around trial districts (Katete & Kalomo) by KZF our front-line trial partner.
  • New frontline partner incorporated (iDE) and front-line teams in place in new districts (Mazabuka, Kabwe and Chibombo).
  • Activity underway in Lusaka compounds to link in with the CIDRZ promotion of ORS and Zinc (KZF) due to start now.
  • MOUs in place with the Ministry of Health and all partners (KZF, iDE and Pharmanova).
  • Ministry of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Community Development, Mother & Child Health (MCDMCH) on board, fully briefed and enthusiastic.
  • Kit Yamoyo formats re-designed based on trial findings.
  • Advanced prototypes of scale-up Kit Yamoyo formats distributed to:
    • Copperbelt for ‘willingness to pay’ study (IDinsight) – this compares the two scale-up Kit Yamoyo formats: the screw-top and the flexi-pack
    • CHAI for concept testing of the flexi-pack in India, Nigeria and Uganda.
  • Improved voucher system and inventory control system commissioned with Dimagi.
  • Marie Stopes have incorporated Kit Yamoyo into their Community-based Distributors programme in Solwezi.
  • Assembly and distribution of Kit Yamoyo now being managed by Pharmanova (our private sector pharmaceutical partner).
  • Orders for Kit Yamoyo (eg from wholesalers and NGO distributors) are now made directly to Pharmanova.
  • Stability testing of a local Zinc product underway at Pharmanova and the blister pack foil for this has been designed to enhance adherence.
  • Strong links with UNICEF – likely collaboration from mid-2014 in the Copperbelt.
  • Kit Yamoyo name is registered in the UK and is about to complete registration in Zambia.
  • Open access initiative in place – – global access agreements in place with CHAI and iDE. This allows access to our findings and learning without jeopardising publication in peer-reviewed journals which will be a key dissemination channel.
  • Through to the final stages of funding opportunities with the Scale-up Nutrition programme in Zambia (60% DfID funded) and USAID-DIV

And now the chaos. In December (2013) the Secretary of State of DfID decided to close down Trademark Southern Africa (TMSA) prematurely. TMSA were chosen by DfID to be our accountable body which means that all our funding came through them. TMSA also provided us with free office space, administrative support and funding for dissemination to other countries. When we returned from leave our office had been cleared (we had been warned that this might happen) and so it was back to the kitchen table!

The ColaLife Office - 27-Mar-14 IMG_7806
Our cleared office on 27-Mar-14 | Fridges make great flipchart stands!

The ColaLife Office - 27-Mar-14 IMG_7803
Our office contents in our kitchen/living room | ColaLife’s 6′ x 6′ home office in the corridor between that room and the bedroom!

Despite the chaos, we do find this situation hugely motivating with everything pared back to the bare essentials . . . getting Kit Yamoyos out there and saving children’s lives. Today one of the biggest distributors in Zambia took their first 10 cartons of Kit Yamoyos (350 kits) and Pharmanova have sold 5,000 kits to non-trial areas in the last 2 months. Yesterday, when we announced that Kit Yamoyos were available for anyone to buy from our pharmaceutical partner, Pharmanova, the Director of Child Health in the Zambian Government said:

This is great news. This will work very well and increase access to life saving commodities.

Meanwhile, back in London, we feature in the lobby of the DfID HQ:

Colalife GREAT Campaign poster

It’s a funny world.

Onwards and upwards.




  1. Via Email says

    I’m always amazed and inspired by the way you two make positive happen out of negative, and laugh in the face of adversity!!

    Onwards and upwards indeed!!


  2. dear Jane and Simon

    So very pleased to see how this project has developed and extended since the Hult days. I hope you are both well and wish you a fair wind as you go from strength to strength.