Top 5 Achievements in 2020

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2019’s top 5


The COVID pandemic has made 2020 a difficult year for us all. We have not made as much progress on our strategy for an impact beyond Zambia as we had planned. Whilst COVID seems set to have a very limited direct impact on young children and their parents in developing countries, research has shown that the indirect impact, through disrupted health systems, will be enormous – more on this below.


1. The ColaLife Playbook launched.

Playbook launch graphic

Playbook logoThe playbook – essentially a guide to our learning – was the one element of our globalisation strategy fully under our control in 2020; we were able to continue with its development and launch it on 28-Oct-20. The playbook is aimed specifically at those wishing to radically improve access to diarrhoea treatment, specifically oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc (ORSZ), in geographies where diarrhoea contributes to high levels of morbidity and mortality. It will also be of interest to those interested more broadly in system change. Please help us raise awareness of the playbook. It’s on two easy to remember urls: and the unbranded one: Please spread the word.

The playbook is published as a living and interactive online document here: It is published alongside a commitment from ColaLife to support its users by responding to comments made and questions asked in the document itself.

The playbook draws on our experience in transforming access to diarrhoea treatment for children in Zambia. It is not a detailed blueprint solution but describes the processes and principles we followed, the things we did, and the people we engaged, to improve access to co-packaged Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and Zinc for diarrhoea treatment. We also highlight the things we’d do differently and the mistakes we wouldn’t repeat!

Others who follow these processes and principles are likely to catalyse the creation of products and system changes that are appropriate to their local circumstances. However, the end result should be the same: improved access to co-packaged ORS and Zinc for the treatment of childhood diarrhoea.

We are particularly grateful to all the volunteer readers who reviewed and advised on changes to the playbook before its launch. >>more


2. IBM Business of Government Report.

IBM Report - Title Page

A young PhD student, Paulo Savaget, first contacted us in 2016, with a view to a case study on how we were creating a long term sustainable system by ‘hacking’ Coca-Cola’s distribution model. His view points were sufficiently intriguing to win our agreement to collaborate and a year later, in Dec-17 he won a grant to take the study further. See: Paulo Savaget wins IBM Center for Business of Government Award

Paulo, now already professor at Durham University, published his report in January 2020. It is one of the most interesting, thorough and in-depth analyses of our approach that you will find anywhere, and is essential reading for anyone interested in new ways of thinking about disruptive innovation, system change and co-creation: >>more





3. COVID Webinars.

Lancet modelling framework May-20As indicated in the introduction, COVID is set to have a very limited direct impact on young children and their parents. However, the indirect impact, through disrupted health systems, will be enormous.

During the year Simon delivered three webinars outlining this situation and arguing that as soon as we have learnt to live with COVID the need for cost-effective treatments for other diseases – such as co-packaged ORS and Zinc for diarrhoea – will be stronger than ever. The foundation of these webinars was modelling of the impact of the disruption of health services caused by COVID that was published in The Lancet in May-20. >>more


4. The Cola Road became available to stream.

In 2012 the independent documentary film maker, Claire Ward, followed us and some of the original Kit Yamoyo treatment kits along the Coca-Cola supply chain as we checked it out before starting the original ColaLife trial in Zambia. The result was an award-winning documentary called The Cola Road. Eight years on, the film became available to stream and download here. It’s 38 minutes long as is a must watch for anyone interested in our work.


5. Amcor donate packaging for 1 million more co-packs

Flexi-pack - donated by Amcor

Amcor, who have been solid in their support for our work since the planning for the scale-up in 2013, donated the packaging for another one million co-packs this year. This is their second donation of a million of the specially designed and printed sleeves, and we are extremely grateful for their support. The impact of their donation is to reduce the ex-factory cost of Kit Yamoyo thereby increasing affordability. This increases use and saves lives.


Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has supported ColaLife throughout 2020. We couldn’t do it without you.

Onwards and upwards.