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The Cola Road Documentary and what's next for Colalife

The RSA Great Room, with its James Barry paintings of The Progress of Human Knowledge,  was a fine setting yesterday for the launch of The Cola Road Documentary telling the story of the Colalife mission to deliver medicines to poor mothers in isolated Zambian villages. There was lots of learning for us – not least more on how the original idea of delivering the medicines in Coke crates has changed.

As you can see from the applause pictured in my panorama, and the tweets below, the film by Claire Ward was very well received, with further news coming through during the evening about Colalife being presented to the UN General Assembly as one of 10 breakthough innovations to save lives.
The original Colalife idea, that captured people’s imagination, was to use Coca Cola’s unique supply chain to deliver ant-diarrhoea medicines to save children’s lives. That has worked in trials, and the Kit Yamoyo won a Design Museum Product of the Year award. However, the real innovation proved to be designing a value chain that rewarded people all along the line, without necessarily using crates, as I reported earlier.
The change in design approach was highlighted by BBC global business correspondent Peter Day in a programme broadcast on Radio 4, and yesterday Peter chaired the panel discussion after the showing. Here’s his account of finding a better business story than he expected from the Kit Yamoyo award.

Later in the RSA Gerrard Bar I was able to catch up with Simon Berry – who created Colalife with his wife Jane – for an update on future plans, and also meet Ali who cycled from Cairo to Cape Town with Lizzie to raise money. Their story here.
As well as explaining how the Colalife programme now aims to move from pilots to national coverage, Simon highlighted the importance of social media in developing Colalife. As you can see from the Colalife blog, he has done an extraordinary job of openly chronicling the programme.

Here’s a selection of the tweets during and after the showing.

Earlier posts about Colalife