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Saturday, 18 July 2009

Colalife: using sugary drink distribution for good

Russell on the plinth

My friend Russell Tanner spent an hour on Friday afternoon furiously tweeting away whilst precariously perched on top of a plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Of course he was part of the One and Other project and decided to use his hour to promote the Colalife project.

ColaLife is a campaign to get Coca-Cola to open up its distribution channels in developing countries to save lives, especially children’s lives, by carrying much needed ’social products’ such as oral rehydration salts and high-dose vitamin A tablets.

For the latest on the campaign, please visit the blog. ColaLife is an independent and purely voluntary movement backed by thousands of supporters on its Facebook Group. ColaLife is not an organisation.

It was launched by Simon Berry, who had an idea while working on the British Aid programme in 1988:

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?

Having made no progress with the idea for 20 years, Simon decided to try once more but this time using the convening power of the internet. Since floating the idea on his blog in May 2008, he has managed to create a huge community around the campaign, through a Facebook group and appearances on Radio 4’s iPM programme. He is now in discussions with Coca-Cola and is looking to engage with an international NGO to move the project forward.

Here's Simon and Russell talking about Colalife.

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