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ColaLife logo with strapline
ColaLife Dot Org Logo.jpg
Motto Building unlikely alliances to save children's lives
Formation 2009
Type Registered charity (1142516)
Headquarters Rugby, Warwickshire
Official language
Simon Berry

ColaLife is an independent non-profit organisation, that became a registered charity on 21 June 2011 (charity number 1142516). ColaLife is working to leverage the distribution network of The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) to get simple medicines, such as rehydration salts, and information on how to use them, to the most remote areas in developing countries.

ColaLife seeks to work with governments, businesses, NGOs and communities to bring about social change. The organisation is not affiliated to The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) or any other organisation and its work with others does not imply an endorsement of any product or brand.


1988 - 2008[edit]

In 1988, Simon Berry was working on the British Aid Programme in NE Zambia, conscious that while he could buy a bottle of Coke anywhere, one in every five children under the age of five died in these areas through simple causes such as dehydration through diarrhea.[1] So he had the idea that Coca-Cola’s distribution muscle could be used to distribute oral rehydration salts in developing countries. At that time, with only a telex machine available, he struggled to get any attention for his idea.

2008 until today[edit]

In 2008 Coca-Cola’s participation at the Business Call To Action event re-kindled the idea. The active work for ColaLife was started with a first blog post in the founder’s personal Blog. This Blog post did not attract Coca-Cola’s attention, so Berry decided to try to get the idea debated on the BBC Radio 4 programme, iPM.

In-parallel, first attempts to communicate with Coca-Cola failed, because it was not possible to get past the first line in Coca-Cola’s CSR department. Social media technologies such as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, helped get more people behind the idea quickly.

On May 21, 2008, Berry was interviewed by Eddie Mair for the iPM Programme. The interview was featured on May 24. Three days before the broadcast, the iPM team received a written statement from Coca-Cola’s then Global Director for Stakeholder Relations, Salvatore Gabola, that he would be happy to have a chat on this subject with Simon in the near future.[2] Eddie Mair coined the term Aidpod in his interview with Simon Berry broadcast on 27.12.2008.[3]

This was the start of an ongoing relationship between the ColaLife campaign and TCCC. Since this first contact with TCCC and the first report about ColaLife on the BBC, the campaign has won supporters from all around the world. In 2010, Simon Berry and his wife Jane decided to work full-time for ColaLife to move it from a campaign into an implementation phase.

Virtual advisory board[edit]

ColaLife is recruiting high profile members to its Virtual Advisory Board, to lend expertise, credence and contacts. Current members are:


Model AidPod with Social Products

The ColaLife concept is based on three facts:

  1. You can buy a bottle of Coca-Cola almost anywhere in the world, even in the most remote regions of developing countries.
  2. In these same places one in five children die before their fifth birthday from preventable causes. Most die from dehydration from diarrhea.
  3. The child mortality figures have not changed significantly for at least 3 decades which would indicate that current initiatives are not working as well as they should.[1]

ColaLife aims to use Coca-Cola’s and other companies’ distribution channels, which offer deep, local penetration in developing countries, to save lives, particularly children’s, to improve supply chains for health products, especially for the so-called Last Mile. The AidPod concept proposes filling unused space between crated bottles, to carry social products such as oral rehydration salts, vitamin A, water purification tablets and other locally determined items to remote areas. An AidPod is a wedge-shaped container that fits inside the unused space between the necks of the bottles in a crate of Coca-Cola. To be sustainable, ColaLife proposes models where local micro-enterprises, which make money out of collecting, distributing and selling crates of Coca-Cola, can also make money by delivering Aidpods. In practice, an SMS-based system could be implemented to:

  1. Confirm delivery
  2. Trigger micro-payments to the person who confirms delivery and to the person who delivered the AidPod

Awards and funding[edit]

Year Description Comment
2008 The New Statesman’s New Media Awards nominated [4]
2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge one of 30 semi-finalists[5] and selected for the Ideas Bank
2010 UnLtd Award for Social Entrepreneurs Awarded £15,000 towards living expenses to work full-time to move ColaLife to the implementation phase[6]


External links[edit]