Social entrepreneurship isn’t always about creating something new; it can be as simple as identifying solutions for common social problems. One example is Colalife, a UK based charity. The concept is simple, but not easily identifiable.
Medicine can often be a scarce resource for those living in extreme poverty, and especially for those living in remote parts of the world. As a result, getting life-saving treatment to these places is a big challenge that isn’t easy to solve. That is, until someone like Rohit Ramchandani decides to look deeper. A waterloo grad in Health Sciences, he noticed that while medicine wasn’t everywhere, Coca Cola was.
“You can get a bottle of Coca Cola pretty much anywhere in the world, even the most remote parts of developing countries, and yet we have children dying from preventable diseases like diarrhea because they can’t get access to simple medicines,” he says. “Doesn’t that strike you as being somewhat odd?’’.
It was definitely difficult shipping medicine on its own to the most isolated areas, but he noticed that spaces between Coca Cola crates might be put to good use. He worked with a team to create a resealable “Airpod” that contained rehydration salts, zinc tablets, and a bar of soap; three low cost, simple, but life-saving materials that each all fit into the many spaces in these Coca Cola crates. These pods were each sold for around a dollar and the idea soon became a hit. Medicine was affordable for the people who needed it most, but it was also profitable enough to be self-sustaining.
Colalife is now making a huge impact in Zambia, and is continuing to expand. The organization represents the very essence of social entrepreneurship: the immense social contribution that the organization has made in addition to its unique and innovative idea is the secret behind its success. Colalife demonstrates that success can be found anywhere – if you have the commitment to turn ideas into realities, a simple observation might be all you need to make a lasting impact.
This article was contributed by Kelly Li.