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Kit Yamayo

  • Object:

    Medicine

  • Date:

    2014 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Colalife

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Simon Berry and Jane Berry

  • Museum number:

    CD.155-2016

  • Gallery location:

    On display in Values of Design, Design Society, Shekou, China []

Cola Life is a series of three packaging designs for an anti-diarrhoea kit called Kit Yamoyo (meaning ‘Kit of Life’ in Nyanja and other local languages spoken in Zambia). This is an example of the second iteration of the kit, a screw-top cylinder package design which also acts as a measuring jar. It contains oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc supplements.

Simon Berry is the founder of Cola Life and initially had the idea for these packaging designs whilst working on the British Aid programme in 1988. The first packaging design was a container which can fit inside the empty spaces of a fully-loaded Cola-Cola crate (CD.101-2016). The premise was that a bottle of Coca-Cola can be bought virtually anywhere in developing countries yet in these same places, one in nine children die before their fifth birthday from preventable and often neglected causes like dehydration from diarrhoea. Berry observed that these communities did not have the same kind of access to medicine as they do to other goods such as soft drinks. The Cola Life idea was to piggy-back on pre-existing distribution networks such as Coca-Cola, in order to adequately deliver affordable anti-diarrhoea kits to remote villages. As compelling as this was, Berry’s proposal gained no real traction until he posted the idea on Facebook, twenty years later, in 2008.

Although the innovation produced great publicity for the project, Berry discovered that the subsidised price was still considered expensive for around 40% of those surveyed in the Zambian communities where it was deployed and surprisingly that only 8% of retailers had even put the kits in a Coca-Cola crate to transport them. These revelations led to this cheaper and simpler screw-top cylinder package design which also acts as a measuring jar.

Cola Life is a good example of how design thinking can be applied as a tool for problem solving to address fundamental questions of human well-being, in particular problems of poverty, health and education in developing countries.

This Kit Yamoyo was acquired as part of the Shekou Project, an international partnership between the V&A and China Merchant Shekou Holdings (CMSK) to open a new cultural platform called Design Society in Shekou. The Kit Yamoyo was included in the inaugural exhibition, ‘Values of Design’, in the V&A Gallery at Design Society in a section exploring design for cost and distribution.

Physical description

A transparent plastic cylindrical container with an plastic orange screw top lid. There is medicine in sachets and instructions inside the container.

Date

2014 (designed)

Artist/maker

Colalife

Dimensions

Diameter: 6.5 cm, Height: 10.7 cm

Object history note

This Cola Life kit was included in ‘Values of Design’ at the V&A Gallery, Design Society in Shenzhen, China in 2017.

Descriptive line

'Kit Yamayo' (Kit of Life) Screw-top anti-diarrhoea kit. 4g/200ml sachets of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), Zinc, Soap and an instruction leaflet

Labels and date

Packaging Designs for Kit Yamoyo
Cola Life
Zambia, 2012-2014

While Coca-Cola is available anywhere in the world, many places still lack access to basic medical supplies. ColaLife proposesto use the distribution network of the soft drink to deliver medicine. Its packaging is designed to fit in the niches of Coca-Cola crates and travel alongside the beverage to remote villages in Africa. []

Materials

Plastic; Medical Component (medicine)

Categories

Interiors; Household objects; Shekou; Values of Design; Design Society

Collection

Design, Architecture and Digital Department

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