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  • Simon Berry

    Fail. Abandon. These are emotive words used by journalists to get people's attention and both have been used in recent days about Kit Yamoyo. The image of our kits in a Coca-Cola crate is such a striking one that people overlook the other aspects of the design which came from women in poor rural areas whose main worry, when their child gets diarrhoea, is that their child will die.

    They told us about the problems they have with the standard 1 litre sachets of ORS. Most don't know what a litre is and have no means of measuring it even if they do. In addition, they told us that a litre is too much for one child (these sachets were originally designed for institutions not for the home).

    So our Kit Yamoyo contains ORS sachets that make up a glass full (200ml) and the packaging itself acts as the measure for the water, a mixing device, a storage device and cup.

    Although only a small proportion of the retailers put the kits in crates they did buy 20,470 in the first 6 months from a standing start. Before we started 0% of children who got diarrhoea in our target communities received the recommended treatment - ORS and Zinc. At the 6-month point 42% did. This recommendation was made buy the WHO in 2004 and adopted by most governments but it's still not getting to the people who need it.

    These 20,470 kits probably saved around 50 lives.

    Do you think 'fail' is an appropriate word to use in these circumstances?

    Fitting in the Coca-Cola crates ended up being a 'feature', not a 'benefit'.

    We will not be abandoning the current design. Mothers like it. In fact we are about make up another 20,000 - however, if we remove the constraint of the kits needing to fit in the crates then we can reduce the cost of the packaging considerably which will make our kit even more affordable.

    We've been working with our packaging partner - PI Global - on this for some time now and expect to release details of designs that maintain all the benefits of the existing Kit Yamoyo but do not fit in Coca-Cola crates. These may not win any design awards but we don' exist to do that. We are here to save children's lives and we will stick resolutely to this despite the fact that we may be accused of abandonment or failure!

    Simon Berry

    • Adele Peters

      Thank you so much for you comment! The word 'failure' in the headline is misleading, as my point was that we need a better way to pay tribute to more complicated innovation—like learning lessons from Coke's distribution methods—versus sexier, flashier ideas like innovative packaging alone. While fitting packaging in the crates may not have turned out to be the ultimate path you chose, I definitely don't think that reflects on the success of your overall project—and would love to invite you to share more of your work on

    • jarrettdawson

      Good stuff, Mr. Berry. I think you're doing plenty of Good.