It has never been easy for medicines to get to the right place at the right time in the country; the many problems clouding the Medical Stores Department prevent medicines from reaching hospitals in time.

In its effort to solve this problem, Coca-Cola's Project Last Mile, a partnership between itself and the MSD, which is aimed at making sure medicines reach everyone, everywhere in time is an exemplary project in which a public-private partnership has been seen to work for the benefit of the people. It is a partnership I am happy to witness, mostly because I never thought a government parastatals would smoothly work with a multi national company like Coca-Cola.

Among its many benefits is the knowledge the MSD staff has got about the procurement, storage and distribution of medicines, which is digitally documented, helping them understand the stock of medicine available, how much they need and when to ask for more. This partnership is a landmark in the history of public-private collaboration and I am very proud not only of the fact that many lives have been saved but also because its here to stay for a long time, making the distribution and availability of medicines easy all over the country.

The Launch of EKOCENTERS was also a success. The creation of the centers, places where electricity, pure water and refreshments are found benefit not only the supervisors who are women but the entire village. Bringing electricity into a village where it doesn’t exist makes life easier for its residents who in most cases walk long distances to charge their phones, the television in the centers is a nice way to bring them up-to-date with what’s happening while refreshing with a cold Coke.

More important is the fact that the locals feel a sense of ownership for the centers, this feeling helps them protect them like their very own, and this guarantees their existence for a very long time. However, I think the idea of providing free water will not work for some reasons.

Tanzania trip

The EKOCENTER we visited is situated 3 meters from the village tap to which it connects and purifies the water for safe drinking. It costs 50 shillings (about $0.03) for a 20-litre bucket, although the EKOCENTER water is purified, if given for free, it will hurt mineral water business on the shop and the village tap, which brings revenue to the village everyday. There will be a misuse of the water because it’s given for free, something I am sure Coca-Cola is not aiming for. Selling the purified water even for a minimal price will sustain the village business and help in maintenance of the centers, or further developing them into Internet accessible areas.

Tanzania trip

I made a personal commitment to visit the EKOCENTER again by the end of January 2015 to see the progress and what decisions were made for it to operate best.

For the 5by20 initiative we visited Lilian, a woman with a very inspiring story, encouraging women to get back up even after facing unbearable failure in business. A story of how Coca-Cola partners with women to go the furthest they are willing to go. With women like Lilian, I believe it is possible to reach the 5by20 target, because it can only be reached by mutual collaboration.

We also visited women who sell food at a bus stand in town, they had solar panels and a fridge on their stalls, but these are not the most remarkable things we noticed; it was the fact that their businesses will be sustainable because of the financial lessons they got, the idea of them having their businesses for decades, that's what was worth noting.

Tanzania trip

And when April Jordin, Director, Corporate External Affairs, Atlanta, Ga., gave their group leader a Coca-Cola diary from Atlanta, one woman come to me and asked if I had an extra branded Coca-Cola diary to give her so she would have a place to document her daily sales. I am used to women like these asking for money to solve their problems; that she asked for a diary instead of money is proof that they are better and ready for whatever comes their way, to work hard and use the knowledge they got to solve problems. I look forward to meeting other 30,000 women just like them.

I learned a few things from the bloggers we toured with as well, there is some inspiration from stay at home mums who blog because its a passion other than because they want the money, but the biggest lesson I got from meeting and talking to these women is how after sometime, they started to earn from their passion, I was happy to confirm from them what I have always known and believed in: that passion generates money not the other way round.

Coca-Cola has been a force to reckon with, making sure that social development is a shared responsibility. All the three projects have saved lives or made them better, they have brought smiles into people's faces, something that I encourage Coca-Cola to continue to do, especially for the less privileged communities.

Mike Mushi is a Global Shaper in the Dar es Salaam hub and founder of Jamii Forums, one of the most popular online communities in Tanzania. Jamii Forums’ boards of user generated content cover a wide range of political and social topics

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