It’s a fact that The Coca-Cola Company has one of the largest and most connected supply chain and distribution networks in the world. But, what you may not know is that Coca-Cola uses its network to deliver more than beverages.
Recently, one of the company’s bottling partners – Coca-Cola Northern New England (CCNNE) – learned about a high school in Vermont that needed some help delivering 40 desktop computers to a school in rural Tanzania.
Northfield Middle High School students wanted to donate computers to a school close to their hearts but far from their hometown. Several students had visited Pommerin Secondary School in 2015 during a summer trip with their local Interact Club chapter, an organization that focuses on global service.
“I was deeply impressed by these wonderful kids—twice as many as our school!—and their hard work and curiosity,” said Mike Macijeski, who teaches history in Northfield. “I determined right away to do what we could to help them.”
While in Tanzania, students worked on several community projects and visited Pommerin Secondary School twice – first to get acquainted, then a week later for a class on globalization. The school made quite an impression on the Northfield students, sparking a desire to continue supporting the school and community and helping Pommerin open its own computer lab.
“When I heard Northfield was about to recycle a lab’s worth of older computers to make way for new ones, I contacted Pommerin Headmaster Shadrack Nyaulingo to ask if he would like them,” said Macijeski. “He was thrilled, and our Interact Club jumped in to support.”
Northfield students raised money to ship the computers to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city. The problem? No shipping company could deliver the large load safely to Pommerin from Dar Es Salaam.
But Northfield didn’t give up.
Macijeski recalled enjoying a Coke at a tiny village store while visiting Pommerin, so he contacted CCNNE for help. With more than 250 bottling partners worldwide, Coke’s distribution capabilities – and fleet of trucks – could certainly get the computers to the school. CCNNE helped connect the school to Coca-Cola Kwanza, a bottler in Africa.
“I teach recycling education seminars at Northfield, so we already have a deep connection with the school,” said CCNNE Sustainability Manager Ray Dube. “Coca-Cola’s ability to merge our strong local connections with our vast global network is what makes our system so unique. Our distribution network is helping bring happiness to these schools – all the way from Vermont to Tanzania!”
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