A group of 100 technicians from the Ministry of Health are improving Malawi’s supply of life-saving immunisations after completing  training in preventative maintenance, basic repair, and fault finding for cold chain equipment (CCE). The training was provided by Project Last Mile as part of a ground-breaking public-private partnership between the Government of Malawi, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Coca-Cola Foundation.                                         

The training is one element of Project Last Mile’s activities in Malawi, which apply best practices from Coca-Cola’s delivery system to help improve uptake of life-saving health services and enable medicines to go to the “last mile” and benefit communities.

Project Last Mile has developed a replicable and scalable model for almost a decade that facilitates the sharing of private sector innovations, such as best practices, tried and tested business processes, networks and general business acumen, to strengthen public health systems across Africa.

The project started in Malawi in July of 2022 as part of the country’s Covid-19 response, with co-funding from USAID and The Coca-Cola Foundation. The project developed a communications campaign in two priority districts – Zomba and Thyolo – to promote vaccine uptake and address hesitations about getting the jab, and leveraged it’s experience with cold chains to bolster management of CCE in all of Malawi’s government health facilities. 

Project Last Mile conducted an initial assessment of all 575 government health facilities to document the available CCE and update the CCE database, including information about the equipment’s current functionality, GPS coordinates, warranty status and serial number.

This was followed by the development and execution of a repair and maintenance plan for all government-managed cold chain equipment (not currently under warranty) across the country.

In addition to the repair and maintenance activities, PLM is also collaborating with the Ministry of Health’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and the Physical Assets Management department to develop the  capacity of government CCE technicians to maintain and repair the equipment, making sure the cold chain remains unbroken and vital medicines don’t spoil.

With the support of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) in Malawi and it’s world-class expertise in cold chain equipment maintenance, Project Last Mile developed the training materials and conducted training programmes for 100 government CCE technicians in Lilongwe and Blantyre during 5 training workshops that included several practical sessions. 

The training included 24 engineering students from Lilongwe Technical College who will be able to use the hands-on practical training in their future careers, including potentially in the public health sector.

The Ministry of Health has been a core partner in the development of the capacity building activities and support from CCBA. 

“The Ministry of Health is committed to increasing the skills and experience of CCE technicians to enable improved and optimal management of all available CCE units in government health facilities. The collaboration with USAID, CCBA Malawi and PLM is providing timely and valuable support to our technicians” – Dr. Mike Chisema, Program Manager, EPI

“Our aim is to create greater shared opportunity for the business and the communities we serve across the value-chain. Opportunity is more than just money, it’s about a better future for people and their communities everywhere on the African continent,” said CCBA Malawi’s General Manager, Seutloadi Thaanyane.

CCBA has made economic inclusion a key pillar of its sustainability strategy, and the training in cold chain equipment maintenance and repair will equip participants with skills they can use to find employment or start their own businesses.

“Project Last Mile is a fantastic example of public and private sector co-operation towards the common good,” said Thaanyane.


CCBA is the 8th largest Coca-Cola bottling partner in the world by revenue, and the largest on the continent. It accounts for over 40% of all Coca-Cola products sold in Africa by volume. With over 17,000 employees in Africa, CCBA services more than 680,000 customers with a host of international and local brands. The group was formed in July 2016 after the successful combination of the southern and east Africa bottling operations of the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages businesses of The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller plc and Gutsche Family Investments. CCBA shareholders are currently: The Coca-Cola Company 66.5% and Gutsche Family Investments 33.5%. CCBA operates in 15 countries, including its six key markets of South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique and Namibia, as well as Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana, Zambia, the islands of Comoros and Mayotte, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Malawi. Learn more at  https://www.ccbagroup.com or on LinkedIn.