Categories: David Banks
Tonight is our last night in Kumasi. We’ve accomplished and learned a great deal, but it is obvious that this is just the beginning. We brought a SMS condom-finding service, thinking that there was a problem of information, not acceptance. We now realize that most people know where the condoms are, (and those places are close-by) but the stigma and anxiety over purchasing a condom is a major deterrent. We will not be installing the SMS system before we leave, but will use it as a starting point for continued research.
We must now look for ways to 1) reduce the stigma surrounding condom purchasing and usage. By incorporating regular condom use within a culturally-informed ad campaign that uses well-known local symbols, we aim to change popular perceptions about what it means to use a condom. 2) We must provide a way to make condom purchasing less intimidating by providing anonymity and convenience. We hope to achieve this by setting up condom vending machines in private places. To be sure, we do not want to drive condom purchasing into the shadows- rather we want to make it easier to purchase condoms using a variety of methods that have differing levels of human interaction and publicity. This also opens up opportunities for social entrepreneurship (managing vending machines)