Jul 09, 2011
Brainstorming for a new Adinkra symbol.
Like I said in my last post, we originally thought there was a lack of information and an adequate level of acceptance. As the interviews have shown, this does not seem to be the case. Rather, access to condoms is relatively easy- they aren’t prohibitively expensive, nor are they hard to find. The problem is the social stigma attached to requesting a condom in the pharmacy. Reactions range from shy, to outright fear of retaliation (mostly from men). The condom-finding SMS system reduces the anxiety of asking for directions to a place that sells condoms, but does little for addressing the stigma at the point-of-sale.
We hope to address this in a two-pronged approach. First, condom points-of-sale must be put in less-intimidating locations and customers must be given the option to engage in an automated transaction (vending machines). Condom vending machines can be placed in women’s restrooms and even hair salons. This, however, does little for acceptance once the condom is acquired and when sex is performed. The second prong involves a culturally-informed ad campaign that uses the native Ashanti adinkra symbols to change attitudes towards condom use. Our interviewees have consistently replied that condoms are seen as something you use with someone you are not faithful to, or love. We are working with a family of adinkra cloth makers to come up with a new adinkra symbol for using condoms. The above picture, is a rough draft of one of the contenders. The Sankofa symbol (represented by, among other things, a bird) represents a proverb indicating one’s ability to go back for something forgotten or left behind. The addition of the condom in the bird’s mouth is a straight-forward addition to an existing symbol. We are also considering a modification of the classic, internationally-recognized- aids ribbon. By linking the international symbol for AIDS awareness to our specific campaign, we hope to connect Ghana to existing AIDS prevention programs while also leveraging existing symbols and iconography.
I’ve uploaded a few condom seller locations, and I hope to test the service this evening or tomorrow morning. Street addresses are even harder to come by (and less used) that originally expected, and so the form we use to enter new locations may have to be modified. Hope to work on it more tomorrow.