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What happens in Beirut...

Published on 2011-04-11 by Sille Jansen

Another day at the dome! And today my dreams came true and the sun was shining, I even managed to catch some afternoon sunrays just now. Although my way over to the hotel could've been better (more about that below), it was a pretty good day. We did an interview with two ladies from MTV Lebanon about the different types of female condoms. Of course we started by explaining why the female condom is so important: it gives women an option protect themselves without depending on the man to be willing to wear a condom and – importantly-  to be willing to do so in the heat of the moment.

Women are now more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS and the results of pregnancy are the number one cause of death for women age 15-19 around the world. That is why access to a variety of female condoms is of vital importance – literally. Variety of female condoms is not only important for competition among female condoms and lower prices but also because not every woman is the same – and preferences differ. Cupid Limitited has already produced pink female condom with vanilla scent – what more could a girl wish for?

We asked the visitors today to write messages on paper dolls – which we will collect and showcase at the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS this summer. People wrote great messages, such as: 'My vagina comes first!' - to which another visitor commented: 'And second. And third.' The paper dolls make a very pretty sight and will be famous soon as many NGOs from all over the world will also  be collecting messages. And they will appear on MTV Lebanon, so.

After an inspiring day at the conference I was heading home. To get to the hotel there is one road to cross. This road has, however, no crossing points. So it happens everyday that you get stuck in the middle of the road having crossed the one part without being able to cross the next. Having managed to do so, I entered the road to our hotel where a little white and red cat was just crossing the street. Then a car came...and hit the cat. It was really upsetting I must say. The cat lay there twitching for a couple of minutes and then died. I am fully aware that people die in road accidents on a daily basis – which is absolutely horrific – but  I guess I'd never seen a cat die like this – and it was truly shocking :(

After some glasses of to catch the last rays of sun, more Beirut stories tomorrow!

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UAFC lobby paper

UAFC has developed a profound advocacy strategy in order to achieve acces to female condoms for all. For background on this strategy and to strengthen your own lobby activities you have access to this paper.

download the document

Breaking down the barriers!


Ilze Smit of UAFC Joint Programme presented the session Female Condom Programming and Advocacy: Braking down the Barriers! at the NGO Forum ICPD+15.

read her weblog

see the photo's of the Forum

Trainings in Rwanda


"In our daily work in HIV prevention and even in our sexual and reproductive life sessions with potential users, in trainings and advocay, we talk about female condoms as you can see in these photos. I'm pushing to include FC in our major advocay themes. It recently has been included in the Rwanda National NGO forum on AIDS for the four year strategic plan (2009/2012)," says Fortunée Twiyubahe from ACORD/Oxfam International in Rwanda.


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Knowledge base live

Part of our new website is the revolutionary knowledge base. This is a repository of concepts related to the main theme of UAFC, the female condom. This repository is organized according to themes, geographic location and time. We invite you to start exploring our knowledge base.

If you feel you have anything to contribute don't hesitate to contact us.

ACMS Website

In Cameroon the Association Camerounaise pour le Marketing (ACMS) works on making Female Condoms available to a large usersgroup. ACMS has its own website, with which it reaches especially young people.

Interview with Victoria Archibong, SFH

"I believe the introduction of the male condoms was relatively easier. This could be because it was easier to target men as the “dominant” party in relationships and the ones who will wear the condoms. There was also a lot of support from donors and IPs. The female condom is regarded more as a “woman thing”. Some men may feel threatened as the female condom will empower women in demonstrating their sexual and reproductive health rights. For Female condom programming, programmers have to be more creative and strategic."

read the interview

"I'm going to use mine"

"The male condom was promoted so hard in advertising, through school education and advocacy – we need the same effort for the female condom," said Farah Karimi, director of Oxfam-Novib at a press conference at the International AIDS Confernce in Mexico City. Mary Robinson, former President of the Republic of Ireland added: Girls and women need the skills to say, 'if you're not going to use yours then I'm going to use mine' to their sexual partners."

Read the article in Plusnews.

Empower women in Malawi

Sandra Mapemba, national condom programme coordinator at the Reproductive Health Unit (RHU) in the Ministry of Health in Malawi, believes the female condom will empower women to have more control in their sexual relationships, help them protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, as well as unwanted pregnancies.

Read the article in Plusnews.

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