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Session at NGO Forum Berlin: Breaking down the Barriers!

Female Condom Advocacy and Programming: Breaking down the Barriers!

Tuesday, 1st of September 2009 from 18:00 to 19:30, in room Estrel Hall C.
This session was part of the Global Partners in Action: NGO Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Development in Berlin (2-4 September 2009)


  • Musimbi Kanyoro, Director, Population and Reproductive Health Program, David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Ilze Smit, Advocacy Officer for Universal Access to Female Condoms Joint Programme, World Population Foundation
  • Kimberly Whipkey, Senior Associate for Advocacy and Outreach, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) and Prevention Now! Campaign


The female condom is currently the only existing prevention method designed for women to initiate that provides dual protection against HIV/STIs and unintended pregnancy.  Despite high acceptibility and wide benefits for women and men, female condoms remain underfunded, under-programmed and under-utilized.

At this session, panelists and participants discussed the following questions:  What is the current state of affairs of the female condom? What are the barriers for universal access? What are examples of successful female condom programming, policy advocacy and network-building?  What can we do as NGO participants to make a difference? 


Background information
The Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) on maternal and child mortality and morbidity rates, as well as HIV/AIDS will not be attained if existing technologies, such as the female condom, remain out of reach of women who need it. Since gender inequity is an important driver of the HIV epidemic, women and girls face the consequences of unprotected sex and bear a huge burden of unwanted pregnancy. Universal access to female condoms therefore deserves to be prioritized.

The female condom has been tested in numerous pilot projects and studies have repeatedly shown high levels of acceptability for female condoms. However, little has been done in making this commodity accessible. High prices (up to 30 times the price of the male condom) and very limited or irregular access have inhibited the female condom from becoming an accepted reproductive health commodity. This is a missed opportunity and cannot be justified, since the female condom is the only female- initiated method that offers dual protection: it protects both against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

For more information contact: ms.

website Forum: Global NGO Forum

Knowledge Base

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What else to look for

How to use it

Instructions on the use of the female condom

Why use it

Imagine a device that can be worn by a woman during sex...

The facts

Why female condoms should be accessible for all


Acceptance levels vary from 41 to 95 per cent


Increased uptake and more consistent and continued contraceptive use


We need an increase in variety of female condoms