Local non-governmental organization, Mopipi International has embarked on a ‘condom in a taxi’ campaign dubbed “Safe Ride” aimed at resuscitating the social marketing component of the national condom programming. Condoms will be available even in taxis to ensure no one is stranded for safe sex.
Mopipi International is supported by government through National AIDS & Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA). According to the NGO, Botswana is still faced with serious challenges in condom programming especially issues of supply chain management which lead to unexpected stock-outs, unavailability of the commodity to the end-users, condom promotion and education coupled with inconsistent condom use among consumers.
In an interview, Marketing and Communications Manager, Mackintosh Kapaya said the initiative is a step towards making information on condom use accessible to many communities. “we are spreading awareness through our Safe Ride campaign to spread awareness about safe condom use. We want to use taxis as a distribution platform. We want to make condoms accessible and acceptible, and taxis are everywhere and so we believe free condoms available in taxis will improve accessibility” he said.
Kapaya added that Mopipi International Trust endeavors to bridge the gaps in condom programming, by establishing partnerships with not only taxis but other public platforms such as saloons, bars/shebeens and social soccer clubs for condom education and distribution to address condom accessibility, affordability, and acceptability by the public.
The organization has partnered with Big Dawg Productions (DJ Fresh) in collaboration with the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS), to take “Safe Ride-Taxi Branding” campaign to the 50 villages and towns during their national tour aimed at optimizing on the creative industry capacitation.
“Our partnership with Big Dawg Productions comes at an opportune time, when we are positioning taxis as an accessible, mobile and convenient condom education and distribution medium for the general public and in particular young women and men. The partnership with taxis will go a long way in improving customer service through client engagements and interpersonal communications training workshops offered to the taxi teams.”
The taxi initiative started about five years ago in Maun where it was spearheaded by The Ngamiland Council of NGOs (NCONGO). NAHPA then partnered with the Botswana Business Coalition on AIDS (BBCA), and eventually Mopipi International to ensure access to free condoms and are expanding to other districts, and as part of plans to formulate more innovative ways of distributing condoms across the country.