(photo: Danya Smith)
In the run up and during the International Aids Conference in Washington, 22- 27th July 2012, the Universal Access to Female Condoms (UAFC) Joint Programme, a joint initiative of four Netherlands-based organizations, has mobilized thousands of people in the global South as well as in the North to speak out on their demand for female condoms. Through the paper doll campaign, thousands of messages asking for more choice, lower prices, or just mere access to female condoms have been collected. This has culminated in a display of thousands of these dolls at the last day of the XIX International Aids Conference in Washington.
Although the Guinness world record of a chain of 27.866 dolls was not broken, the long lasting myth that there is no global demand for female condoms is busted! Each one of these completed dolls testifies in support of female condoms. The dolls were seen by thousands of delegates present at the conference. The beautiful display created great press coverage, among which by the Washington Post.
Call for Access
The completed dolls come from all continents and from women and men from different backgrounds, ages, religions and orientation. They all demand access to female condoms. With this misconception out of the way, the dolls will continue their advocacy work to overcome other remaining barriers, like inaccessibility, lack of variety and being too expensive.
Further use for Advocacy
During the presentation in DC, the godmother of the dolls, Anna Forbes explained how the signed dolls, Zawadi Smartlove and her family, are now going to travel over the world to be used for advocacy purposes. For example by the Washington youth leader Irwin Royster from Planned Parenthood, who will use the paper dolls as conversation starter to discuss female condoms and safe sex.
Demand for Female Condoms
UAFC and its partners are proud of the huge paper dolls display and happy that that governments, policy makers and programmers, can no longer hide behind the myth that women and men around the world do not want the female condom. “We want female condoms and we want them now!”, as Marie Christine Siemerink, coordinator of the UAFC Joint Programme stated in Washington.