In an area where the sexually active are ashamed to buy condoms, it’s no surprise an estimated 1.6M Kenyans struggle with HIV/AIDS. But the Nairobi-based Center for African Family Studies (CAFS) has come up with a creative way to tackle the stigma surrounding the purchase of condoms, thus helping to reduce the threat of HIV/AIDS.
CAFS has teamed up with Kenyan artist Michael Soi to create a funky and innovative condom line with pop art-inspired packaging. The NGO came up with the idea after posting pictures of glow-in-the-dark, printed, and flavored condoms obtained from a Capetown HIV conference on Facebook. Youth started to call and ask where they could purchase them.
“We’ve never had that sort of reaction to CAFS programs,” says CAFS director of operations Jonathan Spangler. “So we said why don’t we try produce our own condom line because there seems to be a market. We want to innovate and create new programming that is sustainable and even generates income for the youth.”
The bright packaging of CAFS’ condoms is specifically designed to disguise the product. But finding an artist to draft designs was a struggle in itself because most didn’t want their work associated with a project that involves sex – except Soi. Known for his bold, often controversial themes within his own work, Soi doesn’t shy away from taboo subjects and was more than happy to collaborate with CAFS.
“I felt the project was a good thing,” Soi says. “I wanted to try to chip in and create something that would help fight a good fight.”
To support CAFS’ pop-art condom project, visit their Indiegogo site.