Lack of access to free condoms combined with the age old reluctance of youth to purchase condoms due to embarrassment and stigma, coupled with poor access to condom during riskier times has resulted in low condom use in Ngamiland. This has resulted in high HIV prevalence and incidence rates and unprecedented high levels of teenage pregnancy. Consistent Condom use has been identified as an important strategy towards reduction of new infections.
In 2011, the Ngamiland region had a goal of distributing 2.5 million condoms but distributed only 600,000 condoms. As condoms are the most effective tool that we have to fight the scourge, we need to do better in terms of distribution.
Ngamiland Council of NGOs (NCONGO) and BOFWA with the support of US Embassy’ Self Help Fund piloted a project to increase the distribution of condoms in Maun and deliver to the people clear and appealing messages that relate particularly to the youth.
The “Taxi Talk and CD” Program was launched on February 1st, 2013 and the program consists of a custom made distribution system for condoms and education/promotional material that will be placed in 50 taxi cabs in the Maun region. The taxi cabs are in engaged in this project as they too view it as an opportunity to give back to the community. The Ngamiland community respects its taxi system and the service thereof and engaging with each other is seen as the only way to “Build a Better Ngamiland.” With an expected distribution of 50 condoms per day per taxi (225,000 total) and exposure of HIV prevention messages to over 3000 people per day this program has the potential to change the HIV response in the area.
The District Commissioner and the pastors from local churches have been consulted and all have endorsed the program as a positive contribution towards the promotion of behavioral change. The Ngami District Aids Coordinator has also responded enthusiastically to the project sighting it as a positive contribution to the efforts of condom distribution in the district.
This program would not be possible without the commitment and hard work of the taxi operators. They should be applauded for their volunteering spirit and dedication to addressing a problem that is negatively impacting their community.
We are therefore calling on all the media houses to join us an inform members of the public and even join us participate in this project as we move to “BUILDING A BETTER NGAMILAND”.