• Thursday, July 24, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    Rubbing it the wrong way: condom-grabbing tourists

    A Femidom demo

    A Femidom demo. Photo: M. Sayagues/Irin

    In a contest for irresponsible tourism, taking the last two female condoms at a Botswana border post as a souvenir would run neck-and-neck with littering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve with soda cans. Hey, spare a thought for a sister: a local woman might need them. I mean the condoms, not the soda cans.

    Journalist Bridget Hilton-Barber writes, in the South African weekly Mail & Guardian, about the female condom’s popularity among Batswana women. (Femidoms rub the right way, 14 August). Then she plucked the last ones at the border post, as a souvenir, to lie  in her office drawer.

    Well, their popularity is a very good reason to leave the condoms in the box for someone who wants to use them.

    Correction:  Someone who needs to use them.

    An average of three out of ten pregnant women at public antenatal clinics in Botswana are HIV-positive. This is an improvement over ten years ago, when four or five out of ten pregnant women were HIV-positive. Condoms helped achieve this drop. (Read about AIDS in Botswana hereComes with a price

    Condoms have a cost and female condoms are the most expensive, even when subsidized by donors. A male condom costs US$0,4; a female condom, US$2.50.

    fem-condom-closeup

    Photo: M. Sayagues/Irin

    In March, its sole manufacturer, Female Health Company, announced a cheaper version in synthetic rubber instead of polyurethane that will cost around US$0,60 but is not yet available.

    Looks cheap? Remember, many Africans live on less than one dollar a day.

    Besides price, supply is a problem. Logistics bottlenecks plague the delivery of goods in Africa, from life-saving antiretrovirals to malaria pills, from sanitary pads to birth control pills, from car spares to school books, from snail mail to email.

    There is no difference between a female condom in Botswana, South Africa or Holland, I can assure you. The difference is that a consumer in Holland can buy one or get a free one anytime she wants. In Africa, it ain’t that easy.

    So control your grabbing impulse, dear tourist. Have you heard of sustainable fishing and harvesting – or condom plucking? You will be doing a sister a favour by leaving those condoms  in the box if you don’t need them.

    If you want to see a Femidom, buy one at a drugstore back home.

    Responsible tourism  is more than eschewing python boots and turtle soup or using the  towels at the luxury safari camp more than once.

    And tell the tour operator not to allow his Dutch clients to pluck condoms for keepsake either. Would they take the KLM airplane life jackets as souvenirs?

    This is SO not rubbing it the right way.

    • http://www.healthtime.co.il/health/2009/08/rubbing-it-the-wrong-way-condom-grabbing-tourists/ Rubbing it the wrong way: condom-grabbing tourists | health

      [...] See the rest here: Rubbing it the wrong way: condom-grabbing tourists [...]

    • Maggie

      This was a breath taking article; It is unfortunate that the tourist would deny a lady that condom yet in Africa this is gold to many women,In Uganda a female condom is rare to come across by.I salute my dear sisters in Botswana to continue using these condoms,the men will not manipulate them with sex contiunue with the spirit of fighting AIDS
      Maggie

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      Great headline. If your cookie has a bite-sized action and your reader completes the action, I think two things happen. Their self-confidence goes up (which feels good) and their trust in you increases.

    • Sara

      I think this article made some interesting points, I read a textbook directly related to this topic, its called The Gender Reader by , I found my used copy for less than the bookstores at http://www.belabooks.com/books/9780205285303.htm

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