By Mncedisi Dlamini, PSI Eswatini
In Eswatini, young people face barriers to condom access at structural, community, family and personal levels. In a 2012 survey conducted by UNFPA for the country’s Ministry of Health, youth cited the specifics of these barriers—that they’re afraid of being seen collecting condoms, a small number of condom outlets are available, and especially, the presence of adults in condom outlets.
To remove these barriers and increase access to — and use and promotion of — condoms among youth ages 15 to 24, PSI Eswatini supports the Swati Ministry of Health to implement the branding strategy for Eswatini’s “Got It? Get It” (or GIGI) condom brand. Using insights from the 2012 UNFPA study, in 2015 PSI began implementing a category branding approach that promotes condom use across the board, irrespective of a specific brand, for Got It, Get It condoms — to encourage friendly, comfortable and non-judgemental distribution environments for youth. The strategy uses entertainment, such as music to educate youth on condom access and use, with customized Got it? Get it songs as well as social media competitions that enable condom access and promote increased condom use. Various other channels have also been used for this purpose, including music festivals, customized songs, mass media campaigns, street poles advertising, billboards, social media pages and radio.
The House Music Festival, an annual interactive event that attracts throngs of youth in Eswatini, is one of these channels. Got it? Get it uses the festival as a platform for communicating issues around safer sex and condom promotions. It’s an art meets health approach which allows celebrities and public figures to promote correct and consistent condom use, and where artists can share their challenges and thoughts about navigating around barriers to condom use.
Eswatini has 1,873 total condom outlets, and currently over 800 of these are Got It, Get It outlets for adolescents and youth. Most GIGI outlets are grocery shops, where adolescents are comfortable accessing condoms without discrimination. GIGI outlets distribute an average of 4 million condoms to youth, a third of the condoms PSI distributes each year.
One of Got It, Get It’s youth clients had this to say about the brand: “Got It, Get It means confidence to me, and getting my protection without any judgement.”
Another stated that, “Wherever I see the GIGI sign, I know I can freely access condoms without fear of judgement.”
And COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down this distribution—in March 2020, as the government began encouraging everyone to stay at home, the question of condom access and use came up within public health programming. The Ministry of Health acted swiftly to mark condom distribution as an essential activity, ensuring that PSI could continue distributing Got It, Get It condoms throughout the country and that condom promotion continued through mass and social media platforms.