Paper Doll Campaign highly successful
Global Campaigning for Female Condoms
Zawadi Smartlove travelled and still travels all over the world to tell people about the importance of the female condom. Zawadi is a paper doll, and there are thousands more like her. She is the heart of the Female Condom Paper Doll campaign of the Universal Access to Female Condoms Joint Programme. The campaign aims to combine advocacy efforts in different countries with advocacy on a global level. See a video here.
People from all over the world write down their message demanding female condoms on Zawadi paper dolls. These dolls are then collected and made into a long chain, representing the worldwide demand for female condoms. The strings of dolls send the powerful message that there is a great demand for female condoms, from people all over the world. Female condoms can help to solve two of the greatest challenges the world faces today: HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancy.
The NGOs participating in the campaign use the paper dolls in their sensitization and awareness-raising meetings. The participants of such meetings can then have an active role by writing their message on a paper doll knowing that these messages will be presented to local as well as international leaders later on. The NGOs in the campaign use their locally collected dolls to advocate for female condoms with their local leaders and ask local leaders to write a commitment concerning female condoms on a doll. It also provides a good photo opportunity for the media as the dolls make a beautiful colorful chain.
The Paper Doll Campaign now has almost 30 NGOs participating, from Argentina, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand, United States of America, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
The 6000 dolls that were collected in 2011 and the dolls that are collected online in 2012 will be showcased during the International Aids Conference this July in Washington. Here they will be viewed by over 25.000 delegates who are active in the fight against HIV/Aids. Delegates will also get the chance to sign their own dolls.
The Paper Doll Campaign in 2011
An initial collection of 400 Zawadi paper dolls from over 20 countries were presented at the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV/Aids in New York in June 2011. This collection was used to bring the demand for female condoms to the attention of world leaders.
All dolls that were collected in 2011, more than 6,000 from over 20 countries- were presented at the ‘Prevention, Pleasure and Protection’ International Conference on Female Condoms in The Netherlands in November 2011.
At the House of Parliament, an event was organized where the Paper Dolls were presented to the Dutch politicians and others.
Examples of local advocacy in the Paper Doll Campaign
Rwanda – ACORD/Oxfam
Acord organized female condom education sessions (using the Paper Doll Campaign as the occasion) with rural community leaders. Acord also integrated advocacy for FCs into ACORD’s on-going programming on HIV/AIDS in the workplace. ACORD’s work with SIPETRA, an organization serving street children exposed to HIV and unwanted pregnancies, generated some powerful messages on the dolls that can be use in advocacy as illustrations of the urgent need for female condoms. For example the message:
“The female condom could help me when I’m still alive, it could help me to protect me from HIV and unwanted pregnancy.”
This message was written by a 15 year old girl living on the street and frequently engaging in survival sex.
U.S.A. – SafeGuards LGBT Health Project
In 2011, the city of Philadelphia launched a city-branded condom promotion project (like New York City’s successful NYC condom campaign). The SafeGuards LGBT Health Project has been vigorously advocating for the inclusion of female condoms in the city-wide campaign. The Philadelphia Health Commissioner said he hadn’t even considered this possibility before SafeGuards raised it – but information about the use of the female condom is now available on the campaign’s website and free female condoms can be picked up from two city Health Centers.
Thailand – Health and Opportunity Network (HON)The Health and Opportunity Network organized a paper doll event to bring the demand for female condoms to the attention of the Mayor. Mr.Itthiphol Kunpuome, mayor of Pattaya City, wrote a message on a paper doll expressing his support for female condoms.
Venezuela – MUSAS
MUSAS made a full-page statement in nationally circulated print media about the importance of the national government implementing a program of access to female condoms and other actions. The coordinator of MUSAS also discussed the Paper Doll Campaign and the female condom on a live television program. Photos of this are posted on Zawadi Smartlove’s Facebook page.
New Zealand – Positive Women Inc. and the YWCA of Aotearoa
Positive Women Inc. and the YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand have joined the International Paper Doll Campaign together with 40 other partners around the world to raise awareness of female condoms.
“We don’t expect the female condom to become the most popular contraception option in New Zealand however we believe it is important to promote choices and raise awareness of the need to promote greater investment by governments in the female condom. The International Paper Doll campaign has been a great way to do this”
says Sarah Davies of the YWCA.