A new business in Kenya aims to change the way people buy their condoms
We’ve all experienced that feeling, in the heat of the moment, amidst the gasps and giggles, when you realise you have no rubbers left. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just make a call and get a condom (or ten) delivered?
Well believe it or not, in Kenya this dream is a reality. Dial-A-CD is a modern condom-delivery service, started by 28-year-old doctor, Faith Ndiwa.
Picking out a box of condoms at the supermarket can be a bit embarrassing for some. Influenced by the continuing rise of new HIV infections, Faith decided to develop a business that increased access to quality condoms for people who felt embarrassed to purchase them in public. She also wanted to provide a wider selection of condoms, instead of low-quality ones available in a lot of public places.
Not only is she inspired to work for the greater good, she has also been personally affected by HIV. Faith has had several friends from school that have died as a result of HIV/AIDS; most of whom contracted the disease through transactional sex. “They contracted [HIV] from casual unprotected sex with older men (sugar daddies) for money to meet the high costs of upkeep…We came to know of a ‘special student charge’ where they would be given ‘services’ at a much lower rate than the prevailing market [prostitution] price.”
She says some of the challenges she faced when starting her business included stigma from the public, “who thought [we] were promoting promiscuity”, as well as her clients hitting on her female employees, traffic during delivery, and high demand for the condoms, at times surpassing their supply.
Faith says her business is the “talk of the town amongst the youths”, saying sales sky-rocketed especially during Valentine’s Day, when she sold more than 150,000 units. “It has provided them [young people] with a convenient and confidential mode of access without being noticed by adults who could as well be their parents and relatives…We provide them with fancy varieties breaking away from the free monotonous types they are already bored with.”
Who wants plain old latex condoms, when you could have strawberry, cherry, or even banana-flavoured ones, right?!
Dial-A-CD plans to distribute more than 6 million condoms to more than 5 million people, and provide them with HIV-prevention education, as well as develop a 24-hour counselling centre.
How do you currently get hold of condoms? Would you use a condom delivery service like Dial-A-CD?