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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Pop art condoms aim to make safe sex cool in Kenya

AFP   April 18, 2014
First Published: 18:51 IST(18/4/2014) | Last Updated: 19:10 IST(18/4/2014)

The Center for African Family Studies (CAFS), a Nairobi-based NGO, hopes to encourage condom use in Kenya through a new campaign and a new line of colorful condom wrappers designed by Kenyan artist Michael Soi.

After seeing a positive response to the concept on Facebook, the NGO is currently seeking funds to launch production of the condoms alongside a campaign to lessen the stigma associated with buying them.

The designs on the eye-catching wrappers are taken from paintings by Michael Soi, whose work is popular but also somewhat controversial in his home country. Unlike many of his fellow Kenyans, Soi does not hesitate to approach the taboo subject of sex in his work.

"Most people are actually very afraid of going to vendors in supermarkets and chemists to buy condoms because we are a fairly reserved society," explains Genevieve Imbali, communications and marketing officer at CAFS, in conversation with CNN. "Most people aren't very open to the idea that very young people might walk into a shop just to buy condoms because nobody wants to be known to be having sex ... There is so much stigma associated with condom purchase in the country."

The NGO has its work cut out for it. To reach its goals of attracting the attention of young people with the funky, arty designs and fostering positive attitudes towards condoms, CAFS aims to finance its project through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. The goal is to raise $10,000 by May 4.

More information: www.indiegogo.com/projects/pop-art-condoms


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