Malawi women shun female condoms -Kalondolondo Project

The review workshop on scorecard (Kalondolondo Project) has revealed that many Malawian women shun the use of female condoms.

The workshop, which ended on Friday, April 14 at Sun and Sand Holiday Resort in Mangochi, was organized by Plan Malawi, Action Aid and Congoma with funding from DFID.

Participants from different Non-Governmental Organizations, who were given a task to interact with the marginalized people in rural areas to do the Kalondolondo project, observed that many women shun away the use of the condoms.

One of the participants demonstrating on how a female condom should be used

One participant from Mulanje told the gathering that during their Kalondolondo project it was revealed that most women shun female condoms because they described them as not user friendly.

Some women say they find it painful to use, especially due to the inner ring that makes it difficult to manipulate and insert it in the vagina before sexual intercourse.

“We visited several areas in Mulanje district and many women we interacted with told us openly that they would prefer use male condoms because thirst are not user friendly,” he said.

For instance, he said out of 20women they interacted with at Kambenje area, 17 were of the view that they shun away female condoms because they find them hard to insert and remove.

“One woman even stressed that for an illiterate woman to follow all the instructions on female condoms it’s so tiresome. They also alluded to the fact that in villages it was difficult to access such condoms,” he said.

He added that many women lack awareness as far as the usage of female condoms is concerned.

“Some women told us that they do not use them because they cause cancer which is not true. This means that more awareness is needed or else these women will still shun away the use of the condoms,” he said.

The female condom is a 17cm-long polyurethane sheath with a flexible ring at each end. It provides about the same protection from sexually transmitted infections – including HIV – and unwanted pregnancy as the male condom, but unlike the male condom, can be used with oil- and water-based lubricants without the risk of breakage.

Another participant from Mzimba also revealed in his findings that most women complained that “hey do not feel comfortable during intercourse because the condom makes a lot of noise,”

Another participant from Kasungu said that female condoms are yet to gain acceptance from women in Malawi because is a new phenomenon.

“Many women l came across in Kasungu expressed surprise on the female condoms because awareness has not been created enough,” he explains.

The female condom was first piloted in Malawi in 200, with funding from the United Nations population Fund.

Programme Manager for Plan Malawi, Jephter Mwanza, who was the facilitator during the review meeting in his closing remarks urged the participants to produce final copies of their findings to make “final conclusions for the service providers to look into the concerns which different people presented during our Kalondolondo in districts where the project is taking place.”

Mwanza also emphasized that there  was  need for the participants to make sure that once they receive money for  the next round of the assessment they need to be transparency and accountable.

Some of the Organizations which  took part during the review meeting include Livingstonia Synod, Action AID, Plan Malawi, YONECO, CAVWOC,AYISE,CISER.

Photo opportunity with Nyasa Times for participants during the break
A participant explaining on female condom

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