Population Services International (PSI) was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries using commercial marketing strategies. Over the years, PSI broadened its mission to address family planning, child and maternal health, and HIV and AIDS prevention, screening, and treatment.
PSI opened an office in Lesotho to launch a condom social marketing program. Shortly thereafter it expanded its scope to include a network of HIV testing and counseling services. In 2010, a donor provided PSI/Lesotho with “a warehouse full” of female condoms (FCs) that the organization could use to help young women in the area protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. The challenge for the team was to figure out how to effectively distribute and promote the FCs since early versions of the female condom were notoriously unpopular. This mini-case study describes the creative approach that PSI devised and implemented to change user perceptions and drive FC adoption, as well as key lessons that it learned through the pilot.
This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Brian Pedersen of PSI/Lesotho for his participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.