Our Work in Uganda & Why We Do It: A Woman Named Janet

Janet has never had control over her reproductive rights. Living in Kawampe, Uganda, she doesn’t have the luxury of running to the nearest drugstore or health clinic to pick up a pack of condoms. According to a local newspaper, “out of every 200 people tested, about 50 are infected with HIV.” Janet worries about becoming one of these statistics, out of concern for her own well-being and for the health and safety of her newborn daughter. She wasn’t ready to have a child, but now that she is a mother she wants to be the best one she can be. This means protecting herself from HIV and choosing how many children she will have. Janet is 13 years old. And she is not alone.

“Unmet need” is the gap between women who want to control their fertility, and their ability to do so. In other words, how many women want to use condoms, but can’t. The highest percentage of women with unmet need in the world is in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s not a coincidence that out of people living with HIV in this part of the world, the majority are women (58 percent).

This is why L’s intent is not just to offer premium condoms in countries like the U.S., but also to give the opportunity to practice safe sex to women like Janet, who never before thought they could.

We’re doing this by fulfilling another kind of “unmet need.” According to the OECD, women’s organizations receive just 0.3 percent of all development aid. We can’t acheive gender equality and sexual empowerment with these kinds of numbers.

So we’re adding our own: for every condom purchased on our site, one condom will be sent, free of charge, by Direct Relief International to Kawampe and places just like it. Once on the ground, L. and Direct Relief have partnered with AMREF to get our condoms out to the women who need them the most.

Women and the communities they are a part of are at the heart of Direct Relief’s and AMREF’s work. Both are leading nonprofits with decades of experience. To learn more about these organizations, check out their sites here:



Join us in making choices that can help save lives, and help us share the love.

We’ll be showcasing our programs here, so be sure to revisit this blog for L.’s future developments in making love safe. For you. For Janet. For every woman.

Joe Smyser, SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health

December 14, 2010 by admin

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