|Social Marketing - Expanding access to essential products and services to prevent HIV/AIDS and to limit the impact of the epidemic (UNAIDS, 2000, 12 p.)|
Seed money can effectively be used to leverage additional resources for major public health impact.
In mid-1995, with support from Myanmar's official National AIDS Programme (NAP) and UNICEF, Population Services International (PSI) conducted formative social marketing research. A condom brand name was developed - APHAW that means "trusted companion" in Burmese. Unfortunately, fundraising activities met with limited success, and PSI was only able to implement a small, pilot-project in 1996/97, with distribution averaging about 65,000 APHAW condoms per month,
Recognising the need for, and availability and accessibility of high quality condoms throughout a much wider area of Myanmar, UNAIDS provided a special grant to jump-start activities on a larger scale and catalyse interest among other donors to support on-going activities. With this support, the condom social marketing project increased availability and acceptability of condoms, especially amongst those groups that are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.
The project has:
· identified and researched a range of population groups that practise high-risk behaviours, including migrant workers, commercial sex workers, injecting drug users, and out-of-school youth;
· developed targeted marketing campaigns, including Information, Education & Communication (IEC) and outreach activities, promotion and advertising, and condom distribution;
· distributed over one million condoms in the first three months - triple the previous three months' distribution prior to UNAIDS support;
In addition, key components of the UNAIDS-supported project were to increase local capacity to prevent STDs and HIV/AIDS and to mobilize other donor resources for long-term project implementation. Here, too, the project achieved great success and has:
· trained local government authorities and health care officials in HIV/AIDS, social marketing, and behaviour change and prevention strategies. This training provided a unique opportunity to obtain support at the local level to carry out project activities;
· trained numerous local NGOs and community based organizations in social marketing and related activities to foster enhanced collaboration;
· trained retailers in social marketing, basic marketing theory, condom retailing and provided them with information on HIV/AIDS so that the retailers could provide some level of support in addition to APHAW condoms;
· with the demonstrated success of social marketing with UNAIDS support, PSI motivated the British Government's Joint Funding Scheme (JFS) to provide a grant of almost £500,000 for two additional years of expanded social marketing activities;
· secured additional funds to launch targeted social marketing campaigns along Myanmar's borders - high traffic areas for cross-border trade, transportation and HIV/AIDS.
The importance of UNAIDS support to the Myanmar social marketing project was crucial to long-term HIV/AIDS prevention activities in the country. Without this unique support to jump-start activities and catalyse other donors, it is not clear what future social marketing and, therefore, a steady supply of quality condoms would have had in Myanmar. UNAIDS is now working closely with PSI to identify other countries and situations where this type of seed money can make all the difference. In addition to several social marketing assessments in various countries, UNAIDS has supplied seed money to PSI to start social marketing activities in Liberia and The Russian Federation.