20 Oct 2014

The Impact of IPC: A Female Sex Worker Now Keeps Condoms in Her House

IPC sessions conducted by Society for Family Health – Rwanda are impacting female sex workers knowledge and lifestyle

success story

“Fifi, with her one-year son, standing by her home”

“In past I was convinced condom use was men’s and money decision but now I do have condoms in my house.” Fifi

Fifi is a 25 year-old sex worker who lives in one of the districts in Eastern province, Rwanda. She is an orphan and comes from a poor family. No support from her family and has no husband. To earn her living and take care of her family, she became a sex worker at a tender age. She has 3 children spaced by 1 year from one child to another. She is not sure of the real fathers of the 2 children and the 3rd one, the “presumed” father doubt whether the child is his. She has no any health insurance.

In her life, she admired the idea that everyone should have as many children as she can she can as it’s up to God to decide what will happen to them. Last year, she contracted sexual transmitted infection twice and treated herself by taking medicines from drugstore. Furthermore, using condom to her was the decision for men and money. “If a man needed to use it, he had to bring and use it, and when he paid more money, he would do what he likes,” she mentioned.

Fifi participated in an awareness raising InterPersonal Communication (IPC) behavior change sessions in line with Rwanda Social Marketing Program (RSMP) funded by the USAID, implemented by Society for Family Health and has got new knowledge and skills about condom use and its advantage. After attending IPC sessions she believed that using condoms would change her way of living. She mentioned: “After attending IPC sessions I began using condom every time I got a client no matter how much money he would be willing to pay. I have condoms in my house to avoid the possibility of not finding where to get them when in need”. Fifi went to health center for integrated family planning counseling and started to use Norplant, as her family planning method of choice for the next 5 years.

Fifi wanted to quit commercial sex work but she had no alternative means of livelihood and her family. She promised to continue following other IPC sessions and sighed “I hope that I will find a way to leave sex work and restore my dignity

Fifi is a pseudonym used in our social marketing archetyping strategy targeting sex workers. It is used for anonymity purposes.