One Condom, One World

In the milieu of ethical enterprise springs Global Ethics’s latest innovative idea; the ‘One’ Condom Range.

They are haute couture condoms for the bedroom and Global Ethics, the charity behind the popular One Water, claim that this protection is ‘passion with compassion’. From the start of September the ‘One’ Condom Range will be available to purchase from Co-Op stores and Students’ Union shops, with all proceeds directly funding HIV/AIDS awareness projects in Africa.

Following the success of One Water (‘When you drink one, Africa drinks too’), Global Ethics believes this profit based action will help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. They aim to increase testing for the disease through their partner, The Donald Wood Foundation. The Foundation also helps to run programmes for those affected by AIDS, including the 15 million or so children orphaned by the disease.

The packaging design of these condoms aims to be stylish and innovative. A reusable silver tin will contain condoms wrapped in circular foil, each branded with playful phrases including a cockerel design with the slogan ‘One for the early riser’.

There is a version with studs, a version that glows in the dark and others that are super sensitive, smooth, and like a ‘second skin’. The product called ‘Mixed Pleasures’ is made out of Sensatex; individually and electronically tested to ensure safety and meet European Union standards.

Each tin would cost around £2. So whilst customers keep themselves safe in the bedroom, they are doing something to keep Africa safe too.

Duncan Goose, founder and managing director of Global Ethics and ‘One’ hopes the One Condom Range can be as successful as One Water, (which was the official water of Live8 and continues to fund PlayPumps that pump clean water from the ground). After thanking the National Union of Students for their support with One Water, he asked people to “make an educated purchase and choose ‘One’ over their normal brand, in the knowledge that they are helping to address the AIDS and HIV issue in Africa.”

Ama Uzowuru, NUS Vice-President for Welfare, also encouraged people to request their local Co-Op stores and union shops to stock One Condoms if they were not on shelves.

The success of One illustrates how consumer power on a small scale results in huge positive changes on a larger scale. Whilst the concept of ‘fair trade’ is highly debated, Global Ethics appears to have made improving the lives of those in poverty a lot simpler. By turning pennies of profit into a water pump or an HIV test, One has been successful where other charities have not, offering ‘clear’ and ‘pure’ change.

However, after the feel good purchase and the joy that follows, the wider structure of aid distribution must still be considered. HIV/AIDS remains a fast growing problem. Some figures suggest two thirds of the world’s suffers of HIV/AIDs are in sub-Saharan Africa and the number of suffers is likely to increase to 60 million by 2015. Only 28 per cent of patients are on anti-retroviral drugs.

Moreover, it is yet to be seen how the US Congress’s summer agreement with the Bush administration (which increased funding for drugs from $15 billion to $48 billion), will help. Given the ideological complexities of the American HIV/AIDS strategy, which prior to the July agreement devoted one third of aid to promoting abstinence over contraception, it appears the type of consumer purchasing power that One advocates is essential to making rapid changes.

Dave Lewis, Chair of NUS Services, said, “According to the United Nations, AIDS is still the biggest threat to Africa’s development. It is shocking that in 2008, 1,400 African children under the age of 15 die of an AIDS-related illnesses every single day…Global Ethics has changed the way in which people consider buying water and has set about revolutionising the condom market in the same way, through innovative product design combined with an ethical approach.”

Ultimately, One has tapped into a wave of support for global action against HIV/AIDS, action which starts in the consumer’s pocket and finishes with helping a patient. By combining the fundamentals of safe sex, with fun and playful contraception, One has given us another reason to feel satisfied in the bedroom.

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