‘Whisper’ — A quiet female condom making noise in Malawi

Category : 3-2-1 On Demand Messaging

Thousands of Malawians are calling a free number for trusted information about a female condom.

In Malawi, HNI’s 3-2-1 Service now includes information about female condoms via a free call or SMS on any type of mobile phone. 

Callers hear a prerecorded message in the Chichewa language:

Condoms are the only family planning method that also protects against HIV and STIs. The female condom is female-initiated, easy to use, is made from durable material and cannot easily burst.

Female condoms are relatively unknown, but they are comparable to male condoms in their efficacy in preventing pregnancy and transmission of STDs.

The message is sponsored by PSI Malawi in conjunction with a highly visible marketing campaign promoting their “Whisper” brand female condoms.

Whisper Female Condom Sign, Malawi

An advertisement for Whisper Female Condoms in Blantyre, Malawi

In addition to being an underdog technology, female condoms have a reputation for making distracting crinkling noises. New technology and materials have reduced the noise issue. The Whisper brand name is, in part, an attempt to overcome this persistent misperception.

The 3-2-1 Service is integrated to the marketing campaign, with many of the advertisements displaying the USSD code *321#, which provides users with text-based versions of the service messages.

PSI Malawi launches new female condom: Whisper offers ‘increased sensation’ | Malawi Nyasa Times

Screen Shot: Malawi Nyasa Times

“The amount of publicity this dang condom is getting is insane,” said Amy Smith, HNI’s program manager in Malawi. “There were TV camera crews at the launch event. It’s been in the newspaper. It’s all over road signs.”

Since the launch event in October, the message about the Whisper female condom has been the most requested message in the Family Planning topic on the 3-2-1 Service in Malawi.


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