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Taking sex education to Brazil's favelas

The Guardian | 06-20-2012

In the 1990s, when the US shifted its aid policy away from family planning, and from Latin America, the Brazilian NGO Bemfam found itself with a yearly funding hole of $2m. The amount the organisation received from USAid had represented almost a third of its annual funding.

But rather than look for funding elsewhere, Bemfam, which focuses on family planning and sexual and reproductive health, set up a not-for-profit condom and lubricant business, Prosex. It has proved so successful that it generates around $4m a year for the NGO – about 40% of its funding – and is the fifth most popular condom brand in Brazil.

"USAid pulled out and a lot of other donors focused on Africa and Asia, which left a bad situation. Most organisations and service providers closed their doors," says Bemfam's executive director, Ney Costa. "At Bemfam, we went to look for ways to survive."

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