Mobile telephony has an increasingly important role to play in international development.

With approximately 2.5 million people in India living with HIV, the BBC World Service Trust has just launched a ringtone campaign to promote the use of condoms.
Condom, condom

How can you encourage men to use condoms? As part of an evolving campaign in four states in southern India, the BBC World Service Trust has just launched its latest stage.
Across a range of advertising platforms (online, audio and TV) the central message is clear: smart men use condoms.

Here is one scene, played out at a wedding: a mobile ringtone buzzes with a loud refrain "condom! condom!".

Embarrassing for the person holding the mobile phone? Not a bit of it - the reaction of those around the red-faced man is to see him as smart and responsible.


“the one who understands is a winner”

The campaign's theme Jo Samjha Wohi Sikander - "the one who understands is a winner" - reinforces the message that those who use condoms are winners in life.

Radharani Mitra, Creative Director of the BBC World Service Trust India, describes the thinking behind the campaign:

"Ringtones have become such personal statements that a specially created condom ringtone seemed just the right way of combining a practical message with a fun approach. We have always had a strong interactive, response-led component in this ongoing campaign. This downloadable ringtone provides an opportunity for our audience to translate a message into an action. The idea is to tackle the inhibitions and taboos that can be associated with condoms."

This ongoing multi-media campaign will reach an over 100 million people in India.
Find out more about the whole campaign at

Listen to or download the ringtone

It's good to talk

The "condom condom" campaign is part of a two year project to encourage more widespread use of condoms.

The campaign started in 2007 with a three week contest reaching over 100 million people in four Indian states.

Mobile telephones had an important role to play from the outset, with a phone-in competition and mobile phones as prizes.

Nearly 400,000 calls were made by people responding to TV, radio and outdoor advertisements to participate in the contest.

The campaign has been funded by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates' Foundation.
This latest stage of the campaign coincides with the XVII International Aids Conference in Mexico, 3-8 August.

The BBC World Service Trust is also involved in health and HIV and AIDS projects in Angola, Cambodia, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Vietnam. To read about these and other health projects go to the health section.