On October 17, U.S. and Afghan government representatives and members of the international community gathered in Kabul for the official launch of the Afghan Social Marketing Organization (ASMO) – an Afghan-led non-governmental organization. The organization is a result of efforts by USAID’s Communication for Behavior Change: Expanding Access to Private Sector Health in Afghanistan (COMPRI-A) project. COMPRI-A is a social marketing project designed to increase access to and use of quality health products and services by women and children, especially in the rural and underserved areas, through private-sector providers. With the launch of ASMO, Afghan staff transitioned to the new organization to carry on this important work.
Social marketing is the systematic application of marketing concepts and techniques to promote healthy behaviors to increase demand for health products and services. Using a variety of media such as billboards, product branding, radio and TV commercials and soap operas, mobile cinemas, and community outreach, ASMO promotes and sells condoms, injectable and oral contraceptives, safe water chlorine solution, and oral rehydration salts at subsidized rates through the private sector. These efforts create the demand for an expanded health market and ultimately contribute to public health goals.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne lauded ASMO’s success saying, “The United States Government, through the Afghan First Initiative, is committed to supporting and promoting strong, local Afghan-led organizations. I congratulate the ASMO management team and the distinguished Board of Directors on this exciting launch. This day marks a new era for social marketing efforts in Afghanistan.”