U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Office of International Women's Issues > Electronic Resources > Other Reports > Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) > 2001

K. Chart: Overview of Practice of Female Genital Mutilation



Prevalence of FGM

Type of FGM

Ethnic Group/Area




IAC 1992 survey is 30%. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 50%.

Type II

FGM widely practiced. The ethnic groups most affected - Bariba, Peul (Fulani), Boko, Baatonau, Wama, Nago. Found mostly in north in Alibori, Atacora, Borgou and Zou. Also occurs in south in Oueme.

No law against FGM. The Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC) leads campaign against this practice since 1982 with workshops, seminars. It collaborates with Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. NGOs "Le Levier du Developpement" and "Dignite Feminine" also involved in anti-FGM campaigns. FGM treated as a community issue. Government permits distribution of informational materials in government-run clinics; undertakes sensitivity activities in rural areas.

Burkina Faso

71.6% from 1999 Demographic and Health Survey of 6,445 women nationally

Type II

All but a few of 50 ethnic groups practice FGM. Bella group and castes and some secret societies do not practice any form of FGM.

A 1996 law forbids FGM. It provides prison terms and fines. Sixty convictions since its adoption of both excisors and accomplices. Campaign against FGM since 1975. Government has been waging widespread campaign against this practice for years. National Committee set up by Presidential decree in 1990 does extensive work about FGM including workshops, plays, posters, pamphlets, full-length feature film, etc. There is a 24 hour SOS hotline on FGM.


Less than 5%-20% according to various estimates.

Type I and Type II

FGM practiced in areas of far north, east and southwest.

No law against FGM. Women's groups lobby for legislation. IAC-organized conference Aug. 4-5, 1997 called for law against this practice and instruction of men and women and practitioners on the harmful effects. National Committee of IAC actively campaigns against this practice. Their activities are supported by government. Government active against the practice. Public campaign to eradicate this practice in 15-20 years started in March 1997. This includes public discussion and information programs on the subject.

State-run television and newspaper have programs and articles about this practice. Ministry of Women's and Social Affairs and Cameroon's NGOs continue to make concrete and strong efforts to combat the practice.

Central African Republic

43.4% according to 1995 Demographic and Health Survey of 5,884 women nationally.

Type I and Type II

Practice found in 8 to 10 of 48 ethnic groups.

Since 1966 there has been a law against FGM. Arrests unknown under the law. Government is active in campaigns to inform the public about health problems and has taken measures against this practice. Government adopted in 1989 policy to improve position of women and a program 'Women-Nutrition-Development for Children', all of which address this problem.


60% according to 1995 UN report.

Type II common in all parts of the country. Type III confined to eastern part of country in area bordering Sudan.

In all areas of the country but strongest in the east and south. Crosses ethnic and religious lines. Practiced by Christians, Muslims, Animists in roughly equal proportions. Frequency higher in rural areas.

No law specifically makes FGM punishable. Practice might be prosecutable as involuntary physical assault against a minor under existing Penal Code. Draft law expected to go before Parliament in 2001 would criminalize this practice. In 1995, a government published policy opposing the practice was enacted into law. This includes provisions to increase awareness of the problem, protect women against this practice and initiate punitive measures against those who continue it. Both the government and NGOs are active in conducting public awareness campaigns and seminars about the practice. Ministry of Social Action and the Family coordinates activities concerning this practice. In FY 2001 budget, line item supports activities of leading NGO, Chadian Association for Family Well Being, in combating this practice. NGOs work for eradication, including several NGO-led seminars on the subject. Education programs have been initiated. IAC National Committee active in outreach programs. U.S. Embassy supported local NGO program to get decision makers, traditional leaders and officials involved. Seminars are planned throughout country about the practice plus publicity campaign on radio and in print media. Conference held March 1997 with widespread media coverage. The World Health Organization (WHO) is active in mobilizing government and private efforts to halt the practice.

Cote d'Ivoire

44.5% according to 1999 Demographic and Health Survey of 3,040 women nationally.

Type II

Prevalent among Muslim women and rooted in Animist initiation rites in western, central and northern Cote d'Ivoire. Muslim groups practicing FGM include the northern Mande (Malinke, Foula, Bambara, Dioula) and some members of the Voltaic groups of the north (Senuofo, Tagwana, Djimini, Lobi, Birifor, Koulango) and southern Mande of the west (Dan, Yacouba, Toura, Gouro), many of whom are not Muslim, the We from the Krou group and Baoule in some villages around city of Bouake.

1998 law against FGM. Punishable by fine and imprisonment. Law enforced. Four excisors arrested and jailed in 2000. After enactment of law and before enforcement, government and NGOs such as AIDF (Ivoirian Association for Defense of Women's Rights) launched major information campaign about the law for general population, law enforcement authorities, local government officials. Government heavily involved in campaign to eradicate this practice through Ministry of Women's Affairs and Family and the Ministry of Public Health. NGOs campaign against the practice. AIDF is most active NGO. It works to raise awareness; holds seminars on the subject; leads fight against medicalization of FGM. IAC aims its work of fighting this practice at community institutions – institutions for female education, youth hostels, etc. Gynecological and Obstetrical Society and the National Federation of Midwives and the Association for the Well Being of the Family take action via radio and newspapers to inform public about this practice.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

5% estimate

Type II

Practiced in ethnic groups living in the northern part of country above the equator.

No law prohibits FGM. Outreach efforts unknown.


90%-98% according to various estimates.

Type II and Type III

Afars and Issa practice Type III. Girls of Yemeni extraction subjected to Type II.

Effective in 1995, Penal Code outlaws FGM with prison term and fine. Government incorporated awareness of this practice into national program to promote safe motherhood. NGO outreach groups campaign to eradicate the practice. Government allows use of its facilities; encourages use of the media. The Union Nationale des Femmes de Djibouti (UNFD) holds workshops to increase awareness of health consequences of FGM. Association for the Equilibrium and Promotion of the Family (ADEPF) and UNFD work to raise awareness in schools and women’s groups. WHO, UNICEF, Caritas and the Red Sea Team International are involved in this work.


78%-97%. 2000 Demographic and Health Survey of 15,648 women nation-wide showed figure to be 97% among ever married women aged 15-49 and 78% among daughters of the women surveyed aged 11-19.

Type II and Type I throughout country. Type III concentrated in a few ethnic groups in southern part of country.

Practiced by both Muslims and Coptic Christians; across ethnic lines.

Ministerial decree in 1959 prohibited FGM making it punishable by fine and imprisonment. Changes made over the years. In December 1997, the Court of Cassation upheld a government ban on FGM. Issued as a decree in 1996 by Health Minister, ban prohibits medical and non-medical practitioners from performing FGM in public or private facilities, except for medical reasons certified by head of hospital's obstetric department. Government committed to eradicating FGM through education and information. Some provisions of Penal Code on "wounding", "intentional infliction of harm leading to death" might be used. Reports of prosecution of at least 13 persons for FGM in 1995, 1996 under the Code. Many NGOs doing outreach to teach about the harmful effects. In 1982, a project by the Population Crisis Committee and Cairo Family Planning Association produced material on harmful effects and carried out training for doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers. National Committee of IAC active in anti-FGM activities since 1985. Task force targets mothers' clinics, family planning centers, secondary school students, etc. Current efforts focus on community-based

Approaches and the Positive Deviance Approach that uses individuals who have deviated from tradition and stopped, prevented, oppose the procedure to advocate change. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in cooperation with Egyptian government, is funding projects to train health providers on dangers of the practice and providing grants to NGOs to increase public information about this subject. Government and NGOs use media to disseminate information on health risks.


90% according to 1997 Demographic and Health Survey of 5,054 women nationally.

Type I, Type II, Type III

Some form of FGM practiced by almost all ethnic and religious groups.

No law prohibits FGM. Government uses education and persuasion to eliminate this practice. Ministry of Health carries out campaign to eradicate practice. Government supports groups working to end the practice including National Union of Eritrean Women and the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students. The Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), which led fight for independence, has worked since 1988 to eradicate practice. Women fighters (30% of EPLF) are vocal in effort not to re-establish traditions harmful to women, including FGM. In 1996, government policy was enunciated to eliminate this and other harmful traditional practices; to create and enforce legislation prohibiting these practices; to include in women's health care, prevention of practices such as FGM; and to provide treatment, counseling and rehabilitation for women suffering negative effects of this practice. Government makes information on this practice part of its health and general education programs. Ministry of Health carries out government policy on this practice and provides in-service training to all primary health care coordinators throughout country on the subject, including training

Materials (visual aids and documents). In 1996, workshop on safe motherhood focused on negative health aspects of the practice. Health Ministry, with USAID, UNICEF and UNFPA, is designing a national and local level campaign against this practice. During independence struggle, EPLF tried to prohibit the practice in areas it controlled. Result was practice went underground. Because of this, government now believes best approach is through education, rather than laws, to eliminate practice.


72.7% according to a 1997 survey published in 1998 by the National Committee on Traditional Practices in Ethiopia (NCTPE).

Type I and Type II. Type III in areas bordering Sudan and Somalia. Mariam Girz (Type IV) blood letting with a sharp needle practiced to lesser extent.

Type I practiced among Amharas, Tigrayans and Jeberti Muslims living in Tigray. Type II practiced by Gurages, some Tigrayans, Oromos, and Shankilas. Type III practiced among the Afar, the Somali and the Harari. Mariam Girz (Type IV) practiced in Gojam (the Amhara region). No form of FGM is practiced among Bengas of Wellga, the Azezo, the Dorze, the Bonke, the Shama and some population groups in Godole, Konso and Gojam. By region: Afar-94.5%; Harare-81.2%; Amhara-81.1%; Oromia-79.6%; Addis Ababa City-70.2%; Somali-69.7%; Beneshangul Gumuz-52.9%; Tigray-48.1%; Southern-46.3%.

No law prohibits any form of FGM. Law being drafted. Constitution prohibits harmful traditional practices. Government national policy on women is strongly against FGM and other harmful practices. 1960 Penal Code prohibits torture and cutting off any body parts. Wide range of grassroots outreach activities by NGOs. Government very active in outreach. 1993 National Policy on Women takes strong stance against these practices. Government has followed up with support and action by its various ministries and bureaus, including mandating educational materials discouraging the practices be included in primary school curricula. (Such materials used in curricula since 1994.) The government's National Committee on Traditional Practices in Ethiopia (NCTPE), a chapter of the IAC, does extensive work throughout the country on this subject, including courses to raise awareness about the practices in secondary schools. Some positive results are being seen in stopping FGM. Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association very active on updating laws, including writing provisions into new criminal code (as yet unratified) that will criminalize FGM.


60%-90% various estimates. BAFFROW reports seven of nine ethnic groups practice FGM.

Type I and Type II. Type III in very small percentage of women and girls. Also special "sealing" performed.

Mandikas, Hausas, and Jolas practice Type II. Sarahulis practice modified form of Type II. Fulas practice "sealing" analogous to Type III. Bambaras practice Type III. Wolofs, Akus, Sereres and Manjangos do not practice any form of FGM.

No law prohibits any form of FGM. In 1999, the President announced that FGM would not be banned and that FGM is part of the country's culture. NGOs working to provide information to the public and eradicate all forms using workshops, seminars, theater, media, etc. Gambia Committee against Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP) focuses on community workshops. Foundation for Research on Women's Health, Productivity and the Environment (BAFFROW) developed curriculum for schools on "initiation without mutilation". The government has recognized harmful effects of FGM and supported NGO outreach. After Director of Information and Broadcasting ordered ban on anti-FGM radio and TV programs, Vice President stated that government policy was to discourage such harmful practices as FGM. That was before the President's 1999 statement. Government does allow reproductive health issues such as FGM to be discussed on national radio and television networks. NGOs can use government media to address these issues.


9%-15%. Various estimates. 1998 estimate by Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Center is 15%. Recent UNFPA funded study by Rural Help Integrated estimates between 9 and 12% of women nationwide.

Type I, Type II, Type III. Type II most common.

Practice most common in Upper East Region. Also practiced in remote parts of Northern Region, Upper West Region and northern Volta Region. Also prevalent among migrants of bordering countries in south. Found in both Muslim and Christian communities. Ethnic groups known to practice FGM include Kussasi, Frafra, Kassena, Nankanne, Bussauri, Moshie, Manprusie, Kantansi, Walas, Sissala, Grunshie, Dargati and Lobi. Less prevalent among the educated in urban areas.

1994 law prohibits FGM. Sec. 69A of Criminal Code makes it second degree felony with fine and imprisonment. Art. 39 of Constitution abolishes injurious and traditional practices. History of enforcement of this criminal law. There have been seven arrests since 1994. Two practitioners convicted of second degree felony. One was sentenced to three years in prison. In a 1995 case, the parents of the girl were also charged for having FGM performed on their daughter. Extensive outreach by groups in collaboration with government to eradicate this practice. Government at all levels publicly supports eradication. Ghana Association of Women’s Welfare (GAWW) active in projects in the north to inform the public about effects of the practice and for its eradication. WHO, GAWW and Muslim Family Counseling Services in 1997 toured and identified 18 practitioners in Volta region to teach them about harmful effects of FGM. They work with Ministry of Education to incorporate education about practice into public school health curriculum. Voluntary watchdog committees intervene to stop impending FGM ceremonies. There is little real protection to turn to, however, in many rural areas.


98.6% according to 1999 Demographic and Health Survey of 6,753 women nationally.

Type I, Type II, Type III

Peul, Malinke, Soussou, Guerze, Toma and Nalou practice one of these forms of FGM.

Art. 265 of Penal Code prohibits all forms of FGM. Art. 6 of Constitution prohibits cruel and inhumane treatment. Supreme court preparing clause for Constitution prohibiting FGM. Outreach groups work with government to eradicate the practice through films, TV, seminars, etc. Government initiated a 20 year strategy (1996-2015) to eradicate this practice in collaboration with WHO's Africa regional efforts. This is to reinforce and institutionalize efforts with NGOs using communication and education mediums to inform public about this practice.


50% average; Various estimates. 70%-80% in Fula and Mandinka areas; 20%-30% in urban Bissau.

Type I and Type II

Fulas, Mandinkas, Peul practice Type I or Type II. Practiced on adolescent girls and babies as young as 4 months old.

No law prohibits FGM. In 1995, a law proposed to outlaw this practice was defeated. Assembly did approve proposal to hold practitioners criminally responsible if woman dies as result of one of these procedures. Government, with assistance of the Dutch, Swedish and UN aid agencies and high level support from Ministers of Health and of Social Affairs and Women, in January 1997 implemented a 2-year nationwide program targeting female leaders, excisors, traditional and religious leaders, educators and youth. Government gives support for outreach groups doing informational seminars, publicity, etc. Government formed National Committee to conduct nationwide education campaign to discourage this practice. U.S. Embassy funds are used to finance regional committees to carry out campaigns in rural areas, on radio and TV spots and by production of a play to be performed in regional centers. The Swedish group Radda Barnen and Plan International, as well as domestic NGOs such as Friends of Children and Sinim Mira Nasseque, work through the National Committee to eliminate this practice. The efforts of these groups, suspended after outbreak of fighting in June 1998, resumed in many parts of the country in February 1999.


No national figures available. Study by University of Indonesia's Women's Research Graduate Program in 1998 in Jakarta and West Java of 200 mothers, found most girls circumcised but often with less invasive procedures used.

Type I and less invasive Type IV forms such as scraping or touching clitoris to draw drop of blood or cutting a plant root symbolically without touching child.

Practiced in parts of East, Central and West Java, North Sumatra, Aceh, South Sulawesi and on Madura Island.

No law against this practice. Public awareness of this practice is low. Government included this practice as a gender issue in its National Action Plan to End Violence against Women, published in Nov. 2000. Commits Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Ministry of Religion to conduct research on religious teachings that impede women's rights. FGM heads Action Plan's list of religious teachings requiring investigation and modification. Indonesian Government, National Ulemas Council, religious leaders, women's groups and health practitioners are to develop guidelines for health practitioners and midwives on non-invasive techniques. Awareness campaign planned.


37.6% according to 1998 Demographic and Health Survey of 7,881 women nationally.

Type I and Type II. Some Type III in far eastern areas bordering Somalia.

FGM practiced in 30 of Kenya’s 40 ethnic groups. Not practiced among 2 largest groups in far west-Luos and Luhyas. Examples of ethnic groups include Kisii–97%; Masai–89%; Kalenjin–62%; Taita and Taveta–59%; Mercu/Embu groups–54%; Kikuyu–43%; Kamba–33%; Miji Kenda/Swahili–12%. Widely practiced among Muslims of northeastern province, particularly Somalis, Borans and Gabras. Declining among the educated and in urban areas.

No law prohibits FGM. In 1982 and 1989, presidential decrees were issued banning this practice. A vote in 1996 by Parliament defeated a motion to outlaw it. Government forbids government hospitals and medical clinics from performing any of these procedures. Ministries of Health and Culture discourage this practice; encourage adoption of alternative rites of Passage. Government encourages enactment of legislation to eradicate practice. Many NGOs working to eradicate practice. National Committee on Traditional Practices (now the Kenya National Council on Traditional Practices) does outreach to inform population about this subject, as do other groups. Seminars have been held. Materials are provided on the practice. MYWO, the national women's organization closely aligned with the ruling Kanu party, is one of most active organizations working to eradicate the practice. MYWO focuses on informing community about the harmful health effects. It has also developed alternative initiation rites without "the cut" and is retraining excisors in other lines of work. Media helps campaign to eradicate practice. Schools include this subject in curricula. USAID is funding programs for research and eradication of the practice in several targeted areas. UNICEF and UNDP are also working to eradicate this practice. They focus on key local level officials and building local support. In March 1997, UNICEF organized meeting of donors, NGOs and UN agencies to coordinate eradication campaigns in Kenya. Information, training and persuasion are to be the tools to change practice at grassroots.


50% of females over 18-pre-civil war 1989 estimate.

10%-estimate during civil war (1990-1996). Update unavailable.

Type II

Major groups including the Mande speaking people of Western Liberia such as Gola and Kisii practice Type II. Not practiced by the Kru, Grebo or Krahn in Southeast, by Americo-Liberians (Congos) or by Muslim Mandingos.

No law specifically prohibits FGM. Section 242 of Penal Code might cover it. No cases to date. The IAC Liberian National Committee conducted research, trained volunteers and provided health training about harmful effects of this practice. It collaborated with government to integrate awareness of consequences of FGM into programs for mother and child care and primary health care. It continued to provide information and training about the dangers of FGM during the civil war. Liberian Action Network also worked in campaign gathering information and recommending programs, seminars, workshops and meetings. Media is used to address damage caused by FGM.

Campaigns during pre-civil war period had little effect in stopping FGM.



93.7% according to USAID-funded Demographic and Health Survey of 9,704 women aged 15-49. Commission for the Promotion of Women estimates 96% rural and 92% urban women have undergone this procedure.

Type I, Type II, Type III (southern part of country)

Most groups, including the Bambara, Dogon, Senoufo, Soninke, and Peul practice some form of FGM. The Songhai, Tuareg and Moor populations generally do not practice any form. The practice is lowest among ethnic groups in north. In south over 95%. For example, Bamako-95.3%; Koulikoro-99.3%. Very low percentage in north. For example, Tombouctou and Gao-9.3%.

No specific law prohibits FGM, but Penal Code outlaws assault and grievous bodily harm. Law being drafted to outlaw this practice. Government formed National Action Committee in 1996 to promote eradication of harmful health practices against women and children. Engages in information activities, training, support of NGOs combating harmful practices, etc. In 1997, Committee devised first phase of Plan of Action for the Eradication of FGM by 2007. Many NGOs campaign and provide extensive programs on subject throughout country. Government regional offices support these activities.


25% according to 1997 Juene Afrique survey and 1996 UN Population Fund report.

Type I (more common among the Soninkes) and Type II (more common among Toucouleurs) . Also symbolic Type IV using gum arabic plant based product mixture to shrink the clitoris.

A 1992 government funded national survey indicated that 93% of Pulaar women; 78% of Soninke; 69% of Moors (who make up 70% of the population) and 12% of Wolof practiced FGM.

No law prohibits FGM. Secretariat of State for Women's Affairs, a cabinet post, directs government efforts to eliminate this practice. The practice is banned from government hospitals. NGOs and public health workers, medical doctors provide education and information to women about the harmful effects and the fact that FGM is not a requirement of Islam. Secretary of State for Women's Affairs formed Committee in June 1997 to coordinate activities against this practice. UNICEF and UNFPA working in country on FGM projects. In 1996, U.S. funded publication and distribution of booklet on women's rights, including information on FGM that was launched through public campaign in all regions of country. Prominent in campaign is an eminent Imam, member of higher Islamic Council of Mauritania, who carries message that this practice are not a religious requirement of Islam.


4.5% according to 1998 Demographic and Health Survey of 7,577 women nationally.

Type II

Most prevalent in the Tillaberi and Dosso areas, along the Niger river and among Arab communities in the Diffa region. Communities/ethnic groups practicing FGM are Arabs (known locally as "Shoua"), Kanuris and Zarma-Sonrhais. Also by the Peul, Songhai, Kourtey and Wago.

No law prohibits FGM at this time. Government has drafted proposed amendment to Penal Code that would outlaw FGM and carry a sentence of 3-20 years prison term. Must now be submitted to Parliament. Government decree in 1990 established committee to campaign against FGM called Nigerian Committee against Harmful Traditional Practices (Lute Contra les Practices Traditionnelles Nefastes or CONIPRAT). It is the leading NGO in the fight against FGM. It carries out publicity campaigns to raise awareness; disseminates information on this practice in local languages; participates in research. With UNICEF funding and government participation, CONIPRAT held several seminars on the harmful effects of these and other traditional practices. It is working to strengthen its presence at regional and local levels. Organized ceremony in rural Tillaberi department where excisors turned in their knives and pledged to discontinue practice of FGM. Received prominent coverage in government media. Government participates in information seminars, publicity. March 1997, Minister of Health announced the government will do whatever it can to halt the practice of FGM. Government created in Ministry of Social Development, a division for protection of women and children that works closely with CONIPRAT on this issue. UNICEF and Care International support CONIPRAT's efforts.


25.1% according to 1999 Demographic and Health Survey of 8,206 women nationally.

Type I, Type II and Type III throughout the country. Type III more predominant in the north. Type I and Type II more predominant in the south. Another Type IV form practiced to a lesser extent uses a corrosive substance on the female genitalia.

Practiced across ethnic groups and religions. Practiced by almost all ethnic groups. Among the largest ethnic groups that practice some form of FGM are the Yoruba, Ibo, Ijaw, Hausa, and Kanuri. The Fulanis do not practice any form. Practice among states of Nigeria vary from 0%-1% in Yobe to 90%-100% in Benue and 90%-98% in Ondo.

No federal law prohibits FGM. Opponents use Sec. 34(1)(a) of 1999 Constitution instead. There are state laws against this practice.

Edo State banned practice in Oct. 1999. There has been one conviction under Edo State law. States of Ogun, Cross River, Osun, Rivers and Bayelsa also banned practice since that time. Government publicly opposes this practice. Federal Health Ministry and Federal Ministry of Women's Affairs support nationwide study of the practice. Many NGOs- international, national and local organizations, including the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives; Nigerian Medical Women’s Association; Nigerian Medical Association; WHO and UNICEF campaign and teach about dangers of this practice. IAC/Nigeria has programs throughout the country on the subject. It is pursuing a state by state strategy to criminalize the practice in all 36 states.


5%-20%. 20% according to 1988 Environmental Development Action in the Third World study. Various other estimates range as low as 5%.

Type II and Type III

Toucouleur, Sarakole, Peul and Bambara, the Halpular, Mande, Diolas (mostly rural), Mandingos (mostly rural) and the Tenda practice one of these forms. It is not practiced among the Wolof plurality-43% and the Serere-15% and most Christians, regardless of ethnicity. Minority Halpularen, Puel and Toucouleur in rural areas of eastern and southern Senegal-88%. Urban Halpularen-20%. Becoming less common in urban areas.

Law passed in 1999 prohibits FGM. President has spoken out against this practice. Outreach groups conduct seminars, publicity campaigns, surveys, workshops on the subject. The NGO Tostan, with assistance of the government, UNICEF and the American Jewish World Service has sponsored skills training courses including courses on literacy, problem solving, women's health and hygiene, management, leadership, negotiating and human rights that provide information about the harmful health effects of this practice. Following these courses, the Bambara village of Malicounda abandoned these practices, with the endorsement of the Imam. As of November 2000, 174 villages had abandoned the practice, following completion of the Tostan program. This affects about 140,000 people. Tostan program being replicated in Sudan, Mali and Burkina Faso. Ministry of Women, Children and the Family sponsors public awareness programs on the practice.

Sierra Leone

80%-90%. Various estimates.

Type II

All ethnic and religious groups except Krios practice FGM.

No law prohibits FGM. NGOs carry out instructional programs and work to eradicate the practice. The Sierra Leone Association on Women’s Welfare (SLAWW) has advocated instruction and information against FGM since 1984. Grassroots programs include teaching about the harmful effects of FGM and eradication of the practice. Seminars held with primary and secondary school teachers on dangers of this practice.


90-98%. UNICEF estimates 90%. Other estimates are 96-98%. 1999 CARE International survey estimates 100% for Somaliland (northwest Somalia).

Type III is most common. Also Type I (also called "sunna").

Most if not all ethnic groups. Type I mainly in coastal towns of Mogadishu, Brava, Merca and Kismayu

No national law against FGM. However, the administration of Puntland passed law against practice November 1999. Outreach groups campaigned to eradicate this practice since 1977. Former Barre government appointed group to eradicate the practice. Instructional and learning programs existed since Somalia Academy of Arts and Sciences began studies on the subject in 1980s. Extensive work by former government's Ministry of Education. Institute of Women’s Education (IWE) set up in 1984. It engaged in activities to eradicate FGM in a general health program – Family Planning Project. In 1987, the Italian Association for Women and Development and Somali Women's Democratic Organization founded an anti-FGM project. Information packets and audio visual material were produced; workshops set up; seminars held. Technical basis destroyed in 1991 with overthrow of government. UNICEF conducted workshops in Mogadishu, Galgaddud and Mudug regions in 1999-2000 to eradicate practice. UNICEF-Somalia has sponsored awareness seminars since 1996 to end FGM. U.S. Embassy in 2000 provided grant to Voice of Midwives Association for public awareness campaign. In 1998, U.S. Embassy provided grant to UNICEF for FGM project in four communities in Somaliland.

Sudan (northern)

89% according to 1991 Demographic and Health Survey of 5,860 women nationally. 87% urban - 91% rural of northern Sudanese women and girls according to survey conducted from 1996 to April 2000 by Sudan National Committee on Traditional Practices (SNCTP) and Save the Children Sweden.

Type III predominates. Some are switching to Type I or Type II.

All ethnic and religious groups practice one of these forms throughout the northern, northeastern and northwestern regions.

Today there is no law forbidding FGM per se, although Sudan was the first African country to outlaw this practice in 1946. A 1946 amendment to the 1925 Penal Code prohibited infibulation (Type III) but allowed less severe form. Ratified again in 1956. Prohibited infibulation but allowed removal of projecting part of clitoris; punishment of fine and imprisonment. The 1991 Penal Code does not mention any form of FGM. Other provisions of the Penal Code covering "injury" might cover FGM. Reports that some practitioners arrested, but no further information available. Outreach groups have been working to eradicate the practices for 50 years. Intensive campaign today. NGOs, government, religious groups and media work to eradicate practices. Focus on information, workshops and seminars. Medical profession becoming involved. Eradication of FGM worked into curriculum for community health at Khartoum Nursing College.


17.9% according to 1996 Demographic and Health Survey of 8,120 women nationally Percentage is between 2.9% in Mtwara to 81.4% in Arusha according to a 1999 report by the Tanzanian Legal and Human Rights Center.

Type II and Type III

Practiced in approximately 20 of country's 130 main ethnic groups. Government data shows incidence varies by region with the most affected being: Arusha-81.4% of women; Dodoma-67.9%; Mara-43.7%; Kilimanjaro-36.9%; Iringa-27%; Singida-25.4% and Kilosa-20.2%. The percentage in Mtwara is only 2.9%. It is not practiced in Zanzibar. Practice almost non-existent in rest of the country.

Sec. 169A of the Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act of 1998 prohibits FGM. Punishment by fine or imprisonment or both. Government supports campaign to end this practice. There are government efforts to eradicate this practice. There are extensive programs, surveys, studies, research on this practice. National Committee on Traditional Practices (NCTP) is directed toward awareness raising. It did research to design means to combat this practice. It is seeking to inform youth and incorporate information about it into school curriculum. Instruction on dangers of this practice sometimes included in health science in secondary schools. Ministry of Health conducting campaign to prevent this practice as part of their "Safe Motherhood" initiative. Seminars sponsored by governmental and non-governmental organizations regularly held to provide information about the practice. The Dodoma Traditional Practices and Beliefs Committee that received a grant from WHO began a program to eliminate FGM in the region within 20 years. USAID funded the NGO TAMWA to conduct workshops on eradication of this practice. The Legal and Human Rights Center report suggests the practice is on the decline.


12% average. Ethnic groups vary. Cotocoli, Tchamba, Mossi, Yanga and Peul- 85-98%; Moba-22%; Gourma-12%, according to U.S. funded 1996 research carried out by the Demographic Research Unit of Togo's University of Benin.

Type II

Cotocoli, Tchamba, Peul, Mossi, Yanga, Moba, Gourma, Ana-Ife practice Type II. Two of the largest ethnic groups, Adja-Ewe and Akposso-Akebou, do not practice any form. Highest regional incidence is the Central Region at 33%, home of the Cotocoli and Tchamba. By religion: Muslim-63.9%; Christian-3.2%; Animists-6.1%; other-10%,

A law banning FGM was passed on October 30, 1998 by the National Assembly with prison term and fine. One excisor arrested under the law. Human rights and women's organizations provide information to rural populations on harmful effects of the practice. Since 1984, with help of government, National Committee of IAC holds seminars, workshops to teach about the subject. Anti-FGM documentary shown on National (government controlled) television. Government held seminars after law passed on enforcement of the law. Also informed public about health problems associated with FGM. Major campaign by Togalese Association for the Well Being of the Family in 1999 to educate public about the law. NGO Group of Reflection and Action for Women in Democracy and Development work to protect women from this practice.


Less than 5% of female population. Number of girls undergoing Type I or Type II in recent years are: 1990-971 girls; 1992-903 girls; 1994-854 girls; 1996-544 girls; 1998-965 girls; 2000-742 girls. Initiation ceremonies take place in December of even numbered years on girls between ages of 14 and 16.

Type I and Type II

Prevalent in rural district of Kapchorwa in the east among the Sabiny ethnic group. Also practiced by the Pokot group, also known as the Upe, located along the remote northeastern border with Kenya. Approximately 10,000 Sabiny and 20,000 Upe live in the country.

No law yet prohibits FGM. Government, however, is formulating a law banning this practice throughout the country. Constitution in theory protects women and girls from this practice. Section 8 of the Children Statute, enacted in 1996, makes it unlawful to subject a child to social or customary practices that are harmful to child’s health. In 1996, a girl upon whom FGM was to be performed secured intervention of a court and the procedure was prevented under this statute. Government publicly condemns FGM and says it would protect any woman bringing a claim to its attention. National Committee of IAC works to eradicate this practice and inform the public about its harmful effects. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) pilot program called "Reach" (Reproductive, Educative and Community Health program) in 1995 in Kapchorwa, focused on information, education and instruction about this practice. It also focused on rallying support of key members of society (such as Elders Association); informing community youth through peer educators; training health workers and finally instructing traditional birth attendants and excisors. Program resulted in a substantial decline in the practice from 1994 to 1996. Government has fully supported the UNFPA program. Sabiny Elders Association now is very active in campaign to abolish FGM and replace it with a symbolic ritual. Chairman of the Association was awarded the UN Population Award for work of the Sabiny Elders to eradicate this practice in the remote Kapchorwa region.

Yemen, Republic of

23% of women who have ever been married, according to a USAID funded 1997 Demographic and Maternal and Child Health Survey.

Type II. Type III practiced only among small community of East African immigrants and refugees.

Primarily women living in coastal areas, but also practiced to lesser extent in the mountainous region and in the plateau and desert region. In the Tihama region along Red Sea coast, 69% of women were circumcised; 15% of women in highlands; 5% in central plateau and desert regions to the east.

Ministry of Public Health survey in five governorates. Results show over 96% of women in Hodeidah, Hadraumaut and Al-Maharah had been circumcised. In Aden it was 82% and in Sana'a City 45.5%.

No law prohibits FGM. Ministerial decree effective January 9, 2001, prohibits the practice in both government and private health facilities. The government published the recent Demographic Health Survey on the incidence of FGM. Some government health workers actively and publicly discourage this practice, including the Minister of Public Health. Some women are doing research to launch a public campaign against the practice. Ministry of Public Health sponsored two day seminar January 9-10, 2001 entitled "Female Health" on FGM. Nearly 150 academics, health professionals, government officials, donors and clerics attended. First time FGM had been publicly discussed in Yemen. Conference Plan of Action includes 1)religious leaders to provide legal opinion on FGM in consultation with doctors; 2) Ministries to develop public awareness campaign in areas most affected by practice; 3) Ministry of Public Health to conduct nationwide study to determine extent of the practice; 4) plan to be developed to include FGM in curricula at medical schools, health institutes and literacy centers; 5) a law to be promulgated to prohibit FGM.

Prepared by the Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women's Issues, Office of the Under Secretary for Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State, February 1, 2001. Updated June 27, 2001.

  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.