Methodological issues in measuring the impact of interventions against female genital cutting (PDF)
Culture, Health and Sexuality 7(5): 463-477
Publication date: 2005
With increasing efforts being made to introduce systematic interventions for encouraging abandonmentof female genital cutting (FGC) comes the need to better understand how such interventionswork and what effects they have. Many interventions are based on theoretical models of behaviourchange and so studies to evaluate them should develop indicators appropriate to the type of behaviourchange anticipated. Systematic evaluations need also to use some form of quasi-experimental design tobe able to attribute change to the intervention and not to any 'natural' change in FGC behaviour orother activities that may be concurrent. A sustained change in the prevalence of FGC is the ultimateindicator and there are several ways this can be measured, although with many limitations given theintimate nature of the practice. Moreover, appropriate sample sizes must be calculated and used to beable to draw valid conclusions. Many of those implementing FGC interventions are not familiar withsuch basic research principles and so there is an urgent need to ensure that projects are well designed so that valid conclusions concerning their effectiveness can be drawn.