Council Commentary

New Review of Research on Interventions to End FGM from Population Council Kenya, UNICEF, UNFPA, and WHO

Photo credit: UNICEF

Population Council, Kenya, in partnership with UNICEF, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and World Health Organization (WHO) has published the first-ever global review of evidence on the "Effectiveness of Interventions Designed to Prevent or Respond to Female Genital Mutilation." Despite intensified efforts to build a global evidence base to inform strategies addressing female genital mutilation (FGM), there has been limited rigorous, high-quality evidence on what set of interventions are most effective in ending the harmful practice. This report conveys key findings on the quality and strength of existing evidence on FGM interventions from 2008 to 2020.  

Led by Dennis Matanda, Deputy Team Lead of the FGM Data Hub, the project team closely examined 115 studies that met the inclusion criteria and identified multiple interventions with a strong evidence base justifying wider implementation, including health education, community dialogues with parents and religious leaders, use of media and social marketing efforts, and formal education for women and girls.

As the Sustainable Development Goals target of zero new cases of FGM by 2030 approaches, there is need for stakeholders to reflect on what set of interventions can facilitate achievement of this target. Matanda emphasizes, “This report will not only offer guidance on what evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of interventions that have been implemented for decades but should also spark a much-needed conversation on where we should focus our investments to end FGM.” 

The Council, in collaboration with UNICEF, UNFPA, and WHO, is now working to jointly identify and prioritize areas of research on interventions to address FGM. A research and utilization strategy is expected to be launched later this year. Read the new evidence review and accompanying brief, and learn more about the Council’s efforts to support evidence-based approaches to ending FGM, including the recently launched FCDO-funded FGM Data Hub