Encouraging the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Among the Somali of Kenya
The Council is conducting research in Kenya to inform the design and implementation of interventions to encourage abandonment of FGM/C.
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) refers to the intentional removal of part or all of the external genitalia, or other damage to the female genitalia, for cultural or other nonmedical purposes. It is practiced in 28 countries of sub-Saharan Africa; as many as 100–140 million girls and women worldwide have undergone the practice.
With support from USAID, the Population Council’s recently completed FRONTIERS program undertook studies in Wajir and Mandera districts and in the Eastleigh area of Nairobi to inform the design and implementation of interventions to encourage abandonment of FGM/C.
FGM/C is a deeply rooted and widely supported cultural practice. The health system is ill-equipped to serve women who have been cut and infibulated, especially during delivery. In addition health workers are asked to perform FGM/C, and many respond to these requests, with the justification that they can perform it more safely than can traditional practitioners.
Population Council researchers developed an intervention to address FGM/C among the Somali from two perspectives: (1) to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of a community-based intervention to encourage the Somali community to abandon this harmful practice; and (2) to strengthen existing antenatal and delivery services in health facilities used by Somali women so that staff are better able to manage pregnancy and delivery of infibulated women and complications associated with FGM/C.
This project is now being funded by the Wallace Global Fund, and the community component is taking place. Currently community groups are meeting and dialogue sessions are being held. A religious-oriented approach is being used during the dialogue sessions to de-link the practice of FGM/C from Islam.
A religious oriented approach to addressing female genital mutilation/cutting among the Somali community of Wajir, Kenya (PDF)
Sheikh Abdi,Maryam; Askew,Ian
FRONTIERS Report (updated March 2009)
Publication date: 2009
Location: Kenya (Wajir District, North-Eastern Province)
Female genital mutilation/cutting
Duration: 1/2009 - 1/2010
Population Council researchers:
Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya
Council of Scholars of Kenya
Federation of Women Lawyers, Kenya
German Agency for Technical Co-operation
Kenya Women Parliamentary Association
National Commission on Gender and Development
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Population Fund
US Agency for International Development
Wallace Global Fund