Research Publication

Reflections from Five Years of Research on FGM/C

The African-led research consortium Evidence to End FGM/C: Research to Help Girls and Women Thrive is a five-year, UK Aid-funded program to help end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) within one generation. As a core partner, the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) has been responsible for building the consortium’s capacity for research uptake and developing innovative tools and products to improve how researchers communicate their findings about FGM/C to key decisionmakers.

PRB, in collaboration with the Population Council, developed an interactive legacy document to share key highlights from 5 years of research across 8 African countries. From 2015 to 2019, the consortium developed innovative research methods and uncovered new evidence about the practice and how it is changing—focusing on families and communities, and health and legal systems—in eight countries: Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, and Sudan. Its aim was to bring clarity to a complex field and to converge on findings and recommendations for ending the practice in diverse communities. The program’s many resources, tools, and guides are available to researchers, program planners and managers, and funders to support abandonment efforts.

Uniquely, the consortium:  

  • Used a theory of change and an understanding of local and national needs to guide the program. 
  • Strengthened the capacity of early- to mid-career African researchers in anglophone, francophone, and Arabic-speaking regions. 
  • Examined FGM/C within the wider context of girls’ and women’s rights. 
  • Engaged with stakeholders before, during, and after the research to ensure the evidence would inform policies, programs, and investments. 
  • Communicated evidence to diverse audiences in-person and online using the latest platforms and technologies. 

The consortium owes its successes to the innovative research methods, new evidence uncovered, and strong partnerships forged. Going forward, such partnerships among institutions with well-established national, regional, and global networks will be key to ensuring that evidence is effectively used to influence policy and program actions.