Burkina Faso

Country: Burkina Faso

Population: 16.9 million

Estimated prevalence among women aged 15-49:

75.8% & 3 million women aged 15+ cut

Data Source DHS 2010
15 – 49 (%) 75.8
15 - 19 (%) 57.7
45 - 49 (%) 89.3
Urban (%) 68.7
Rural (%) 78.4
Lowest Region (%) 54.8
Highest Region (%) 89.5
Nicked, no flesh removed (%) 16.6
Flesh removed (%) 76.8
Sewn closed (%) 1.2
Traditionally performed (%) 97.2
Medically performed (%) 0.2
National law Illegal

PRB 2014

Type practised:

The most widely practiced form is Type II (commonly known as excision).

Legal status:

A law against FGC was adopted in Burkina Faso in 1996 and went into effect in 1997. It imposes fines and stricter punishments for those involved in the excision of women and girls.

History of FGC in Burkina Faso:

A radio campaign initially raised the issue of FGC in 1975, demanding that the practice come to an end. This was followed by a recommendation made in 1985 during ‘National Week for Women’ to abolish the practice.

The current law banning FGC was passed in 1996 but did not come into effect until 1998, which gave time for an extensive, nationwide campaign to raise awareness and education around FGC.  As a result of this law, 117 cases have been brought to the courts with 192 subsequent prosecutions.

Current efforts to abandon FGC:

Political authorities, traditional and religious leaders, and NGOs have made significant progress in work to end FGC over the last 15 years. Open dialogue about the issues surrounding FGC, lobbying, capacity building and institutional support has resulted in a rapid decrease in prevalence rates (although it should be noted that the law may have also resulted in underreporting).

The government of Burkina Faso view FGC as an issue concerning public health, violence and individual rights, and has implemented initiatives to combat it. In 1990, a national committee was created, the CNLPE - Comité National de Lutte Contre la Pratique de l'Excisio - with the aim of coordinating the actions led against FGC at a national scale. Since 2002, May 18th has marked Burkina Faso’s National Day to combat FGC. This day is visibly supported by opinion leaders, traditional chiefs and religious authorities in the country. And in 2005, together with Qur’an experts, a study was led by the CNLPE to prove that the Qur’an doesn’t recommend FGC.

A hospital has been under construction in Bobo-Dioulasso since 2011 with the purpose of helping those who have undergone FGC. It was due to open in early 2014 but the government revoked permission for the hospital to operate.

Ongoing challenges:

Cross border migration of populations from countries where the practice of FGC is common poses an ongoing challenge to the campaign to end FGC.

It has been suggested that the 1996 law may have driven the practice deeper underground.

Additional Information:

In Burkina Faso 60% of FGC cases happen before the girls turn five.

Practising ethnic groups:

Dioula 88%

Senufo 86%

Bobo and Bissa 83%

Gourounsi 48%


French (official)

Native African Languages

Major religions:

Muslim 60.5%

Catholic 19%

Animist 15.3%

In the news:

Tolerance.ca -Activists Fear Rise of FGM Cases in Burkina Faso

24dash.com - Positive news from Burkina Faso on the work to end FGC

Jackson FP - PhD Student makes a film during her doctoral research with the goal of sensitizing people about FGC

PRI- Rapper Smockey joins anti-FGC movement

Facebook - Chantal Compaore, First Lady of Burkina Faso is standing for zero tolerance on FGC

Digital Journal- Clitoraid and Raelian Movement win major defamation case in West Africa

BBC News - The unopened 'pleasure hospital' of Bobo

Global Voices - State stops the opening of free clitoral repair hospital for FGC victims

Voice of America - FGC Repair Hospital stirs controversy

GhanaWeb - First clitoral repair hospital to open in West Africa

FIGO - Amnesty targets 'epicentre of FGM'

Star Africa - Burkina Faso recorded 5 FGC-related death cases in 2012

Trust.org - Baby girls cut in secret as Burkina Faso cracks down on FGC

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