Country: Cameroon

Population: 23 million

Estimated prevalence among women aged 15-49:

1.4% & 77,522 women aged 15+ cut

Data Source DHS 2004
15 – 49 (%) 1.4
15 - 19 (%) 0.4
45 - 49 (%) 2.4
Urban (%) 0.9
Rural (%) 2.1
Lowest Region (%) 0.0
Highest Region (%) 5.4
Nicked, no flesh removed (%) 3.7
Flesh removed (%) 84.8
Sewn closed (%) 4.6
Traditionally performed (%) 92.9
Medically performed (%) 4.4
National law Legal

PRB 2014

Type practised:

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

Legal status:

No law against FGC is known to exist. A draft law has been pending for over 10 years, waiting to be debated in Parliament.

History of FGC in Cameroon:

The Cameroonian government has ratified international conventions condemning FGC, including CEDAW and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A national action plan to end the practice was also developed in 1998. Women’s organisations such as the Cameroon Association of Female Lawyers have led ongoing campaigns against the practice.

Current efforts to abandon FGC:

FGC is slowly declining thanks to a combination of condemnation by the government, effective influence by NGOs and the threat of HIV transmission. The government has launched public awareness-raising strategies to educate people about the dangers of FGC; including the use of images and personal accounts, as well as re-training cutters to provide them with an alternative source of income. The acceptance rate by girls and women, and boys and men, has decreased to 7%.

On the International Day against FGC in 2012, the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, Her Excellency Marie Thérèse Abena Ondoa, publically declared that FGC is a major preoccupation for the government. However, efforts to abandon FGC are not as high on the political agenda as other women’s issues because the prevalence of FGC is low (1%) across all regions and population groups.

Ongoing challenges:

It is hard to get definite statistics on prevalence as those who practice FGC do so in secret, while survivors of FGC are often too afraid to come forward. Certain social practices that are exclusive to cut girls, such as the Nkim dance, also contribute to social pressure to continue FGC.

The dangers of FGC are not accepted by some of its practitioners as there is a common perception that campaigns against FGC are an attempt to erode cultural traditions and values.

Practising ethnic groups:

Sara 27.7%

Arab 12.3%

Mayo-Kebbi 11.5%


French (official)

English (official)

24 Major African Languages

Major religions:

Christian 40%

Indigenous beliefs 40%

Muslim 20%

In the news:

76 Crimes - The Advocates for Human Rights and Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (Camfaids) appeal for recognition of rights of Cameroonian children, especially girls and LGBTI youths

La Voix de l'Amerique - Quand l’excision devient un fonds de commerce

Voice of America - World Health Organisation push for an end to female genital cutting

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