Country: Ghana

Population: 25.8 million

Estimated prevalence among women aged 15-49:

3.8% & 308, 500 women aged 15+ cut

Data Source MICS 2011
15 – 49 (%) 3.8
15 - 19 (%) 1.5
45 - 49 (%) 6.4
Urban (%) 2.5
Rural (%) 5.3
Lowest Region (%) 0.4
Highest Region (%) 41.4
Nicked, no flesh removed (%) 5.2
Flesh removed (%) 73.8
Sewn closed (%) 7.9
Traditionally performed (%) 88.6
Medically performed (%) 1.0
National law Illegal

PRB 2014

Type practised:

The most widely practiced form is Type II.

Legal status:

FGC is illegal in Ghana and has been since 1994. There have been several successful prosecutions to date, although none since 2007 when the government increased the sentence for practising to 10 years and widened the range of those who could be prosecuted.

History of FGC in Ghana:

FGC in Ghana has no religious foundation, but is rather linked to traditional beliefs. FGC is most prevalent in the North East region of the country where it has a longer history. According to the U.S Department of State ‘Ghana:  2013 Human Rights Report’, FGC continues to be a serious problem in the Upper West Region of the country and, to a lesser extent, in the Upper East and Northern regions. In 1996, Amnesty International Ghana produced research indicating that among communities in Northern Ghana, prevalence rates were as high as 76%. In the southern parts of Ghana, FGC occurs as a result of practising communities moving to the region, particularly from Northern Ghana or neighbouring countries.

Current efforts to abandon FGC:

The government of Ghana has publicly supported the eradication of FGC. Over the years there has been an extensive outreach by groups in collaboration with the government to eradicate the practice.  Notably, the Ghana Association of Women’s Welfare (GAWW) has been very active in eradication projects in the north, aiming to inform the public about the negative effects of the practice.

In 1997 the WHO, GAWW and the Muslim Family Counselling Services toured the country and identified 18 practitioners in the Volta region and taught them about the harmful effects of FGC. They also worked closely with the Ministry of Education to incorporate education about FGC into the public school health curriculum. Voluntary watchdog committees were set up to intervene and stop impending FGC ceremonies.

The prevalence of FGC in Ghana is continually decreasing; with 6% of 45-49 year olds cut compared to 2% of 15-19 year olds being cut. Moreover, only 2% of girls and women now support the continuation of FGC in Ghana.

Ongoing challenges:

‘Holiday cutting’ remains an issue in Ghana, with Ghanaian families travelling to the nearby Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso to be cut. This therefore leads to difficulties in assessing the prevalence rates. GAWW have called for tougher legislation to work in conjunction with community level awareness raising efforts. As a result of GAWW programmes, many cutters have given up their work but are now reliant on NGOs for income generation.

Practising ethnic groups:














English (official)

African languages (including Akan and Ewe)

Major religions:

Christian 68.8%

Islam 15.9%

Traditional beliefs 8.5%

In the news:

GBN - Ghana receives international applause for reducing FGC prevalence among girls aged 15 to 19 years

Ghana Web - University of Ghana lecturer, Dr Nana Opare Kwakye, asks policy makers and religious leaders to empower women and step up efforts to educate the public to desist from practicing FGC

Spy Ghana – Human rights activists promote the need to end FGC in Ghana, young Ghanaian girls move to the city to avoid FGC

GhanaWeb - Girl banished from Brohani in the Tain District after refusing to undergo FGC

GhanaWeb  – The Upper East region troubled by cross-border FGC

Ghana Web - Oye Lithur to attend UK'S maiden Girls' Summit

Vibe Ghana - FGC possible  cause of maternal deaths in northern Ghana

Vibe Ghana - Women must take FGC and fistula seriously

Vibe Ghana - Some communities in the Upper East region still practice FGC

Vibe Ghana - Raphius Amigos hopeful of grabbing VGMAs Music for Development Award

GhanaWeb - Two organisations carry out study on FGC

Vibe Ghana - FGC a threat to girl-child education

Peace FM - 16% of girls aged 15-19 in the Upper West region are victims of FGC, UNFPA

SpyGhana - Kuurimah Umuhera Ibrahim seeks ministry support against FGC

GhanaWeb - Government will end FGC practices says gender Minister

Ghana Broadcasting Corporation - Bolga Naba passes on

Spy Ghana - FGC is a cruel ritual

Ghana Business News -FGC cases rise in Ghana, UNICEF

FIGO - Ghana to 'sensitise parents' who take children abroad for FGC

Ghana Vibe - The Upper East region curbs FGC

Spy Ghana - 'Sinking Sands' is one of Africa's 10 must-see movies

Ghana Broadcasting Corporation -  The Upper East region makes strategic move to curb FGC

Ghana Web - UERCC strategises to curb FGC

Ghana Business News - UNICEF and Ghana collaborate to eliminate outmoded cultural practices

Government of Ghana - Tostan must help end FGC in Ghana

Joy Online – Female genital cutting Still Practiced in Bawku

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