Country: Tanzania

Population: 49.6 million

Estimated prevalence among women aged 15-49:

14.6% & 2 million women aged 15+ cut

Data Source MICS 2010
15 – 49 (%) 14.6
15 - 19 (%) 7.1
45 - 49 (%) 21.5
Urban (%) 7.8
Rural (%) 17.3
Lowest Region (%) 0.0
Highest Region (%) 70.8
Nicked, no flesh removed (%) 1.0
Flesh removed (%) 98.0
Sewn closed (%) 2.0
Traditionally performed (%) 88.5
Medically performed (%) 1.8
National law Illegal

PRB 2014

Type practised:

The most widely practiced form is Type II (commonly known as excision). Type III (commonly known as infibulation) is confined to the eastern part of the country in areas bordering Sudan. The practice crosses ethnic and religious lines. It is practiced by Christians, Muslims and Animists in roughly equal proportions. Prevalence varies significantly by region.

Legal status:

The law in Tanzania has prohibited FGC since 1998; however the law does not explicitly cover medical practitioners and does not cover those above 18 years pressurised into being cut.

History of FGC in Tanzania:

FGC was originally practiced by 20 of the country’s 130 tribes, and was most prevalent in the mainland regions of Arusha, Singida, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro, and Dar es Salaam.

Current efforts to abandon FGC:

The Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Network (AFNET) works with education officers across the Serengeti to increase awareness about the negative effects of FGC, predominantly with groups of students between the ages of 10 and 13. There is evidence of significant generational change as women aged 45-49 are three times more likely to have been cut than girls aged 15-19. Only 6% of girls and women and 9% of boys and men think FGC should continue.

Other organisations also currently working in Tanzania to end FGC include The Rogoro Roman Catholic Parish in Masanga village and the NGO WOWAP (Women Wake Up) based in Dodoma. These organisations work with communities to campaign against FGC using traditional means such as song, music, dance and public meetings; as well as more contemporary means of communication like video screenings and radio broadcasts. WOWAP have experienced success in Dodoma, where FGC has been replaced with ‘initiation without cutting’. FGC is no longer part of the 7 day rite of passage.

Ongoing challenges:

Despite being illegal, FGC remains an issue. FGC usually takes place in secret to avoid detection and is typically performed on girls before the age of 5, or in some regions of central Tanzania, when they are only a few days old. 70% of all FGC is done by a traditional circumciser.

Ethnic groups:

There are over 130 ethnic groups represented in Tanzania. The largest ethnic groups are the SukumaNyamweziChaggaNyakyusaHayaHeheBenaGogo, and the Makonde who comprise the majority of Tanzania’s population. Other smaller tribes include the Pare and the widely recognised Maasai.


Kiswahili/Swahili (Official)

English (Official)


Many local languages

Major religions:

Christian 30%

Islam 35% (Zanzibar 99%)

Indigenous beliefs 35%

In the news:

All Africa - Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Tulia Ackson, has urged the public to join efforts in the battle against violence on women emphasizing on FGC in a seminar organised by the Italian Embassy in Tanzania

Reuters - More than 800 girls underwent FGC in northern Tanzania last month

Reuters - Police and girls' rights groups fighting to end FGC

Daily News Tanzania - While 'FGC season' sets in, the EU supports international and local organisations to combat FGC and child marriage

All Africa - Tanzanian and Kenyan border police forces agreed to cooperate in the fight against FGC

All Africa -  Will the new constitution protect women's rights in Tanzania?

All Africa - EU supports training in child protection to curb FGC cases

All Africa - The Executive Director of the UK-based Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development (Forward) has expressed satisfaction on progress of anti-FGC campaign in the Mara Region

Daily News Tanzania - Children's Dignity Forum (CDF) are opening clubs to tackle FGM in the Mara region, the project is supported by Forward UK and Comic Relief

All Africa - Activists from Tarime District argue that the number of FGC cases could be reduced if village chairmen worked together with executive officers

All Africa - Tanzania has signed and ratified various instruments relating to gender equality and women's rights, but has not done much to implement them

Independent - Straight women marry each other to keep their property in absence of their husbands, practice is helping reduce risks of domestic abuse, child marriage, and FGC within tribe

Daily News - Officers from the Police Force's Gender and Children Desks in Mara Region train to improve their handling of GBV cases

Daily News - Amref Health Africa-Tanzania Project advises government to engage members of traditional council of elders in its war against FGC and early marriage

All Africa - Contradictions between state and religious law hindering fight against FGC and early marriage, more effort needed

Daily News - UNFPA to concentrate in the lake zone where FGC rates are high, also causing high rates of early marriages and pregnancies

Daily News - TACKLE Africa from UK train 30 local coaches to use sports to deliver anti-early marriage and anti-FGC messages in Tarime District, Mara Region

All Africa - Tarime girls commend EU's anti-FGC project

Daily News - Second phase of Mobilising Action to Safeguard the Rights of girls in Tanzania launched in Tarime, Musoma, and Ilemela districts

Daily News - Empowering girls to overcome child marriage, teenage pregnancies, and FGC

Daily News - About 60% of women who attended health facilities for delivery service in Tanga city were found to have undergone FGC, despite governmental and non-governmental health education programmes

Daily News - Analysis by the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) finds that GBV and FGC cases still at unacceptable high despite efforts of government and civil society organisations

All Africa - Young women - survivors of GBV, FGC, teenage pregnancies - to benefit from small, non-interest loans from Children's Dignity Forum (CDF)

All Africa - Kagera Regional Commissioner mobilises people to fight gender-based violence and violence against children

New Vision - EALA grants leave to Hon Dora Byamukama to introduce the East African Community Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, 2016

All Africa -  60 youths have vowed to combat child marriage, FGC in five wards of Tarime District in Mara Region

City Press - Culture vs education, and how one project is stressing the importance of putting a child's education first

Daily News - Regional commissioner, other Tanzanians taking more holistic approach in the fight against gender-based violence

All Africa - Women in Tanzania welcome more EU-funded campaigns about ending child marriage and FGC in region

Daily News - Ending FGC is proving very difficult throughout entire country

Daily News - Raising awareness about the health risks associated with FGC in Tanzania

Daily News - Tanzania wins praise from the UN for their anti-FGC position

Human Rights Watch - Ending FGC for the safety of all women

Daily News - Modern girls or 'waiseke wa kisasa' increase in numbers after receiving alternative rite of passage training from ATFGM in Tarmine district

Daily News - Traditional leaders from all 13 clans of Kurya tribe declare support to on-going anti-FGC campaigns in Tarmine district of Mara region

All Africa - When TV becomes protagonist against FGC

All Africa - Involving community in fight against FGC

Anglican News – Escaping FGC and reconciling families in Tanzania

Daily News Soccer coaches to join fight against FGC

All Africa - FGC fight remains long and hard

Daily News - The elders of the Kurya tribe in Tanzania are appealing for financial backing to support anti-FGC awareness

Daily News - Tarmine clans emphasize need to target districts with high prevalence of female circumcisers in their efforts to end FGC

All Africa - Tanzania Media Women's Association (TAMWA)  executive receives Champion of Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) Award

Daily News - Officials in Tarime approve new anti-FGC campaign

Daily News - Stakeholders from Plan International and Children’s Dignity Forum visit Tarime

All Africa - FGC fight remains long and hard

All Africa - EU launches project in Tarime aimed at ending FGC and child marriage

All Africa - New safe house opens in Mugumu Town

All Africa - Former First Lady of Mozambique and South Africa visits Tarime

All Africa - Mara Diocese of Anglican Church of Tanzania holds meeting to discuss program aimed at ending FGC in the Serengeti region

New Vision - Father arrested for allegedly forcing daughter to undergo FGC

Pakistan Today -  Girls who fled to Mugumu from FGC return home

All Africa - Energy and Minerals Minister donates money to FGC refugees in Tarime

All Africa - 120  Girls fled to a safe house in Mugumu from FGC in Mara County

Daily News - 15 girls bring attention to Siha District officials, avoid FGC and marriages

All Africa - Traditional leaders say 'no' to FGC

All Africa - Girls rescued from 'the knife' sheltered at Masanga Centre

Al lAfrica - Mara launch campaign against child marriage and FGC in Tanzania

All Africa - Tarime DC issues a strong warning against FGC

All Africa - New era as girls are rescued from FGC

Daily News - NGO campaign against FGC

All Africa - Media urged to spearhead campaign against gender-based violence

The Evening Standard - Pain behind the smiles of Maasai girls

All Africa - Police gender desks may play significant role in war on FGC

All Africa -  'Let us do away with outdated traditions'

Daily News - Fresh move to end gender-based violence

All Africa -  FGM - AMREF all out to wipe out harmful traditions

All Africa - Kilindi community leaders say 'no' to FGC

All Africa - Campaign against FGC begins in three districts

All Africa - FGC slowly, slowly finds an exit door

All Africa - Educated young Tanzanians reject FGC

Daily News - GEWE II initiative deserves community's wholesome support

FIGO - New anti-FGC campaign in Tanzania 'proving a success'

All Africa - Media blitz pays off in anti-FGC drive

All Africa - Katiba Women Caucus sets strategies against FGC

IPP Media - Establish gender desks in all districts, police urged

All Africa - Noble efforts to combat FGC in Tarime

All Africa - Outlawed FGC still being performed

All Africa - Girls shunning FGC seen as champions in the anti-FGC campaign

IPP Media - Hundreds in Mara flee homes to escape FGC

Daily News - UMATI child protection campaign bears fruit

Thomson Reuters - Tanzania must stop illegal FGC procedures

IPP Media - Bunda on list of districts notorious for gender-based violence

FIGO - Police in Tanzania arrest 38 over FGC cases

Reuters - Maasai women who reject FGC are refused as brides

All Africa - Women suffer in the name of tradition

IPP Media - FGC remains a threat to Tanzanian girls

Daily News - FGM still calls the shots in Singida

All Africa - How FGM rituals keep Maasai women at bay

All Africa - Nation without gender-based violence is possible, says Tamwa

FIGO - More must be done to end FGC in Tanzania, says Hyera

All Africa - FGC dangerous to health

FIGO - Tanzanian campaigners warn FGC 'persists in secret'

IPP Media - Lax laws undermine efforts to fight FGC

Tanzania Daily News - NGO steps up fight against FGC and early marriages

Tanzania Daily News - Anti-FGC campaign bears fruit

Tanzania Daily News - National anti-FGC efforts need added push

The Citizen Daily - Former ngariba an unlikely champion of Tanzania's war on FGC

The Citizen - 'We’re powerless on FGM ritual,' government says

Tanzania Daily News – FGC must be fought

Tanzania Daily News – Tarime anti-FGC drive gets boost from Minister Ummy

Daily News – FGC steady march to death in Tarime

UN Women – Maasai Girls’ school provides scholarships for those at risk of FGC

The Citizen - Please Don’t Cut Me: A girl’s tale

All Africa - Girls flee home over FGC

The Citizen – Elders unrelenting on FGC

Daily News – All women deserve dignified treatment

Daily News – Gifts motivate girls to undergo female genital cutting in Tarime

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