Uganda

Country: Uganda

Population: 35.9 million

Estimated prevalence among women aged 15-49:

1.4% & 41,572 women cut (aged 15+)

Data Source DHS 2011
15 – 49 (%) 1.4
15 - 19 (%) 1.0
45 - 49 (%) 1.9
Urban (%) 1.4
Rural (%) 1.4
Lowest Region (%) 0.2
Highest Region (%) 4.8
Nicked, no flesh removed (%) --
Flesh removed (%) --
Sewn closed (%) --
Traditionally performed (%) --
Medically performed (%) --
National law Illegal

PRB 2014

Type practised:

The most widely practiced forms in Uganda are Type I and Type II.

Legal status:

A national decree was passed in 2010 that prohibits FGC with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

History of FGC in Uganda:

In 1992, efforts to outlaw the practice rebounded. The government decided to use shock tactics to aid FGC reform, and thus screened a film showing the mass cutting of girls in rural Ugandan areas. However, instead of helping the anti-FGC campaign, rural communities were outraged and insulted, and subsequently refused to take the message of abandonment on board. In 1994, twice as many girls were cut as a signal of resistance to outside interference.

However, in 2005 the UN Population Fund implemented a programme known as REACH (Reproductive Education and Community Health), that resulted in a tremendous shift in local perspectives towards FGC. Through education as well as respectful and non-judgemental means, the Sabiny people were encouraged to question the legitimacy of certain cultural practices. The result was that by 1997, significant progress had been made in the struggle to fight FGC. Sabiny girls were choosing to reject the practice and community elders were respecting the girls’ decisions.

In November 2014, five people were jailed for four years each for aiding or procuring FGC.

Current efforts to abandon FGC:

Government, women’s groups and international organisations continue work to end the practice through education, focusing on close cooperation between traditional figures of authority and peer counselling sessions. Partnerships (such as the Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and UNICEF/UNFPA) support community-level activism to accelerate abandonment. Media campaigns and workshops held between major stakeholders have seen success in changing attitudes towards FGC. The use of personal testimonies to campaign against the practice has also been effective in averting those who would have previously embraced the practice.

REACH’s approach is community-based and multi-sectorial, working in one village at a time, focusing on community-level mobilisation, advocacy activities aimed at a cross section of the population, and above all attitudinal changes.

The African Youth Alliance (AYA) has also been prominent in work to end FGC in Uganda. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, its approach is youth-oriented and community-based.

There has been a decline in public support of the practice. Only 9% of girls and women support FGC, with the majority of those aged between 15 and 19. This directly correlates to the decline in prevalent from 2% to 1%.

Ongoing challenges:

Although the REACH programme has experienced significant success, limited funding has restricted the projects capacity to help campaign against FGC in Uganda.

Despite a prevalence rate of less than 10% across the country, the practice is still common in parts of the Bukwo and Kapchorwa districts. In recent years, the practice has been going underground, a trend likely related to the passage of the 2010 law against the practice. Many girls are prepared, cut and nursed in secrecy, away from the villages and without the traditional celebrations or ceremonies.

Practising ethnic groups:

Sabiny

Pokot

Tepeth

Languages:

English (official)

Ganda or Luganda

Other Niger-Congo languages

Nilo-Saharan languages

Swahili

Arabic

Major religions:

Roman Catholic 41.9%

Protestant 42%

Islam 12.1%

In the news:

UNFPA News - “I do not cut girls anymore”

ReliefWeb - ‘I will protect my daughters because I saw my wife suffer’

All Africa - The Speaker of Parliament calls on all Ugandans to  join the fight against child marriages and FGC

All Africa - Schools in the Sabiny sub-region are championing a cultural behavioural change to eradicate FGC

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

News Ghana - Uganda working to end FGC for good within their borders

Mediamax - More than 50 victims of FGC rescued in West Pokot County

All Africa - Case study shows that the law alone will not eradicate FGC by 2030 deadline

New Vision - Is 'pulling' worth the effort or trouble?

New Vision - Writer Catherine Mwesigwa of New Vision receives award for contributions to campaign against FGC

New Vision - FGC rates rise in Karamoja and Sebei regions

The Guardian - Uganda jails five over FGC

New Vision - Government warns local courts against early marriage cases

New Vision - 200 girls in Amudat flee FGC

The Observer - FGC persists as UNICEF intervenes

New Vision - Kapchorwa gets centre for FGC survivors

All Africa - Harmful practices against children, a call for collective responsibility

New Vision - The fight against FGC is everyone’s responsibility

The Africa Report – FGC practitioners surrender tools

FIGO - Surgery carried out on 55 FGC victims

FIGO - Ugandan tribes report 40% drop in female genital cutting cases

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