Research on opportunities for investment on FGC abandonment in Africa

Orchid Project recently commissioned a study entitled “Research on opportunities for investment on FGC abandonment in Africa”, conducted by HERA. The purpose of the study was to answer the following question: Investment in which next country or ethnic group in Africa will achieve the greatest acceleration of abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC)?

This research started with a wide lens on work to address female genital cutting (FGC) across Africa.  Based upon interviews with Key Informants and desk-based research, HERA then narrowed the focus to look at 5 promising countries in particular.

The research suggests that there are 5 countries where there are programmatic opportunities to accelerate FGC abandonment – Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. Four approaches with different objectives were suggested:

  1. If a high drop in prevalence is aimed for, the ethnic groups in Kenya including the Masaai, Kuria, Kisii and Samburu should be considered.
  2. If the aim is to prevent a large number of girls from being cut, an investment in Nigeria may be worth considering, in particular because very few organisations have developed work in a sustainable way and therefore more support is required to promote a sustainable social norm based approach for addressing FGC in the country. Besides specific programmatic support, this approach would also require intensive training in the social norms based approach
  3. If the aim is to contribute to abandonment at country level, an investment in Tanzania may be of interest. In this approach there should also be a considerable investment in training existing organisations to work on changing social norms.
  4. Finally, the study team believes that investment in Burkina Faso and Somaliland may also lead to a further decline in prevalence however more research needs to be done to identify possible entry points and partners.

HERA identified organisations of opportunity – those doing promising work – beyond those geographically located in the above 5 focus countries. A number of ‘organisations of opportunity’ were identified working in Ethiopia, Senegal, Eritrea and Sudan.

HERA also looked at organisations not currently working on FGC, but whom might have an ability to do so, suggesting some evidence-based approaches to changing social norms that could incorporate work on FGC.


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