A joint program between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that over 6,000 communities in Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea and Somalia have abandoned the practice of female genital mutilation/ cutting (FGM/C).
Nafissatou Diop, coordinator of the UNFPA-UNICEF program, stated, “We are working in 12 out of 17 priority African countries and have seen real results…In Ethiopia, the prevalence rate has fallen from 80 percent to 74 percent, in Kenya from 32 percent to 27 percent, and in Egypt from 97 percent to 91 percent.”
FGM is the partial or total removal of external genitalia. The practice both increases the risk of HIV transmission and increases infant and maternal mortality rates. In many cases, FGM decreases women’s sexual satisfaction. Approximately 3 million young women annually are forced to undergo FGM as a form of birth control and as initiation into womanhood. FGM is practiced as a rite of passage in 28 African countries.