Female genital mutilation

The West and Central Africa region is home to two of the three countries in the world with the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM). 17 out of the 27 African countries where FGM is prevalent can also be found in the region.

With support from several development partners, UNFPA currently works alongside UNICEF to support eight countries in West and Central Africa to accelerate the elimination of female genital mutilation and cutting through the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/C: Accelerating Change. This is the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM and focuses on protecting women and girls from female genital mutilation using a human rights-based and culturally sensitive approach. The Joint Programme also supports health and protective services for those women and girls who have been already been affected by FGM.

For the latest FGM data (prevalence, age at FGM, type, etc.) and projections please visit the UNFPA Female Genital Mutilation Dashboard at http://dashboard.unfpaopendata.org/fgm/. The dashboard is an animated and interactive data platform containing the latest FGM data generated from the latest household surveys (DHS and MICS).

But despite these bleak facts, there is one that gives the region great hope - its youthful population. If these young people can be helped to become healthy and educated, while at the same time bringing down the birth rate, we can harness what is known as the Demographic Dividend - where a young workforce with fewer dependents can power the domestic economy.

UNFPA works to eliminate female genital mutilation to ensure that all girls can realize their dreams, be safe, and live happy and healthy lives. Our aim is to let them be girls, not young brides or young mothers.

The West and Central Africa region is home to two of the three countries in the world with the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM). 17 out of the 27 African countries where FGM is prevalent can also be found in the region.

With support from several development partners, UNFPA currently works alongside UNICEF to support eight countries in West and Central Africa to accelerate the elimination of female genital mutilation and cutting. 

UNFPA works to eliminate female genital mutilation to ensure that all girls can realize their dreams, be safe, and live happy and healthy lives. Our aim is to let them be girls, not young brides or young mothers.