After UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein achieved great success providing program support to combat female genital mutilation (FGM) in Guinea, the same approach is now being implemented in Sudan. This is because the proportion of girls and women in the north-east African country who have been subjected to FGM is also very high at 87 percent.
FGM remains widespread in Sudan. The procedures, which are not medically necessary, cause pain, often result in infections, infertility and incontinence, lead to complications during sexual intercourse, increase the risk of HIV and repeatedly end in death.
Although the practice has been illegal since 2000, it still continues. The fear of social exclusion is often too great for parents to decide against having FGM performed on their daughters. In addition, a large proportion of children live in poverty and are therefore particularly vulnerable to a lack of protection and insufficient access to basic services.
How UNICEF helps
The complexity of the practice requires a comprehensive approach at multiple levels, spearheaded by programs to overcome social behavioral norms. This is the way to ensure the long-term fight against FGM. In collaboration with the organization Born Saleema, UNICEF is focusing on the following measures:
- Information and awareness campaigns in schools and the media
- Involvement of religious decision-makers, village elders and mayors
- Education and training of healthcare workers
- Education on children’s rights
- Training of criminal justice system workers to improve prosecution of FGM cases