Key Issues

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

What’s at stake?

Between 100 and 140 million women and girls around the world have experienced the procedure, including 92 million in Africa.”

FGM refers to a range of procedures involving the total or partial removal of female genital organs. FGM is used as a rite of passage into adulthood, signaling that a girl is ready to marry and thus her family can gain a good bride price (in the form of cattle, for example). The economic incentives of bride prices for poor families is one of the main reasons why FGM is practices on very young girls. In Tanzania, FGM occurs in majority of the cases at an early age on: 2010 data shows that 44% of cut women 14 – 19 had undergone FGM before the age of 1, compared to 35.6% of women in the same age group in 2004/5. Thus FGM continues to be serious problem, and approximately 3.5 million women and girls in Tanzania have undergone FGM or cutting.

In the areas where FGM is widespread, such as Manyara, Dodoma, Arusha, Singida and Mara, 1 in 2 women have undergone the procedure.

FGM prevalence according to region is:

  1. Manyara 71%
  2. Dodoma 64%
  3. Arusha 59%
  4. Singida 51%
  5. Mara 40%

FGM is linked to many severe consequences, some of which include:

  1. Short-term physical complications: (a) Pain, bleeding (b) shock (c) fever (d) sexually transmitted diseases (e) failure of the wound to heal (f) injury to adjacent tissues
  2. Long-term physical complications: (a) Difficulty in passing urine (b) urinary tract infection (c) pelvic infection disease (d) infection of the reproductive system (e) inability to have babies (f) infertility (g) difficulties in menstrual flow (h) calculus formation (i) problems in childbirth (j) HIV/AIDS (k) sexual complications and (l) painful sexual intercourse

What we’re doing

In the area of FGM, CDF approaches the subject with:

Community Engagement models: We engage the community itself, government and traditional leaders, religious leaders and other stakeholders to strengthen the partnerships in the fight against FGM, the custom behind it and the perception associated with the practice
Ex. In June 2015, CDF conducted a one day consultative meeting with religious and traditional leaders aiming to create interfaith forums to fight against child marriage and FGM in the Tarime district. The forum was composed of 25 leaders, members of the Police Gender Desk, social welfare officers and 3 media representatives

Capacity Development and Empowerment Training: With several trainings & workshops that address the build-up of skills for children, specifically girls, CDF works actively towards the empowerment of children. Trainings include business & entrepreneurial skills, nutritional education, health and sexual reproductive health and rights services, etc.
Ex. 1967 girls to date that ran away due to FGM  were rescued and receive support
Ex. Over 160 girl are advocates and leaders in their communities through the girls clubs and young women’s network.
Ex. More than 3,838 community members including traditional and faith leaders have been made aware of girls’ rights - particularly the harmful effects of FGM, child marriage and GBV. This increases community support, as well as actions to protect girls’ from harmful practices

Campaign Model: With campaigning we strategically raise awareness with the stakeholders in their own communities. Such campaign examples include:
Ex. End Violence Against Children 2014
Ex. House to House Campaign 2014 (Girls club and networks were provided with funds to support house to house campaigning on their activities & plans to end child marriage and FGM, as well as to raise awareness of the issues, reaching 1500+ girls)


Our Success

  1. More than 20,000+ girls have been saved from FGM
  2. 1,967 girls that have escaped from FGM and have sought refuge at the Masanga Centre and have been rescued from the harmful practice, receiving support by the Police Gender Desk
  3. Training on sexual reproductive health and legal services have increased the number of girls that now access SRH services at the hospitals. Over 1,628 girls and young women have reported increased knowledge of SRH issues, their rights, entitlements and services through participating in clubs and networks. 1,130 girls and young women have accessed contraceptives, as well as changing attitudes on gender based violence (GBV)
  4. CDF has aired several radio programs & TV shows regarding the subjects of FGM
  5. As a direct result of entrepreneurial trainings and awareness raising, young girls and women have involved themselves in alternative income generating activities, such as owning their own beauty salons, vegetable & poultry farms, tailor shops, etc. 187 Girls and young women have improved livelihoods and confidence in financial decision making. Over 160 girl are advocates and leaders in their communities through the girls clubs and young women’s network