The Somali ethnic community, in Kenya as well in Somalia, Djibouti, and Ethiopia, has practiced genital cutting for centuries and the practice appears to have remained largely unchanged. The community practices the severest form of FGM/C, type III or infibulation. The Population Council’s FRONTIERS program, with support from USAID/Kenya, carried out two studies to better understand the practice of FGM/C among the Somalis in North Eastern Province so as to inform the design and implementation of interventions that would encourage abandonment of the practice. Both studies collected data through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with community and religious leaders, and with recently married and unmarried men and women. The first study also interviewed health-care providers. As described in this report, FRONTIERS has developed a religious-oriented approach to engage with and educate the community about the harms of FGM/C to encourage them to question why the practice is sustained. This strategy is meant to generate discussion with respect to the correct position of Islam on FGM/C and hopefully build consensus among religious scholars so they can become community educators in encouraging abandonment of the practice.
Sheikh Abdi, Maryam and Ian Askew. 2009. "A religious oriented approach to addressing female genital mutilation/cutting among the Somali community of Wajir, Kenya," FRONTIERS Report. Washington, DC: Population Council.
Frontiers in Reproductive Health; A Research Agenda to End Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in a Generation
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