Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a traditional practice that affects women and girls in several African countries. It is practiced in a variety of ways, classified by WHO into four broad types all found in Kenya. In some communities it is associated with passage into maturity; in others, it is considered a symbol of ethnic identity, a religious obligation, or a necessary prerequisite for marriage, either through symbolizing attainment of womanhood or as a means of preserving and demonstrating virginity. FGM is considered a harmful traditional practice because it may be associated with a variety of short- and long-term health complications: immediate and long-term physical complications; obstetric, gynecological, and sexual complications; psychosocial consequences; and potential complications with the fetus. This brief was produced by the FRONTIERS in Reproductive Health Programme of the Population Council with the support of USAID and GTZ Kenya. Topics include: How widespread is the practice in Kenya? What are communities’ reasons for continuing to practice FGM? Are medical practitioners involved in the practice? What can the MOH do to reduce the practice and its adverse effects?
Population Council and GTZ. 2006. "Female genital mutilation in Kenya: Evidence links health workers to FGM," policy brief. Nairobi: Population Council and GTZ.