Female genital mutilation (FGM) is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights that is rooted in social norms including harmful gender norms. In countries where it is prevalent, FGM contributes to bottlenecks that curtail realisation of full potential by girls and women. In settings where FGM is illegal, practising communities may adopt strategies such as cutting girls at very young ages, performing supposedly less severe cuts, or conducting FGM in secret, and thus underreport the occurrence of the practice due to fear of legal consequences. This may hamper tracking and/or measuring the effectiveness and/or impact of interventions and actions to end the practice.
Adopting methods from other related fields used to measure sensitive or hidden behaviours may provide an innovative approach to more accurately capturing new or recent cases of FGM, which are a powerful indicator of ongoing violations of human rights. Such data can support advocacy activities as well as strengthen the evaluation of legal frameworks and health systems approaches to address FGM. To this end, the FGM Data Hub developed and piloted a tool that involved the use of the Confidante Method to document new or recent cases of FGM.
The evidence generated from piloting the tool was shared with a team of experts (Annex 1) in measurement of sensitive or hidden behaviours during a half-day virtual convening to provide feedback on the application of the tool. The evidence and the tool were further reviewed by end-FGM programme implementers from The Girl Generation-Africa-led Movement to End FGM (TGG-ALM) and other partners across Kenya during a three-day workshop held in Nairobi in June 2023. The tool and this accompanying guide were finalised based on feedback obtained from those engagements.
Onyango, Francis Obare, Dennis Matanda, and Chi-Chi Undie. 2023. "Guidance document on the use of the Confidante tool to track new or recent cases of female genital mutilation." Nairobi: Population Council.
The FGM Data Hub: Data and Measurement Support to the Africa-Led Movement to End Female Genital Mutilation