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Last update: Feb 2011

UNICEF documents and publications

  • The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting in five African countries, 2010 [English]
    This Innocenti Insight publication examines the social dynamics of the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in five countries – Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Sudan – and seeks to inform policies and programmes aimed at ending the practice. The experiences from the five countries documented provide evidence that the abandonment of FGM/C is possible when programmes and policies address the complex social dynamics associated with the practice and challenge established gender relationships and existing assumptions and stereotypes. The publication concludes with reflections on the remaining challenges of FGM/C abandonment and offers recommendations for future research and programme interventions.


  • Long-term evaluation of the Tostan programme in Senegal: Kolda, Thiès and Fatick regions, 2008
    [English] [French]
    The report presents the results of an evaluation conducted to assess the long-term impact of Tostan programme. Tostan is a non-governmental organization set up in Senegal in 1991 to encourage social change based on capacity-building at the community level. The main objective of the evaluation was to assess the impact of the Tostan programme on the prevalence rate of female genital cutting among girls, their age at first marriage, and improvements to the health status of mothers and children. In its qualitative component, the evaluation aimed to examine Tostan’s establishment process in the villages, to understand how villages organized their participation in the public declarations, and to learn women’s opinions about the impact of the programme.


  • Coordinated strategy to abandon FGM/C in one generation, 2007
    [English] [French]
    This technical note describes a human rights-based approach to FGM/C programming and aims to provide guidance to programmers to bring about a large-scale abandonment of FGM/C in sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt and Sudan. This strategy analyses the practice of FGM/C from the perspective of a particular type of social convention described by T. Schelling and introduces an innovative approach to FGM/C programming that is intended to bring about lasting social change.


  • Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical exploration, 2005
    [Full text English] [Summary in French] [Summary in Arabic]
    The object of this study is to present estimates of prevalence levels of FGM/C across and within countries, as well as the circumstances surrounding the practice. The study presents a global assessment of FGM/C levels and examines differentials in prevalence according to socio-economic, demographic and other proximate variables, including type of FGM/C, practitioners and attitudes. It further highlights patterns that exist within the data, illustrates how much can be learned by disaggregating variables and suggests how these data can be used to strategically inform programmatic efforts.


  • ‘Changing a Harmful Social Convention: Female genital mutilation/cutting’, Innocenti Digest, 2008
    [English] [French] [Arabic] [Spanish] [Italian]
    This Innocenti Digest examines the prevalence of FGM/C and its social dynamics. It provides an explanation as to why the practice persists and of the elements necessary for its abandonment. It also takes stock of progress to date, identifies what works and what does not, and provides direction regarding the most successful strategies to promote the abandonment of FGM/C. Combining concrete field experience with tested academic theory, the Digest provides a practical tool to bring about positive change for girls and women.