Ending female genital mutilation in Senegal

News and Press Release
Originally published
© UNICEF Senegal

On World children’s day, Senegal kicked-off a nationwide public awareness campaign to end female genital mutilation and/or cutting in the country

DAKAR (Senegal), 26 November 2021 - The Government of Senegal, with the support of UNICEF, UNFPA and other partners, seized the celebration of World Children's Day to launch a public awareness campaign to accelerate efforts in the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the country.

Supported by an intensive media drive, the campaign aims to catalyze much-needed policy, social, institutional, community and family dialogue and change towards eliminating FGM in the country. A series of communication materials have been produced and will widely be disseminated across the country, using different channels and platforms including national and community medias, digital and social networking tools.

The campaign will also involve a wide range of stakeholders, including religious leaders, national and local authorities, social mobilizers and actors, families, communities, youth and children themselves.

"Numerous factors contribute to the prevalence of the practice. Yet in every society in which it occurs, FGM is a manifestation of entrenched gender inequality" says says Laetitia Bazzi, UNICEF Chief of Child Protection in Senegal.

"Campaigns like these are critical to creating an environment where young girls and their families feel supported. Because FGM is a cultural practice, parents may find it difficult to decide against having their daughters undergo FGM for fear that their families will be ostracized,” she explains.

FGM can lead to serious health complications and even death. Immediate risks include haemorrhage, shock, infection, urine retention and severe pain. Girls subjected to FGM are also at increased risk of becoming child brides and dropping out of school, threatening their ability to build a better future for themselves and their communities.

Recent estimates show that one in four women aged 15-49 years old have undergone female genital mutilation and/or cutting (FGM/C) in Senegal. The practice is widespread in the southern and northern parts of the country, especially in the regions of Kédougou (91,0 %), Sédhiou (75,6 %), Matam (73,3 %), Tambacounda (71,8 %), Ziguinchor (68,2%) and Kolda (63,6 %). The prevalence of child marriage is also among the highest in these regions.

Among children under 15, the prevalence is around 16 per cent nationally. Girls in Senegal are increasingly being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) at an early age, before the age of 10.

“Ending FGM is a matter of rights, a matter of health and safety, a matter of equality and education. Ending FGM is matter of dignity — giving every girl and woman a chance to make her own decisions and shape her own future,” adds Silvia Danailov, UNICEF Representative in Senegal.

Putting an end to FGM is a focus of UNICEF’s work in Senegal. Working with communities, families, government and partners, UNICEF, with the support of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), helps identify and address the social norms and structural factors that contribute to the persistence of this practice.

UNICEF also supports the development of policies and laws focusing on ending and outlawing FGM, and works to ensure their implementation and enforcement. UNICEF helps to provide girls at risk of FGM, as well as FGM survivors, with access to suitable care, while mobilizing communities to transform the social norms that uphold the practice.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Senegal, visit

For more information, please contact:

Lalaina F. Andriamasinoro,Advocacy & Communications, UNICEF Sénégal +221 77 569 19 28,