HIRDA Presents FGM Report

‘If you are a girl living in Somalia today, there is 78 to 97 percent chance you’ll be circumcised.’’ This is one of the main findings from HIRDA's research on the current practice of FGM in Somalia, that was presented at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 20, 2014. The report prompted great interest from not only the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also from other interested parties - notably TNO and Oxfam Novib - who were also present at the presentation. 

More than ten million girls have undergone circumcision, majority of whom are in countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the harmful tradition is performed on thousands of young girls on a daily basis. FGM was outlawed in Somalia with the passing of a new constitution in 2012. However, the lack of a formal functional authority by the administration bedevils the operationalization of the law. 

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World Citizens Panel
To gather data on the current state (eradication) of FGM practices in Somalia, HIRDA collaborated with Oxfam Novib in a large impact-evaluation study. Since 2012, Oxfam has been working on a tool to evaluate the impact of their projects worldwide. The evaluation tool is called ‘World Citizens Panel’. It consists of an extensive survey that measures in different terms, the quality of life of the interviewed person. 

In order to gather data on possibilities for ending FGM, HIRDA designed a survey and asked partner organisations of Oxfam Novib and its own partners in Somalia who participated in the WCP project, to conduct the FGM survey as well. Partners that agreed to conduct the FGM survey, automatically get the FGM questions after they completed the regular WCP survey in the application. 

13 partner organisations and 3081 people
Besides the HIRDA's local offices in Somalia, thirteen partner organisations from Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia, have interviewed a total number of 3081 people on their view and experience regarding the practice of FGM. The participating partner organisations include Somali civil society and development organisations like ADO, AGAD, CED, Dial Africa, GECPD, Hardo, Hijra, Karaama, Nagaad, RMSN, Tass, WASDA and WAVA. The questionnaire has been designed by skilled project officers of HIRDA Amsterdam and HIRDA Somalia together. The questionnaires were translated from English into Somali to make sure people fully understood the questions.

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Snippets of the research findings

‘If you are a girl in Somalia, there is 78 to 97 percent chance you will be circumcised. If it happens, it happens between the fifth and tenth year of one’s life, by a female using a razor blade. The most popular method at the moment is the so-called Sunah, that entails a small cut in the clitoris, which is sewed up with two stitches. Strangely as this may sound, we see a small silver lining, because grown up women tend to be circumcised much more severe. About 37 percent of the interviewees state they are against FGM.'

Later this summer HIRDA will present the final outcomes of the research! Stay tuned!

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