Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation

UNICEF 2021 Annual report to the U.S. Department of State

Two girls clap their hands at an event in Malicounda Bambara celebrating the abandonment of FGM by several nearby villages.


UNICEF is currently implementing programs contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal 5, target 5.3, the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2030, in 17 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Through gender transformative approaches, UNICEF’s programs that address FGM actively examine, question and change rigid social and gender norms and imbalances of power.  

Many of the innovations and adaptations introduced by UNICEF during the COVID-19 response to ensure program continuity, were replicated and scaled up in 2021, amplifying program results.  

  • Fourteen costed national action plans to eliminate FGM were launched in 2021, and FGM prevention and response interventions were integrated across sectors and national strategies such as gender equality, education, and health. At least half of the 14 countries also developed local action plans to advance national strategies for ending FGM. 

  • In 9,234 communities, adolescent girls were empowered as change agents in 2021, 2.5 times higher than in the previous year. UNICEF provided adolescent girls and boys opportunities to co-create social media campaigns advocating for the end of FGM. In 2021, UNICEF recorded 17.6 million social media engagements, a 55 percent increase compared to engagements in 2020. 

  • The number of people who pledged to end FGM increased from 2.8 million in 2018 to 3.4 million in 2021. Community-led protection systems were established in 3,813 communities following public declarations to monitor girls at risk of FGM. This marked a 46 percent increase in 2021 compared to 2020, and the highest number of community-led protection systems launched since 2018. The number of girls prevented from undergoing FGM rose from 16,251 in 2018 to 216,853 in 2021. 

The front page of the 2021 annual report on FGM.

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