UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation

Accelerating the elimination of an extreme form of violence against girls.

Girls in Narok town, Kenya.
Georgina Goodwill

Everywhere it is practiced, female genital mutilation (FGM) is an expression of entrenched gender inequality. Girls subjected to FGM are subjected to a systematic form of violence. Survivors often require life-saving care – urgent treatment to staunch haemorrhage, antibiotics to quell infections, surgery to address urinary backup or emergency obstetric care for complicated deliveries.

FGM persists for various reasons, including cultural and economic factors that make it difficult for girls, women and communities to abandon the practice. But it cannot forever withstand the voices of survivors mobilizing to change beliefs. The aim of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme is to accelerate the inevitable demise of this harmful practice.

Bilen Yusuf, 12, poses for a photograph
Bilen Yusuf, 12, poses for a photograph in her home in Gursum Woreda, Ethiopia. When she was 11, Bilen asked her mother to arrange for her to undergo FGM because she did not want to be different from her peers.

UNICEF's response

UNICEF, in partnership with UNFPA, works to tackle female genital mutilation through interventions in 17 countries: Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Yemen.

The Joint Programme is generously supported by the Governments of Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union. The Joint Programme works with communities to transform social norms from within, while partnering with Governments to promote laws banning the practice and to ensure that girls have access to quality services for child protection and sexual and reproductive health.

Over the years, this partnership has seen significant achievements:

  • More than 3.3 million girls and women in 16 countries have benefited from FGM-related prevention, protection and care services
  • Over 24 million individuals in nearly 9,000 communities have made public declarations to abandon FGM
  • 13 countries have established legal and policy frameworks for banning FGM
  • More than 900 cases of legal enforcement have been documented
  • 13 countries have established national budget lines funding services and programmes to address FGM
  • All 17 Joint Programme countries now use efficient information management systems to enhance data analysis and decision-making pertaining to FGM
Best friends Pauline, 13, and Maurine, 12
Georgina Goodwin
Best friends Pauline, 13, and Maurine, 12, are students at the Olosioyoi Primary School in Olepolos, Kenya, where they learn the negative effects FGM has on girls and the development of their community.

Last modified March 2020


The ACT Framework: Towards a new M&E model for measuring social norms change around female genital mutilation

The ACT Framework measures and tracks changes in social norms in relation to female genital mutilation. It includes a menu of tested mixed-method tools and indicators that is accessible and practical for programme planners and is adaptable to the local context.

Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation Annual Report 2018

This report summarizes the achievements of the first year of phase III of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change.

Evaluation of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change

Independent evaluation of the Joint Programme phase I and II (2008–2017).

Evaluation Summary of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change (English, French, Spanish, Arabic)

Summary brief of the independent evaluation of the Joint Programme phase I and II (2008–2017).

How to Transform a Social Norm

Part one of this three-part reflection addresses the challenges and strategies employed by the Joint Programme through a social norms lens.

Putting It All Together: A Case Study from Nigeria

Part two of this three-part reflection is a case study of the Joint Programme in Nigeria, a country where 10 million girls will be at risk of FGM by 2030.

Transformation in Action: Tales from Phase II:

Part three of this three-part reflection looks at programme strategies to eliminate FGM.

Joint Programme to Eliminate FGM Performance Analysis for Phase II, 2014–2017

This report demonstrates the positive difference the Joint Programme has made in galvanizing support for the elimination of FGM across its 17 implementation countries.

Ending Female Genital Mutilation – An Investment in the Future

This investment case shows the action required to ensure an additional 68 million girls are not subjected to FGM by 2030.