Managing and Preventing Female Genital Cutting (FGC) Among the Somali Community in Kenya
Council research in Kenya worked to strengthen antenatal and delivery services in health facilities used by Somali women, among whom female genital cutting is almost universal; the project also includes a community component to encourage discussion and abandonment of FGC.
The design of this project was based on the results of a diagnostic study undertaken in 2004 to better understand the practice of female genital cutting among the Somali in North Eastern Province and in Nairobi. The diagnostic study found that the health system is ill-equipped to serve women who have been cut, in particular infibulated women who are pregnant and delivering. This project, conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, provided training for 145 health workers from North Eastern Province in managing FGC-related complications generally, and specifically during and immediately following pregnancy and delivery.
Because many Somalis in this community believe that Islam requires FGM/C, the project also conducted seminars with Somali and non-Somali Islamic scholars on the medical effects of circumcision and the religious basis for the practice. The scholars found that no verse of the Quran or deeds or sayings of the Prophet support FGM/C—although male circumcision is strongly supported. Islamic messages on maintaining the health of the body, and on keeping the body hygienic for “clean” worship, are in fact relevant to the discontinuation of the practice. Work with the scholars is continuing, combined with outreach to community groups to encourage discussion of FGM/C and its cultural underpinnings.
A religious oriented approach to addressing female genital mutilation/cutting among the Somali community of Wajir, Kenya (PDF)
Sheikh Abdi,Maryam; Askew,Ian
FRONTIERS Report (updated March 2009)
Publication date: 2009
Management of complications, pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period in the presence of FGM/C (PDF)
Kenya Ministry of Health
Publication date: 2007
Location: Kenya (North Eastern Province, Wajir and Mandera districts)
Duration: 6/2005 - 2/2008
Population Council researchers:
United Nations Children's Fund/Kenya