UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation

UNFPA and UNICEF have jointly led the largest global programme to accelerate the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) since 2008. In close collaboration with governments, grassroots community organizations and other key stakeholders, the Joint Programme harnesses the complementary expertise of both UNFPA and UNICEF, as well as the latest social science research, to prevent female genital mutilation across the 17 countries where the programme is implemented.

The Female Genital Mutilation Joint Programme achievements at a glance*

  • Legal and policy frameworks: Fourteen of the 17 countries supported by the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme have legal and policy frameworks banning female genital mutilation. Following intensive capacity development initiatives, to date, there have been more than 1368 cases of legal enforcement and arrests. Public statements at all levels of government have announced that female genital mutilation is a human rights issue and must be stopped. Such statements provide the political backing required to strengthen community-wide efforts and initiatives to eliminate female genital mutilation.
  • Government ownership: As of 2021, 14 countries supported by the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint programme have a national coordination mechanism in place that systematically engages all actors at the national level. Twelve countries established a national budget line funding services and programmes to specifically address female genital mutilation.
  • Increased community-led engagement: As a result of community-led engagement through education, dialogue and consensus-building, more than 45 million individuals in 34,659 communities have made public declarations on the abandonment of female genital mutilation. In addition, 532,158 girls were prevented from undergoing the practice thanks to established community-based surveillance mechanisms.
  • Provision of appropriate and quality services: More than 6 million women and girls in the 17 countries supported by the Joint Programme have benefited from FGM-related protection and care services.
  • Advocacy and awareness outreach: Some 84.3 million people were reached through radio and TV programmes on female genital mutilation prevention. Moreover, 41.2 million people actively participated in education/sensitization/social mobilization sessions promoting the elimination of female genital mutilation.

The Joint Programme supports global-, regional-level, and national initiatives. It has successfully created awareness and galvanized a global movement on issues related to female genital mutilation by:

  • Organizing global- and regional-level advocacy events to sustain and reinforce the political commitment towards the elimination of female genital mutilation
  • Supporting the African Union Initiative on the Elimination of female genital mutilation (Saleema Initiative), which aims to put in place a regional accountability and peer review mechanism to hold member states accountable to their commitments
  • Advocating and providing the needed technical support for resolutions calling to end female genital mutilation by the UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council, and
  • Advocating for the elimination of female genital mutilation within intergovernmental political forums and spaces, including in the ICPD and Generation Equality forums.

The time to act is now

Over 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation. In 2023, an estimated 4.3 million girls are  at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation , and UNFPA estimates show COVID-19-related disruptions to programming could enable 2 million more cases of female genital mutilation to occur over the next decade unless concerted and accelerated action is taken.

Phase IV of UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM

The Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation has in the last 13 years been actively contributing to the accelerated elimination of the practice globally. Drawing on lessons learned from over a decade of programme implementation, the fourth phase of the Joint Programme, launched in 2022  has been developed to intensify efforts towards the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030. It is directly linked to the Sustainable Development Goal 5.3, which aims to end all harmful practices by 2030.

Phase IV of the Joint Programme prioritizes global movement building of allies working towards eliminating the practice of female genital mutilation as its strategic approach. It continues to focus on countries with highest rates of prevalence, with the aim of shifting social norms in affected communities while working with governments to put in place viable national response systems.

Join the effort

UNFPA and UNICEF call upon all stakeholders, including new donors and partners, to join hands with the Joint Programme to provide additional funding and support the global movement to realizing the shared vision of eliminating female genital mutilation by 2030.

Commitments to the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation will improve and scale up our work, which currently is supported by a range of generous donors, including the European Union (through Spotlight Inititive Africa Regional Programme) and the governments of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

For further information on the Joint Programme, please contact jpendfgm@unfpa.org.

* As of 2021

 Updated 23 January 2023

We use cookies and other identifiers to help improve your online experience. By using our website you agree to this. To learn more, including how to change your settings, see our cookie policy