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

UNFPA and UNICEF jointly lead the largest global programme to accelerate the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) since 2008. The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme harnesses the complementary expertise of the two agencies, with governments and often in close collaboration with grass-roots community organizations and other key stakeholders, backed by the latest social science research.

The Female Genital Mutilation Joint Programme achievements at a glance

  • Legal and policy frameworks: Fourteen out of the 17 countries supported by the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme have legal and policy frameworks banning FGM. Following intensive capacity development initiatives, to date, there have been more than 1368  cases of legal enforcement and arrests. Public statements at all levels have announced that FGM is a human right issue and must be stopped. Such statements provide the political backing required to strengthen the community-wide efforts and initiatives. 
  • Government ownership: As of 2020, 14 countries supported by the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint programme have a national coordination mechanism in place to systematically engage all actors at the national level. Twelve countries established a national budget line funding services and programmes to specifically address FGM.
  • Increased community-led engagement: As a result of community-led engagement through education, dialogue and consensus-building, more than 42.5 million individuals in 30,182 communities have made public declarations on the abandonment of FGM. In addition, 361,808 girls were prevented from undergoing the practice thanks to established community-based surveillance mechanisms.
  • Provision of appropriate and quality services: More than 5.5 million girls and women in the 17 countries supported by the Joint Programme have benefited from FGM-related protection and care services.
  • Advocacy and awareness outreach: Some 69.6 million people were reached through radio and TV programmes on FGM prevention. Moreover, 35.8 million people actively participated in education/sensitization/social mobilization sessions promoting the elimination of FGM.

The Joint Programme supports global- and regional-level initiatives and it has succeeded in creating awareness and galvanizing a global movement on issues related to female genital mutilation and giving prominence to the FGM issue in a number of international, regional and national political processes, including through:

  • Organizing global- and regional-level advocacy events to sustain and reinforce the political commitment towards the elimination of FGM 
  • Supporting the African Union Initiative on the Elimination of FGM (Saleema Initiative). As part of this continental initiative, support 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 the resolutions calling to end female genital mutilation by the UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council, and
  • Advocating for the elimination of FGM within intergovernmental political forums and spaces, including in the ICPD and Generation Equality fora.

The time to act is now

Over 200 million girls and women alive today have experienced FGM. In 2021, an estimated 4.2 million girls are at risk of being cut. In 25 countries where FGM is routinely practiced and data are available, an estimated 68 million girls will be cut between 2015 and 2030 unless concerted and accelerated action is taken. Due to COVID-19 related programme disruptions, UNFPA estimated that 2 million more cases of FGM that could have otherwise been averted will occur over the next decade.

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

Starting in 2018, UNFPA and UNICEF are continuing their joint effort, integrating complementary interventions even more systematically under a new phase of the Joint Programme. The joint action builds on valuable lessons learned and is directly linked to the Sustainable Development Goal 5.3, which aims to end all harmful practices by 2030. The focus continues to be on countries with highest FGM prevalence, with the aim of shifting social norms in affected communities while working with governments to put in place viable national response systems.

The Joint Programme on the Elimination of  Female Genital Mutilation  has in the last 13 years been actively contributing to the accelerated elimination of FGM globally. Drawing on best practices and lessons learned from over a decade of programme implementation, the fourth phase of the Joint Programme has been developed to intensify efforts towards the elimination of FGM by 2030.

The Phase IV of the Joint Programme prioritizes global movement building of allies working towards eliminating the practice of FGM as its strategic approach.

Join the effort

UNFPA and UNICEF call upon all stakeholder, including new donors and partners, to join hands with the Joint Programme to provide additional funding and support the global movement to realizing the joint vision of eliminating FGM 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 Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. .

For further information on the Joint Programme, please contact Mireille Tushiminina


The figures reported are for 2020.


 Updated 18 November 2021.

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