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Published On: Sun, Jan 1st, 2017

Assessment and mapping of FGM and circumcisers in Somaliland

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Efforts aimed at the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in the Somaliland communities where it is deeply rooted have extensively considered and addressed people’s perceptions on the issue, leaving those of circumcisers barely acknowledged. Although the practice is generally confined to the secret world of women, it does not mean that circumcisers cannot be influential. Indeed, circumcisers can play an important role in prevention.

In order to address this gap, and having as background an extensive ethnographic fieldwork, a transversal descriptive study was designed to explore Somaliland circumcisers’ knowledge and attitudes towards FGM/C. The study was conducted in Awdal, Maroodijeeh and Togdheer regions, which covered city towns, districts, villages, and rural locations. The methodology of data collection was exploratory approach that looked into what previous studies had overlooked. Key Informant Interview was employed as a tool of data collection.

The sampling strategy of the study was non-probability sampling specificically purposive sampling. Results show 82.8 percent of circumcisers are currently continuing to perform FGM/C,while 17.2 percent have stopped the exercise due to ;trainings and awareness they received bringing behavioural change, alternative income generation activities and attitudinal changes especially how they view FGM from religious perspective. On average there are five circumcisers per location, and the mean age is 52 years. About 47 percent of the circumcisers have encountered challenges such as parents disagreeing on whether to have their daughters circumcised or not. Some girls were able to run away for fear of the process, and also some have been injured by the knife during the process.

About 63.8 percent of the circumcisers prefer Sunna circumcision, while 14.2 percent prefer infibulations (pharonic) circumcision. The driving factors behind them practising the art was clear that 42% circumcisers practice FGM for financial reasons, 24% practice it because that is the only skill they know, while 21% practice to fulfil cultural beliefs, 8% practice because of religion and other related beliefs, and 3% circumcisers practice because the community demand it, while 1% practice it as a hobby.

The circumcisers’ opinion on FGM/C in Islam; 65% believe that FGM/C type 3(infibulations or pharonic) are forbidden or haram but Sunna is allowed, 26% believe all types of FGM are allowed as a religious Efforts aimed at the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in the communities where it is deeply rooted have extensively considered and addressed women’s perceptions on the issue, leaving those of men barely acknowledged.

Although the practice is generally confined to the secret world of women, it does not mean that men cannot be influential. Indeed, men can play an important role in prevention. Results show ethnic identity, more than religion, as the decisive shaping factor on how men conceive and value FGM/C. The greater support towards the practice is found among traditionally practicing groups. A substantial proportion of men intend to have it performed on their daughters, although reporting a low involvement in the decision-making process, with very few taking alone the final decision.continue.

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