Sudan: An in-depth analysis of the social dynamics of abandonment of FGM/C

Published: 2009
Author: Samira Ahmed, S. Al Hebshi and B. V. Nylund for UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre

An Innocenti Working Paper Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices.This paper examines the experience of Sudan by analysing the factors that promote and support the abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and other harmful social
practices. Despite the fact that FGM/C is still widely practiced in all regions of northern Sudan, women’s intention to circumcise their daughters has decreased significantly during the last 16 years. Attitudes are changing and today, actors are mobilizing across the country to end the practice. This paper examines these changes. It analyses programmes that support ending FGM/C in Sudan and
highlights the key factors that promote collective abandonment of the practice, including the roles of community dialogue, human rights deliberation, community-led activities, and the powerful force of local rewards and punishment.