In Senegal, FGM is a religious duty closely associated to social standing and also observed as a way of preserving a girls’ virginity.

Percentage of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years who have undergone FGM

  • 25%

Political and legal context

  • In January 1999, a law was passed in Senegal banning FGM. The law modifies the Penal Code to make the practice a criminal act, punishable by a sentence of one to five years in prison.
  • The Ministry of Family Affairs produced and adopted an Action Plan (2000-2005) according to which FGM was to be eradicated by 2015. The main objectives were to improve networking and coordination among actors involved in efforts to combat the practice, explaining the legal framework to them and integrating the issue into formal and non-formal education.

The Senegalese Government has ratified:

  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  • Maputo Protocol (to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights) on the Rights of Women in Africa.

Key actors

Various national and international NGOs are involved in combatting FGM in Senegal:

  • The international organisation Tostan’s ‘Village Empowerment Programme’ is working to end FGM with the help of broad rural education programmes. Tostan is tackling FGM as both a health issue and a human rights issue. It has led to public declarations condemning FGM, which is deemed to be an expression of intended social change.
  • As of 1 January 2011, GIZ has been implementing the project ‘Ending Female Genital Mutilation’ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • The youth are an influential force using social media to promote anti-FGM messaging, such as “Together we will end the cutting of young girls!” AfriYAN Girl, the Senegalese chapter of the African Youth and Adolescents Network on Population and Development, is an example of an organisation with youth influence.
  • Since 2008, the UNICEF-UNFPA Joint Programme has been supporting a network of NGOs working to end FGM.

Since the adoption of the Plan for National Action for the Abandonment of the Practice of Sexual Mutilation, the Senegalese Government has engaged 2,000 organisations (NGOs and CBOs), including:

  • The International Committee on Traditional Practices through Comité Sénégalais sur les Pratiques Traditionelles
  • The Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa
  • The Environmental Development Action in the Third World

Our work in Senegal:

Opportunities for the Girl Generation relate to complimenting and contributing to existing programmes that present a strong platform through which social change communications can be strengthened. We see an opportunity to collaborate with organisations on the ground with robust grassroots networks to enable movement building and strengthen their social change communication skills amongst anti-FGM activists and champions for the cause/ ambassadors; to end FGM in a generation. Implementation work in Senegal commenced in 2016, with an initial partnership engagement exercise. Social Change Communication training and programme delivery aspects of our work will continue in 2017.     

Meet the Senegal team