According to UNICEF, the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Burkina Faso is 76%. The majority of girls and women (90%) want the practice to end. Terre des Femmes highlights the following percentages: north 88%, centre-north 87%, Plateau Central 88%, centre-east 90%, Hauts-Bassins 82%, Cascades 82%, Sahel 78%, east 70%, Boucle du Mouhoun 70%, centre-west 55%, centre-south 68%, south-west 79%.
Terre des Femmes sheds light on the fact that more than half of girls (55%) are cut before the age of 4 and almost all FGM/C is performed by traditional practitioners. Despite Burkina Faso's very active efforts towards FGM/C eradication, this continues to happen. The government has fought this practice over 20 years. Nevertheless, FGM/C prevails in rural areas (78%), it is less likely to be practised in cities (69%) and is more widely practiced among the Muslim population (81%) than among the Christian one (60%). In addition, daughters of women with little or no education are more often victims of FGM/C.
The type of FGM/C practised in Burkina Faso is most often excision or infibulation. Terres des Femmes names different justifications for the continuation of FGM/C. Some believe a girl will suffer social exclusion if she is not cut, some believe that FGM/C cleanses the body and the spirit of girls, some think that without being cut a woman has a lower chance to marry, some are convinced that only FGM ensures a girl's virginity.
Burkina Faso banned FGM/C in 1996; UNICEF notes that it is not only a punishable offence to practise FGM/C, but also to know that someone has performed FGM/C and not report it. Burkina Faso acceded to the ICESCR in 1999, to CEDAW in 1987 and ratified the CRC in 1990 and the Banjul Charter in 1984.
FGM/C Country of Origin Expert for Burkina Faso
Margaret Nyarango is a social and medical anthropologist interested in researching on contemporary sociocultural and economic issues affecting women in sub-Saharan African societies. She holds an MSc from the University of Oxford and a PhD from Massey University. In her doctoral thesis "Fluid Identities: Contextualising Genital Reconstructive Surgery After Female Circumcision In Burkina Faso" Margaret explored the context and impact of genital reconstructive surgery after FGM/C in Burkina Faso. She has written about and given conference presentations on the practice of FGM/C in Burkina Faso.
Anti-FGM/C Organisations in Burkina Faso
Voix de Femmes, Une tribune pour la femme burkinabée (Voices of Women, a forum for the Burkinabe woman)
Email : voixdefemmesyahoo [dot] fr
Tel.: + 226 50 50 80 64; + 226 50 40 21 66
Tel.: + 226 50 38 47 08; + 226 70 26 26 07
Voix des Femmes fights violence against women, promotes women's rights and educates women in Burkina Faso.