Co-Author(s): ATIIGAH Godwin Agot
Published by: Social Sciences
Year published: 2022

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) as a form of gender-related violence continues to thrive within communities and across borders, with (under)reported prevalence among communities in the diaspora. Reports of FGM/C among communities in the diaspora speak to the socio-cultural and religious factors which promote its prevalence. Successful interventions offer alternatives such as rites of passage to the socio-cultural-religious prospects offered by FGM/C to practicing communities. This suggests the need for a critical approach to research methods that engage intimately with the worldview of communities practicing FGM/C while inferring implications for designing health-promotion interventions in specific contexts. This paper draws on the insider and outsider approach to positionality to assess the factors accounting for the prevalence of FGM/C in Pusiga (3.8% nationally and 27.8% in Pusiga) in the Upper East Region of Ghana while inferring lessons for designing health promotion interventions. Applying a phenomenological qualitative design guided by focus groups and interviews, we draw on the insider approach to present a contextually and culturally sensitive report of five survivors, five non-survivors, and ten religious leaders on factors that account for the prevalence of FGM/C. Next, we assume an outsider approach to infer implications based on participants’ perspectives for designing health promotion interventions to curb FGM/C. The findings suggest shifting from socio-cultural-religious factors to economic undertones underpinning FGM/C. Inter-generational differences also vary attitudes toward FGM/C. We recommend a systematic approach to health promotion that addresses FGM/C’s deep socio-cultural and economic, religious underpinnings of FGM/C in Pusiga. The insider–outsider continuum in feminist research provides a powerful approach to producing knowledge on contextual factors that account for FGM/C in particular settings.