Published by: Open Journal of Social Sciences
Year published: 2019

Female genital mutilation is a deeply rooted tradition in many countries, including in some Tanzanian communities despite the various advocacy and legal interventions to stop it. This study examines community awareness and prevalence of female genital mutilation in selected villages of Ikungi District using the behavioural change perspective. The specific objectives of the study were 1) to analyse the levels of awareness on the existence of FGM, and 2) to examine prevalence of FGM in the study area. Data were collected from 150 adolescent school girls and 150 parents/caregivers school teachers, local government officials, traditional birth attendants and religious leaders using questionnaire survey, semi-structured interviews and documentary review. Data analysis techniques included descriptive statistics, chi-square test, independent samples t-test and qualitative content analysis. The study findings revealed that community awareness on female genital mutilation was generally high (98%) among both adults and school girls. Female genital mutilation was still being practiced secretly in the area (specifically on girl dodders), for spiritual, sociological and hygienic reasons. Prevalence rate of female genital mutilation among young girls was estimated at 12% although could be higher in more remote rural villages. It is recommended that the government and other actors should use the available community radio stations to disseminate information to change current cultural notions and practices favoring female genital mutilation in the district. The voice of religious leaders should also be enhanced and supported to strengthen peer group discussions at church and mosque levels because female genital mutilation was not reported to be a religious requirement.