16 September 2022

Female Genital Mutilation in Central African Republic: New Report Shows Decreasing Trends but Highlights Ongoing Challenges

Blog by Savannah Grantham for the FGM/C Research Initiative

In the Central African Republic (‘CAR’), female genital mutilation/cutting (‘FGM/C’) is still a concern. According to a report by Orchid Project, 21.6% of women in the CAR between the ages of 15 and 49 are affected by FGM/C. The most commonly practised type is a cut that removes a small amount of flesh.

The greatest number of cases are found in central regions such as Nana Grebizi, Kemo and Ouaka (60.6%) and in Haute-Kotto, Bamingui-Bangoran and Vakaga (65.4%). Notably, the prevalence is much higher in rural areas (27.5%) than in urban areas (11.9%).

Between 2010 and 2018–19, the overall prevalence for women aged 15–49 fell from 24.2% to 21.6%. Due to the large age-range of women included, however, the overall prevalence alone may not fully reflect the progress that has been made in recent years. Breaking down by age group the most recent data (which is from 2018–19) shows that the prevalence for women aged 45–49 is 24.8%, while for the youngest age-group this has fallen to 17.3%. Despite the fact that a small proportion of women may be cut after the age of 15, the data demonstrates a clear trend towards lower prevalence among younger women.

Despite existing legislation prohibiting FGM/C, there are still difficulties with enforcement of the law, which are made worse by a lack of resources and families taking their children abroad to undergo FGM/C. However, medicalised FGM/C is not widespread in the CAR, offering a glimmer of hope.

The CAR's ongoing conflict and resource hurdles pose significant barriers to combating FGM/C effectively. Despite efforts to protect women and girls, challenges persist, especially in regions like Damara and Bogangolo. There is a pressing need for sustained action. Initiatives must extend beyond legislation to encompass comprehensive awareness campaigns, community engagement and support services for affected individuals.

To gain additional understanding and read the authors’ suggestions, the complete report can be viewed [here]. Together, let’s spread the word about FGM/C and safeguard women and girls in the CAR and elsewhere.