Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM/C among women aged 15-49 in Eritrea is 83.0%. 

82.2% of women aged 15-49 and 83.5% of men aged 15-59 believe FGM/C should be stopped.


The regions with the highest prevalence are in the central north: Semenawi Keih Bahri and Anseba.


58.6% of women aged 15-49 who have undergone FGM/C were cut before the age of five


‘Nicked, no flesh removed’ and ‘sewn closed’ are the most common types of FGM/C practised


80.3% of FGM/C cases are carried out by a ‘traditional circumciser’

Distribution of FGM/C across Eritrea

FGM/C in Eritrea is practised by both Christians and Muslims, although neither the DHS nor the National Statistics Office gives a breakdown of prevalence according to respondents’ religion.

It is practised in all regions of the country, and slightly more in rural areas (85% of women aged 15-49) than in urban areas (80%).  The regions with the highest prevalence are Semenawi Keih Bahri (95.4% of women aged 15-49) and Anseba (95.9%).  The region with the lowest prevalence is Debub (71.2%).  In Asmara, the capital city, prevalence is 73.6%.

Prevalence is inversely correlated to increasing levels of education and wealth.

Distribution of FGM/C across Eritrea

Click on the map to enlarge

Trends in FGM/C Prevalence in Eritrea

Trends in FGM/C Prevalence in Eritrea

Click on the graph to enlarge

Between 2002 and 2010, the overall prevalence of FGM/C fell from 88.7% to 83.0%.  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 the most recent data by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45-49 is 93.1%, while for the youngest age group this has fallen to 68.8%.  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 prevalences among younger women.

FGM/C Legislation in Eritrea

In March 2007, the Eritrean Government passed legislation that specifically prohibits the practice of FGM/C (Proclamation No.158/2007: ‘A Proclamation to Abolish Female Circumcision’).  It is not possible to obtain specific details on any prosecutions made in Eritrea to date.

Development Indicators

Population Growth

5,437,714 (as at 16 May 2017), with a 0.81% growth rate (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality

34 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)

Maternal Mortality

501 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)

HDI Rank

179 of of 189 countries (2018)