Evidence Survey

In June 2021 the Population Council published a review of evidence in terms of which interventions work best to prevent FGM. This is a key document for activists and we hope that it will continue to inform and assist those on the front lines to make their work even more impactful, while acknowledging that every context is different – and that local expertise is paramount.

After reading the short text below (if you’re a frontline partner), we’d love you to take 1-2 minutes to complete this survey! Please also let us know about how you’re tracking your impact at the moment. If you think you need to do more on this, our very simple tracking tool may be a useful place to start.


Health education and community dialogues with parents and religious leaders can change attitudes about FGM: an important step in the continuum of change towards abandonment of FGM. (However, less is known about how sustainable this change is over the long term). 

Media and social marketing efforts are effective in changing social norms and attitudes towards abandoning FGM, and, in some cases, reducing FGM. Once again, there is a gap in terms of whether this attitudinal change translates into actually changing your behaviour and breaking the cycle of FGM. 

Educating mothers can reduce the numbers of girls undergoing FGM. The higher the level of formal education of a mother, the less likely her daughter is to undergo FGM. It’s widely understood that education of both mother and girl will reduce FGM. 

Legislation accompanied by political will, in combination with additional interventions such as sensitisation and locally appropriate enforcement mechanisms may help in reducing FGM.

Creating FGM-free communities via public declarations, particularly when accompanied by post-declaration follow up, may help change attitudes and potentially reduce FGM  Public statements of opposition to FGM by religious leaders may help change attitudes towards abandoning FGM (but need more evidence as we do not know if attitudinal change translates into behavioural change, even though public declarations are widely used). 

Health-care provider training may help improve capacity for prevention and treatment of FGM. Further information is needed on the type of training and the best ways to address the gaps 

Some activities do not currently have evidence to support them: Legislation may take a long time to end FGM and criminalisation may drive the practice underground. Community Efforts to convert and/or provide traditional practitioners with alternative sources of income have not been effective in eliminating FGM. Finally, individual alternative rites of passage (ARPs) with a focus on the public ceremonial passage of girls is not effective in reducing or eliminating FGM, (when carried out as a standalone intervention).