19.25 million

Estimated prevalence among girls and women aged 15-49


2018 population growth rate


Estimated prevalence among girls and women aged 15-19


Type practised

The majority of female genital cutting (FGC) practised in Mali is Type I and II. Type III and IV are also practised.


Almost all girls in Mali (89%) underwent FGC before the age of five (MICS 2010).



Traditional practitioners perform FGC procedures in 96% of cases in Mali.


Legal status

Legal. There is no legal provision criminalising FGC in Mali, although the practice is prohibited in hospitals.

National progress

  • 1996 – National action committee to promote abandonment of harmful practices created
  • 1997 – Plan of action to end FGC by 2007
  • 2004 – Budget line to address FGC introduced
  • 2017 – National committee for monitoring the adoption process of the draft Gender Based Violence (GBV) bill; National communication strategy on GBV with a focus on FGC
  • 2017 – Law criminalising FGC was put forward to the Ministry for the Advancement of Women, Children and the Family. This draft legislation has yet to be voted on. It was due to be examined by parliament in 2018.

UN programme

The UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on FGC is active in the southern areas of Mali, where the practice is most prevalent. In Phase II of the programme (2014-2017), 1,657 communities made public declarations of abandonment and set up monitoring committees to ensure this new social norm was acted upon. It reports that practice and attitudes are changing very little, however. Based on MICS 2015, it reports that only 14% girls and women in Mali think that FGC must end.



In addition to the lack of national legislation banning FGC, there is also a lack of evidence that other national legislation has been used in any way to prosecute perpetrators and protect girls from FGC. 

Human Development Index ranking

182 in 2018 index, based on 2017 data.

Infant mortality rate

75 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015).

Source: 28 Too Many

Maternal mortality rate

587 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015).

Source: 28 Too Many

Trends in FGC prevalence

FGC prevalence trends are changing very little in Mali. The practice is nearly as prevalent among adolescent girls as it is in older age groups of women.


Prevalence breakdown

By region

FGC prevalence varies significantly by geographic area. The highest incidences are in the south and south-west regions of Kayes (94.7%), Koulikoro (94.3%) and Bamako (90.04%).

Source: UNICEF, based on MICS 2015, UNFPA-UNICEF

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