15.3 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

Type III (infibulation) is the most commonly practised form of female genital cutting (FGC) in Somalia. In more recent years, the UN has observed that there has been a shift towards other types of cutting, however.


FGC in Somalia is frequently performed on girls aged 5-9. This represents a shift in practice. Traditionally, FGC was performed in adolescence as initiation into womanhood.



Traditional practitioners carry out the majority of FGC procedures, although medicalisation of FGC in Somalia increasing.


Legal status

Legal, although the practice is prohibited under the Somali constitution. Anti-FGC law is pending adoption and there have been promising developments towards criminalisation in Somaliland and Puntland in the north.

National progress

  • 2012 – Constitution prohibiting FGC
  • 2014 – President signed a government policy outlawing FGC in Puntland region
  • 2014 – Inter-ministerial FGC taskforce established in Puntland
  • 2014 – Zero-tolerance fatwa released in Puntland
  • 2014 – Decree against medicalisation of FGC in place in Puntland
  • 2015 – Coordination taskforce and mechanism established in Mogadishu
  • 2015– FGC taskforce established in Somaliland and Puntland
  • 2016 – Draft zero tolerance bill in Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Somaliland and Puntland
  • 2016 – Puntland passed into law the Sexual Offences Act (includes FGC)

UN programme

It reports prevalence rates as stable (at 98%), when prevalence rates among different age cohorts are compared.

Phase II of the programme (2014-2017) saw 890 communities make declarations of FGC abandonment.


Political instability in the region makes it difficult to conduct co-ordinated NGO or governmental programmes on FGC due to a lack of institutions and infrastructure.

Human Development Index ranking

Not available.

Infant mortality rate

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

Source: 28 Too Many

Maternal mortality rate

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

Source: 28 Too Many

Trends in FGC prevalence

FGC prevalence in Somalia remains the highest in the world. Rather than complete abandonment, there has been a move away from FGC Type III. It is unknown whether this shift could lead to total abandonment of the practice.


Prevalence breakdown

By region

The central and southern regions of the country have the highest prevalence, at 99.2%. Qualitative data suggests that the practice is in sharp decline in urban areas, according to the most recent UN report.

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF and 28 Too Many

FGC in Somaliland

Officially the Republic of Somaliland, it is a self-declared state which is recognised internationally as autonomous from Somalia.

Read Somaliland country profile

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