41.7 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

Two types of female genital cuttin are practised – ‘sunna’ equating to Type I or Type II of FGC and  ‘pharaonic’ or ‘infibulation, equating to Type III FGC. 

77% of women between 15-49 years who have undergone FGC,  have been infibulated, 16.3% have had flesh removed, and 2.2% have been nicked.

 While research has shown that of women aged 15-49 who have been cut, 79.6% in the richest quintile have been infibulated, compared to 62% in the poorest wealth quintile. However, Sudanese experts have not been able to identify a clear association between levels of wealth and types of FGC. Infibulation is also slightly less prevalent in the 15-19 age group, and among women with no formal education. 

28 Too Many 


85% of women and girls aged 15-49 undergo FGC before the age of 15. 

Girls between the ages of 4 and 10 are at the highest risk of being cut. 

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF, 28 Too Many


Medicalisation of FGC in Sudan is a significant problem. More than three quarters of cases are carried out by health professionals.



Reinfibulation is the process of re-sewing the genitals following childbirth. It could be done repeatedly along the lifetime of a married woman. Although its prevalence is lower than initial FGC, it is performed on 23.9% of ever-married women aged 15-49 who have given birth. 

The decision to undergo reinfibulation is often made for them by mothers, older female relatives or midwives. The procedure is carried out between 2 hours and 40 days after the baby is born. Reinfibulation is a serious challenge to maternal health and wellbeing.

Source: 28 Too Many

Legal status

Illegal: Sudan criminalised FGC at a national level in 2020 following the approval of an amendment to Article 141 of the Criminal Act, making FGC a crime and punishable offence.


National progress

  • 2001 – National strategy to abolish FGC in Sudan
  • 2008 – State-level laws on FGC introduced in South Kordofan region
  • 2008 – Women’s Empowerment Policy
  • 2009 –2010 – State-level laws on FGC in Gedaref and Red Sea
  • 2013 – State-level laws on FGC in South Darfur
  • 2014 – Government budget for work on FGC created
  • 2014 –  National taskforce for abandonment of FGC and child marriage
  • 2016 – Adolescent health strategy with a focus on sexual reproductive health (2017-2022)
  • 2016 – Amendment to the federal Criminal Act (1991) to criminalise all forms of FGC under article 141. Pending parliamentary endorsement.
  • 2018 – State-level laws on FGC in Northern State
  • 2018 – National FGC strategy – the official framework for FGC abandonment efforts is in the process of being upgraded for the period 2019-2030  
  • 2020 – The transitional government criminalised female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). An amendment to the Criminal Law Article 141 was endorsed by both the Sovereign and Ministerial Councils on 22 April 2020. 

UN programme

The UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on FGC is active in Sudan. Phase II of the programme (2014-2017) saw 329 communities make public declarations of FGC abandonment.

There is little evidence that attitudes towards FGC are changing, according to the UN. Their programme evaluation reports that just over half of girls and women in Sudan aged 15-49 support the end of FGC.



Implementation of laws against FGC is weak. An agreement exists between religious and traditional leaders in each state to allow sunna cuts – Type I FGC. There seem to be no reported cases of arrests or prosecutions in Gedaref, South Darfur, South Kordofan and Red Sea, the four states that have attempted to criminalise FGC. 

Source: 28 Too Many


Over 96% of women aged 14-29 know about FGC. Of these, 40.9% believe it should continue, while 52.8% want it to be abandoned. 

Abandonment is more favoured in urban areas, where about 66% of women believe it should be stopped, compared to about 45.5% living in rural areas. Higher educated women and wealthy women are considerably more likely to favour abandoning FGC, than those without formal education. Younger women are less likely to intend to cut their daughters, along with richer women, or those who are highly educated. 

Men are often involved and influential in the decision-making process around FGC, although older and younger men have contradictory views. Men feel conflicted caused by the desire to protect girls and women, between the belief that FGC curbs sexual desire, and understanding the health risks and trauma involved.  

Some communities are shifting to what are perceived as ‘less severe forms’ of FGC – although all forms of cutting can have severe psychological and physical impacts

Human Development Index ranking

168 in 2018 index

Infant mortality rate

43.7 deaths per 1,000 live births

Maternal mortality rate

311 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)

Trends in FGC prevalence

The practice of FGC in Sudan is changing slowly. 82% of girls aged 15-19 have undergone FGC compared to 92% of women aged 45-49, according to the UN.


Prevalence breakdown

By region

Prevalence rates are high across all regions of Sudan.

States in the north-west have the highest prevalence of FGC, with North Kordofan being the highest at 97.7%. Central Darfur has the lowest prevalence with 45.4%. In only 3 of the 18 states, the prevalence is below 70%.  In majority of the states, more than 85% of women have undergone FGC. 

Women in rural areas are more likely to undergo FGC, at 87.2%, as compared to women in urban areas at 85.5%. 

FGC is least prevalent among women aged 14-59 with no education, at 76.8%. 

Among women who have heard of FGC, aged 15-49, 52.8% believe it should be discontinued. 

While prevalence among the older age group (41-40 years) is 91.8%, for the youngest age group has 81.7% prevalence. There is a trend towards lower prevalence among younger women. 

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF, 28 Too Many

This page was last updated in December 2019. 

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