59.55 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 most widely practised form of female genital cutting (FGC) in Tanzania is Type IIType III is confined to the eastern part of the country in areas bordering Sudan.


Girls generally undergo FGC as infants under 5, or past the age of 13.

Source: 28 Too Many


Almost all FGC in Tanzania is carried out by traditional practitioners.

Source: 28 Too Many

Legal status

Illegal since 1998. The law does not explicitly cover medical practitioners and does not cover those above 18 years who may be pressured into being cut.

National progress

  • 1998 – Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act prohibits FGC on girls under 18
  • 2016 – East African Community (EAC) Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act coordinating efforts to eradicate FGC between Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda
  • 2017 – National Plan of Action to End Violence against Women and Children 2017–2022

The Tanzanian FGC law has gaps: it lacks clear definitions of FGC practices, does not criminalise failure to report or explicitly cover medical practitioners. Legislative protection for girls and women at risk of FGC could be strengthened if the 2016 regional EAC Act were fully enacted in Tanzania.


Enforcement of anti-FGC laws is variable. A lack of police resources and social pressures on victims to withdraw cases often mean they do not proceed through the Tanzanian courts. Enforcement is often weakest in rural areas, where prevalence rates are highest. It is reported that FGC often takes place in secret to avoid detection.

Human Development Index ranking

154 in 2018 index, based on 2017 data.

Infant mortality rate

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

Source: 28 Too Many

Maternal mortality rate

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

Source: 28 Too Many

Trends in FGC prevalence

The overall prevalence of FGC among women and girls aged 15-49 fell from 14.6% in 2010 to 10% in 2016. When broken down by age group, there is an even stronger downward trend. Prevalence for women aged 45-49 is 18.7%. For girls aged 15-19, this has fallen to 4.7%.

Source: DHS 2015-2016

Prevalence breakdown

By region

The regions of Tanzania with the highest FGC prevalence rates are located in the centre and north:  Manyara (57.7% of women aged 15-49), Dodoma (46.7%), Arusha (41%), Mara (32%) and Singida (30.9%).  Elsewhere, regional prevalence is below 15%.

By ethnicity and religion:

Of the regions that practise FGC, those that are predominantly Christian have the highest prevalence rates.

Source: UNICEF, based on DHS 2015-2016, DHS 2010, via Population Reference Bureau 2014