Burkina Faso


Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15–49 is 75.8%.  

More than 85% of the population is against its continuation.

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The regions with the highest prevalence lie in the south-west and in a band across the country from the centre-east towards the north


90.8% of women aged 15–19 who have undergone FGM were cut before the age of ten


‘Cut, flesh removed’ is the most common type of FGM practised


Almost all FGM is carried out by ‘traditional agents’ (including traditional cutters and birth attendants)

Development Indicators


19,082,437 (as at 1 May 2017), with a 3.01% growth rate (Nov. 2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

61 deaths per 1,000 live births (2016)

Maternal Mortality Rate

371 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)


36% of the total population aged 15 and over can read/write

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

FGM is practised across all regions, ethnic groups and religions in Burkina Faso.  There are distinct regional variations; FGM prevalence ranges from 54.8% in the Centre-West to 89.5% in the Centre-East.  Two-thirds of the population of Burkina Faso live in rural areas, and nearly 10% more women aged 15–49 have had FGM in rural areas (78.4%) than in urban areas (68.7%).  Prevalence in the capital, Ouagadougou, is 64.8%.

The regional pattern of FGM prevalence broadly corresponds with the distribution of ethnic groups:  the highest-practising groups include the Sénoufo (87.2%) and Lobi (83.2%) in the south-west, the Fulani (83.9%) towards the north-east, the Mossi (78.4%) across the central band and the Bissa (83.1%) mainly in Centre-East.  The lowest prevalence is recorded among the Gourounsi, who live largely in Centre-West (60.3%) and the Touareg/Bella in the far north-east (22.2%).

FGM is practised by all religions:  among Burkinabé women aged 15–49, 81.4% of Muslims, 75.5% of traditionalists/animists, 66.1% of Catholics and 60% of Protestants have been cut.

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Trends in FGM Prevalence

The prevalence of FGM in women (aged 15–49) is 75.8%.  This is a decrease from 76.6% in 2003.  Due to the large age-range of women included, however, the overall prevalence alone may not fully reflect the progress that has been made in recent years.  Breaking down the most recent data by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45–49 is 89.3%, while for the youngest age group this has fallen to 57.7%. Despite the fact that a small proportion of women may be cut after the age of 15, the data demonstrates a clear trend towards lower prevalences among younger women.

FGM Legislation in Burkina Faso

In 1996 Burkina Faso became one of the first African countries to introduce a national law against FGM (Article 380 of the Penal Code).  A number of cases have been brought through the community-based mobile court system.

See Burkina Faso: The Law and FGM for more detail.

For the French translation, see Burkina Faso: La Loi et Les MGF.


Research and resources for Burkina Faso