FGM PREVALENCE: approx. 98%

Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15–49 is approximately 98%.

64.5% of women aged 15–49 believe that FGM should continue.

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In 2006, prevalence in the South/Central Zone was 99.2% and in 2011 in the North-East Zone (Puntland) it was 98% (women aged 15–49)


Most girls are cut between the ages of 10 and 14


Most women have undergone Type III FGM (infibulation/'sewn closed'), which is also known as Pharaonic FGM


Predominantly traditional practitioners, but medicalised FGM is on the rise

Development Indicators


11–12 million (2019), with a 2.08% growth rate (2018 est.)  

Infant Mortality Rate

85 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)

Maternal Mortality Ratio

732 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)


38.3% in the South/Central Zone; 42.9% in the North-East Zone (Puntland)

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

In 2006, prevalence in the South/Central Zone was 99.2% and in 2011 in the North-East Zone (Puntland) it was 98% (women aged 15–49).  Women who live in rural areas are only slightly more likely to undergo FGM than those who live in urban areas. 

Across the entire region of Somalia and Somaliland, 64.5% of women believe that FGM should continue and 32.8% believe that it should not (2006).

While support for Type III (Pharaonic) FGM has declined in recent years, other types of FGM referred to as 'sunna' remain popular. 

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Trends in FGM Prevalence

FGM prevalence among women aged 15–49 has remained consistent for some time.

Breaking down the 2011 data for the North-East Zone by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45–49 is 97.8%, while for the youngest age group it is 95.8%, but some girls over the age of 15 may yet be cut, and ideally more data would be required to confirm this trend.

FGM Legislation in Somalia

There is currently no national law in place banning FGM in Somalia.  New national legislation is being drafted and will go through a consultation phase with stakeholders during 2019.

In November 2013, 18 religious leaders in Puntland signed a fatwa against FGM, which was witnessed by various ministers.

In March 2014, the president of Puntland approved an official policy outlawing all forms of FGM; however, parliamentary legislation is not yet in place.

See Somalia: The Law and FGM for more detail.


Research and resources for Somalia