Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15–49 is 99.1%.

64.5% of women believe that FGM should continue.

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Women aged 15–49 who live in rural areas are slightly more likely to undergo FGM than women in urban areas


Most girls are cut between the ages of 10 and 14


84.9% of women aged 15–49 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


4–5 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)

Literacy Rate

45.3%; literacy among women is less common, at 40.5%, than among men, at 50.2%

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

In 2011, prevalence in Somaliland was 99.1% (women aged 15–49).  2006 and 2011 figures indicate that the prevalence of FGM has increased from 94.4% to 99.1%; however, due to various challenges related to data collection, further data would be required to confirm that there has been a genuine upward trend in cutting.

Women who live in rural areas are only slightly more likely (99.6%) to undergo FGM than those who live in urban areas (98.7%). 

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

Breaking down the 2011 data by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45–49 is 100%, while for the youngest age group it is 98.5%, 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 Somaliland

There is currently no national law in place banning FGM in Somaliland.  New national legislation has been drafted and will enter a consultation phase with stakeholders in 2019.

In the run-up to the November 2017 presidential elections, it was reported that all three candidates publicly pledged to outlaw FGM.

In February 2018 the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Somaliland issued a fatwa banning the most severe type of FGM, Type III (infibulation/'sewn closed').

See Somaliland: The Law and FGM for more detail.


Research and resources for Somaliland