According to UNICEF, the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Ethiopia is 74%. Terre des Femmes notes that in multi-denominational Ethiopia FGM/C is practiced by all religious communities. It is particularly prevalent among orthodox Christians, Catholics and Muslims. FGM is practised in both rural and urban areas, however, there is a higher prevalence in urban areas (74.7%) than in rural ones (54.7%). 65% of girls are cut before the age of 5 and in 95% of cases FGM/C is performed by a traditional practitioner, a clitoridectomy in 52% of cases. Different ethnic groups practise different types of FGM/C, for example, 96% of women of the Afar ethnic group have undergone infibulation.

Reasons for practising FGM/C include the beliefs that it ensures abstinence, purity, health and better marriage prospects; it is besides considered to be aesthetic.

In 2004, Ethiopia passed legislation, Article 565 of the Criminal Code, criminalising FGM/C. Ethiopia acceded to the ICESCR in 1993, ratified CEDAW in 1981, acceded to the CRC in 1991 and to the Banjul Charter in 1998.

See also 28 Too Many’s country profile on Ethiopia.

We have no FGM/C Country of Origin Expert for Ethiopia, but would welcome suggestions. Please contact us.


Anti-FGM/C Organisations in Ethiopia

Afar Community Initiative Sustainable Development Association (ACISDA)
Address: Dewe Zone 5 – Afar Regional State, Ethiopia
Phone: +251 67161361; +251 913119141

ACISDA undertaks awareness creation activities for the reduction of FGM/C, organizes and facilitates trainings, workshops, forums and public debates, as well as advocacy workshop to gain consensus on the elimination of FGM/C. ACISDA works with religious and clan leaders, cutters and influential community representative.

Afar Pastoral Development Association (APDA)

Address: P.O. Box 592, 1110 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Phone: (+251) 011 5159787; (+251) 0911 642575/ 0911 246639
APDA now employs 284 women from the community as agents of change. These women are literate and work in a team with the health worker and the education facilitator. They were able to reach 127,645 women on issues of safe motherhood including conducting antenatal and postnatal checks; hygiene and sanitation; good nutrition; stopping harmful practices and mentoring women in income generating activities. These women are backed by the organization harmful practices awareness team that uses APDA – produced films to help the community to mirror – visualize the dangers they are in by continuing FGM/C as well as various other practices harming the health and wellbeing of females. This team is particularly equipped with what the Islamic religion says about protection and respect of females. The team tries to reach each community in the program (around 270 – odd) once a year so that the community can sit and dialogue having seen the films. While it becomes clear to them they must stop and they are actually negating their belief by continuing, they need time to secure this through a repeated dialogue as well as the enforcement of positive practices to protect and help females.

Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices (IAC)
ECA/Africa Hall, Menelik Avenue, P.O Box 3001, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel.: (+251) 11 551 57 93

The Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC) is an African regional umbrella body that has been working on policy programmes and actions to stop FGM/C in the African Region during the last 28 years.  IAC’s mission is to have an African Region free of FGM/C and gender related harmful practices. Its two main objectives are to prevent and eliminate traditional practices, which are harmful to or impede the health, human development and women’s and girls’ rights; to advocate for care for those who suffer the health consequences of harmful practices; and to promote and support those traditional practices that improve and contribute to the health, human development and rights of women and children.


We have no FGM/C Country of Origin Expert for Ethiopia, but would welcome suggestions. Please contact us.

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