Original Research

Evaluation of progress with using community conversation as a strategy to encourage district level abandonment of female genital mutilation and/or cutting in 10 districts in Ethiopia

Ellen Alem, Emezat Hailu, Haile-leul Siyoum, Ibrahim Sesay, Lulit Mitik, Maki Suyama, Martha Kibur, Roger Pearson
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 1, No 1 | a11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v1i1.11 | © 2013 Ellen Alem, Emezat Hailu, Haile-leul Siyoum, Ibrahim Sesay, Lulit Mitik, Maki Suyama, Martha Kibur, Roger Pearson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 March 2013 | Published: 03 October 2013

About the author(s)

Ellen Alem, UNICEF, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Emezat Hailu, Centre for Development Consulting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Haile-leul Siyoum, Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Ibrahim Sesay, UNICEF, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Lulit Mitik, Centre for Development Consulting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Maki Suyama, UNICEF, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Martha Kibur, UNICEF, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Roger Pearson, UNICEF, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Background: Female genital mutilation and/or cutting (FGM/C), whilst widespread, is declining in Ethiopia; 81% of 45–49-year-old women were circumcised in a 2005 survey, and 62%of 15–19-year-olds.

Objectives: This evaluation examined progress in abandoning FGM/C in ten woredas(districts) where strategy based on the social convention theory had led to official declarations of abandonment and assessed if the strategy could accelerate the declining trend of the FGM/C practice in Ethiopia.

Method: Quantitative and qualitative instruments collected data from a document review, a household survey (1275 households), in-depth and key informant interviews and focus group discussions.

Results: Overall, there were encouraging results in terms of awareness creation and behavioural change to some extent. Sixty-nine percent of women and 41% of girls interviewed perceived a decline in the practice (range 40% – 90%) after the declaration. Seventy-six percent of women said they would not circumcise girls in the future. The involvement of influential people such as religious leaders, elders, health extension workers, and law enforcement officials in the teaching contributed immensely to the awareness creation. However, some districts reports indicated the practice had gone underground. The costs of facilitating the strategy varied from USD 3 to 7 per person, with better results where costs were higher. The abandonment events tended to costaround 25% of total costs, an area where cost efficiency can be improved.

Conclusion: The evaluation has informed the dialogue around the development of the country’s first national budgeted strategy that aims to accelerate the abandonment of all harmful traditionalpractices.


FGM/C; community conversation;


Total abstract views: 8035
Total article views: 13694


Crossref Citations

1. Trends and Spatio-temporal variation of female genital mutilation among reproductive-age women in Ethiopia: a Spatio-temporal and multivariate decomposition analysis of Ethiopian demographic and health surveys
Getayeneh Antehunegn Tesema, Chilot Desta Agegnehu, Achamyeleh Birhanu Teshale, Adugnaw Zeleke Alem, Alemneh Mekuriaw Liyew, Yigizie Yeshaw, Sewnet Adem Kebede
BMC Public Health  vol: 20  issue: 1  year: 2020  
doi: 10.1186/s12889-020-08882-4