Trend of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Senegal: What Can We Learn from Successive Household Surveys in Sub-Saharan African Countries?

Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, University of Warwick
Bettina Shell-Duncan, University of Washington

A deeper understanding of trends in female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) provides evidences as to how quickly and widely the practice is being abandoned. Data from two consecutive Senegalese DHS surveys (2005 and 2010) were used to estimate a Bayesian geo-additive mixed model and map changes in FGM/C prevalence at provincial levels. While no significant changes in FGM/C prevalence are found at the national level, mapping residual spatial effects reveals mixed regional patterns (prevalence increased in Dakar and decreased in Kolda and Matam provinces). Geographic location is an important correlate of changes in prevalence of FGM/C, suggesting that community factors, above and beyond individual factors, play a crucial role in the perpetuation, spread, or decline in the practice. These findings fit with predictions of social convention theory, which suggests that FGM/C is upheld by interdependent expectations, and when such expectations are challenged within a community, the possibility for abandonment is opened.

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Presented in Session 59: Female Genital Mutilation