The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on FGM


2020 was strongly disrupted and marked by the global pandemic of COVID-19, which has led to changes in our lifestyles, the way we work and has affected our social life. For some, COVID-19 and the associated measures of confinement and social distancing have brought their share of risks to health, safety and even livelihoods. Economic hardships, situations of vulnerability in terms of status, housing, security, and cases of domestic violence became even more difficult to overcome during COVID-19.

In these troubled times, CoP members were invited to share how COVID-19 has affected their work, the practice of FGM in the communities where they work, but also relevant resources, webinars, reports.

The pandemic has prompted us to be more innovative, to find new ways to keep in touch and to work together, at a distance. Social networks, webinars and media have emerged as important platforms for discussion and sharing.

The following articles bring together resources, tools, articles, open letters shared by members, the UNFPA and UNICEF. They highlight some of the emerging issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, how FGM and the work of field organizations were affected during the pandemic and confinement measures.

  • Aha Foundation, 2019 (update), “Why we hesitate to protect girls from FGM in the United States”, Access here
  • Australian Human Rights Commission, 2016, “FGM Conference: A Human Rights Perspective”, Access here
  • Berer M., 2015, “The history and role of the criminal law in anti-FGM campaigns: Is the criminal law what is needed, at least in countries like Great Britain?”, Access here
  • EIGE, 2018, Estimation of girls at risk of female genital mutilation in the European Union – Belgium, Greece, France, Italy, Cyprus and Malta – Report., Access here
  • FGM New Zealand, 2020, Access here
  • Johnsdotter, S., Mestre, R. M. in Mestre, 2015, “Female Genital Mutilation in Europe: An analysis of court cases”, European Commission, Access here
  • Johnsdotter, S., 2019, “Meaning well while doing harm: compulsory genital examinations in Swedish African girls”, Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, Access here
  • Nabaneh, S, Muula, S. A, 2019, “Female genital mutilation/cutting in Africa: A complex legal and ethical landscape”, Access here
  • Orchid Project, 2020, policy briefing: impacts of COVID-19 on female genital cutting (FGC), Access here
  • Rashid A, Iguchi Y., 2019, Female genital cutting in Malaysia: a mixed methods study. BMJ Open 2019, Access here
  • UEFGM (United to End FGM), 2020, The role of the justice system in the fight against FGM (ELearning), Access here
  • 28 Too Many, 2018, The Law and FGM: An Overview of 28 African Countries, Access here
  • 28 Too Many, 2018, “Somalia: The law and FGM July 2018”, Access here

Press overview

Covid & FGM Press overview   In this section we have gathered some of the newspaper articles and reports shared within the CoP FGM during the months of April-June 2020. For a more extensive overview see the UNICEF Annotated Bibliography on “Harmful Practices...

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What can we learn from the Ebola pandemic?

Covid & FGM What can we learn from the Ebola pandemic?   When the COVID-19 pandemic started many people remembered the Ebola pandemic and wondered what – if anything – we could learn from the impact that Ebola had on FGM.  The case of Sierra Leone Based on...

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Tools and resources developed and shared by the members

Covid & FGM Tools and resources developed and shared by the members   During COVID-19 the members of the CoP have kept busy and have adaptedtheir work, developed tools and published papers and articles related to FGM, womenand girls’ rights or SRHR in times...

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