Covid & FGM

Resources shared, tools and reports produced by UNFPA and UNICEF


COVID-19 disrupting SDG 5.3: Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation. Technical Note April 2020

In this guide for action, UNICEF presents some key points and ways to continue the fight against FGM in times of COVID-19. Among the solutions proposed in the Agenda for Action are the increased use of social networks and mass media to attract attention, reach out to the population and young people, and strengthen emergency hotlines. COVID-19 can be used as an opportunity to decrease the medicalization of the practice of FGM and increase the attention paid to FGM through social networks and mass media, whose regular audience is growing during the pandemic.

Available here

Technical Note on COVID-19 and Harmful practices. Technical Note, April 2020. UNICEF in collaboration with Child Frontiers

As the routines, support and protective systems that children normally enjoy are affected, they are at greater risk of suffering from harmful practices and violence such as FGM, early marriage, child labour, abuse or isolation. The measures put in place to manage the pandemic are undermining programmes to combat child marriage and FGM.

Available here

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Planning and Ending Gender-based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage, 27 April 2020 

With the COVID-19 pandemic and associated measures, the UNFPA expects a one-third decrease in the efforts and progress towards ending FGM by 2030 and a 2 million increase in FGM cases. Other threats to the development of girls and women are associated with the practice of FGM, including early marriage and dropping out of school, and are therefore expected to increase as well. As COVID-19 postpones the implementation of FGM control programmes, particularly the more efficient ones involving direct contact with communities and populations, forces schools to keep their doors closed and funds and services are reallocated to the fight against COVID-19, efforts to end FGM will be slowed and the date of 2030 for its total abandonment, threatened.

Available here

Millions more cases of violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation, unintended pregnancy expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 28 April 2020 

Projections on the impact that COVID-19 and containment measures may have on the rights of women and girls and sexual & reproductive rights & health are alarming.

  • 47 million women in low- and middle-income countries can no longer use modern contraceptive methods
  • 7 million additional unwanted pregnancies
  • 31 million additional cases of gender-based violence (GBV)
  • 2 million more cases of FGM in the next decade
  • 13 million cases of child marriage in the next 10 years.

An increase in cases of GBV and especially domestic violence is already visible as calls to hotlines and emergency services increase. In addition, with the closure of services and restrictions on mobility, access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health services is reduced, as is the availability and access to contraception. Delayed expansion of programmes against harmful practices, increased poverty, FGM and early marriage are to be expected.

“But it doesn’t have to be our future” says Dr. Kanem. “The world can take action to ensure continued access to reproductive health care and protect the rights and dignity of all women and girls. Women’s reproductive health and rights must be protected no matter what the cost. Services must continue, the provision of necessary resources must be ensured, and vulnerable people must be protected and supported”.

Available here

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic UNFPA Global Response Plan, June 2020 

As the pandemic brings increased risks of GBV, sexual exploitation and abuse, and decreased access to SRH services, UNFPA outlines three priority strategies in it’s Response Plan. They emphasize the need to ensure continuity of SRH services, prevent and manage cases of GBV, and ensure the provision of contraceptives and basic reproductive health commodities. Through partnerships with civil society and community-based organizations, advocacy at the local and national levels and support for access to GBV management services in humanitarian crises, UNFPA aims to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on GBV and harmful practices, which are already on the rise.

Available here

On the same topic

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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