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Female genital cutting in Hargeisa, Somaliland: is there a move towards less severe forms?

Reprod Health Matters. 2014 May;22(43):169-77. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(14)43759-5.

Female genital cutting in Hargeisa, Somaliland: is there a move towards less severe forms?

Lunde IB, Sagbakken M.

ABSTRACT

According to several sources, little progress is being made in eliminating the cutting of female genitalia. This paper, based on qualitative interviews and observations, explores perceptions of female genital cutting and elimination of the phenomenon in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Two main groups of participants were interviewed: (1) 22 representatives of organisations whose work directly relates to female genital cutting; and (2) 16 individuals representing different groups of society. It was found that there is an increasing use of medical staff and equipment when a girl undergoes the procedure of female genital cutting; the use of terminology is crucial in understanding current perceptions of female genital cutting; religion is both an important barrier and facilitator of elimination; and finally, traditional gender structures are currently being challenged in Hargeisa. The findings of this study suggest that it is important to consider current perceptions on practices of female genital cutting and on abandonment of female genital cutting, in order to gain useful knowledge on the issue of elimination. The study concludes that elimination of female genital cutting is a multifaceted process which is constantly negotiated in a diversity of social settings.

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