Skip to content
Home » Ahfad University for Women Role in Combating FGM

Ahfad University for Women Role in Combating FGM

    Ahfad University for Women (AUW)

    PO BOX 167, OMDURMAN, SUDAN. Fax: + 249 15


    AUW’s Role in Combating Female Genital Mutilation

    An Overview of Training, Research and

    Outreach Programmes, Educational and IEC Material, Networking and



    Ahfad University for Women has been working for more than 35 years

    towards the advancement of Sudanese women. This is manifested in

    its programme towards the eradication and concurrent abolition of

    the harmful Traditional Practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

    FGM is a regional and national problem practiced in at least 26

    of 43 African countries. FGM is a social and cultural practice which

    is known to be detrimental to women’s physical and mental health

    and well-being. FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or

    total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to

    the female genital organs for cultural or non-therapeutic reasons.

    Ahfad University For Women is combating FGM through a number of

    activities , including Capacity Building and Training Programmes.

    The purpose of AUW’s training programmes are to raise the capacity

    of nationals in combating FGM and raising awareness of people towards

    its detrimental health effects and that it has no religious foundation

    contrary to belief.

    Examples of training conducted include:

    A series of training workshop, on the eradication of FGM for Muslim

    Religious leaders and Sufis groups. The training sessions aimed

    to enact an Islamic Fatwa to support the abolition of FGM in Sudan

    and secure Suffist leaders commitment to advocating for eradicating

    this practice. This was coordinated by the Institute for Women Gender

    and Development Studies, AUW.

    Research Programmes

    • AUW in collaboration with UNFPA conducted a baseline survey

      in Umbadda area in 1994 on FGM.

    • Conducted content analysis of national mass media programmes

      concerning FGM.

    • Collected data for an annotated report in collaboration with

      UNICEF reviewing all national material found in Sudan.

    • Conducted a research on the change of attitudinal behaviour

      towards FGM amongst different groups: universities, students and

      men in Ombadda area.

    • Part of the university requirement of the academic degrees awarded

      by AUW is conducting a research project in the final year of study.

      A multi-disciplinary approach to the study of FGM has led to a

      number of researches being conducted at the B.Sc. (mainly) and

      masters levels.

      Examples include:

      The psychological effect of FGM on Men and women resulting

      from the practice. Conducted in 1996.

      The perception and attitudes of journalists in Sudan towards

      FGM. Conducted in 2000. The perception and attitudes of female

      health providers towards FGM. Conducted in 2001.

      The perception and attitudes of female health providers towards

      FGM. Conducted in 2001.

    Outreach programmes

    AUW conducts annual field trips to rural areas as part of its Rural

    Extension programme. The aim of this programme is two-fold:

    – Awareness raising and advocacy is conducted by students on the

    theme of FGM (among others).

    – Students develop outreach activities, communication skills in

    addition to exposure to the reality of the lives of the rural community.

    AUW has established a group of Youth Animators to advocate against

    the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. This group has been working

    since 1996. Methods used by the group include:

    Mobile theatre

    Home visits

    Music group

    Focus group discussions

    Public seminars targeting internally displaced persons.


    Educational Material and IEC Material

    • AUW produced a variety of material advocating and educating

      against the practice. These include:

      -Training packages to provide technical support for NGOs, CBOs

      and Media to assess attitud es towards FGM.

      -Training packages produced advocating for eradication of FGM

      for health cadres religious leaders, youth, teachers and CBOs.

      – Reader on FGM, practice, hazards. Complications and strategy

      for eradication.

      – Articles written on FGM published by AUW in a women exclusive

      journal: The Ahfad Journal.

      – Papers written by members of staff presented at international

      conferences. For example: The differences between the concepts

      of sex and gender and their social impact on the practice of FGM.

      – Music cassettes on FGM.

      – A video tape on the practice and its psychological impact on


    Networking and linkages

    AUW has through its years of work established several strong linkages

    with different organizations and institutions at different levels,

    locally, regional and international working for the eradication

    of FGM. Some of these include:

    1. Babiker Badri Scientific Association for Women Studies.

    2. Sudanese National Center for Eradicating, Harmful Traditional


    3. FGM National Network

    4. FGM Ministerial Committee for the drafting of Legislations against


    -Amanitare partnership, an initiative of RAINBO Organization