Socio-economic and demographic characteristics
The response rate of the study was 374(91.3%) of them completed the interview. From this as the total response rate indicated that 246 (65.8%) females and 128 (34.2%) male responded. Participants asked to respond at which age category they belong. The findings revealed 170 (45.4%) of respondents at age category of 24–30 years. Regarding the religious of respondents, majority 337 (90.1%) were protestant religion follower. Concerning the educational level of respondents, 120 (32.08%), participants attended secondary education. The finding showed that majority of respondents were married, 321 (85.8%). Regarding the occupational status of respondents, majority 322 (86.09%) participants were engaging their economic activities by farming or they were farmers. Regarding the economic status of the study participants were the majority, 234(62.5%) were their income level between 1000 and 1500 birrs (Table 1).
Socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the study conducted in southwest Ethiopia (n = 374)
Age of respondents
In marital union
Not in marital union٭٭
No formal education
Main occupation of respondent
Total family size
Current condition of rural peoples involvement in controlling FGM
The result indicated that among participant females, 195(79.27%) circumcised. The findings addressed that among participant women majority of them circumcised. This finding also supported by qualitative finding which revealed that still majority of rural communities continued performing FGM. A 32 years old FGD participant woman stated as: “Circumcision of females might be required as un-circumcision till results fear and marginalization inside community. Inside local community, un-cutting women and girls faced less social acceptance, burden to family, and lack marriage. Besides, she added marriage without un-circumcision lead stumpy acceptance by her husband, during conflict insulting by her neighbors, and lack of confidence was rooted problems. Therefore, the circumcision is the more necessary to females unless communities jointly participate to control FGM in commonalty”.
One of the key informant interviewee stated as: “She has daughter and she will not happy to circumcise her daughter but the social factors pushed her to entail FGM practice.”
The respondents asked to know whether at present who make decision to perform FGM practice. The result indicated that mother had largest portion of 230 (61.5%) regarding decision making to perform FGM. The study found that relatively both father and mother are largely shared decision making. In addition, the finding revealed that majorly mother was the main decision-maker to practice FGM.
The findings revealed that based on participants’ response frequency distribution and percentage the father had slightly better consciousness than mothers in controlling FGM practice. Mothers were encouraged FGM practice more than fathers does. Also the qualitative data showed that one of 35 years old FGD participant woman, both father and mother were decision makers whether their daughters should be circumcised or not. In addition, she addressed that both father and mother had advanced position and equitable role correspondingly, what legal instrument had play to control FGM. Moreover, having low decision making responsibility by father and mother in particular and low families participation in general become reasons to continuation and develop into obstacles to control FGM.
One of 37 years old, interviewee man expressed as:
...the existence of contradiction among local peoples regarding FGM practice. On one hand, legal instrument strongly recommended community members as not practice FGM by recognizing physical complication. Whereas on the other hand, family members and the rest community as whole continued to perform FGM secretly mainly to kept marriageability to their daughters. He added that disheartened cooperation and inconsiderate participation of families, groups, and communities entirely confronted controlling activity of FGM.
From the total respondents majority, 277 (74.0%) of them were currently FGM practice performed by health professionals. This indicated that health professionals were deeply involved in female circumcision. This supported by FGD participant woman, 41 years old, discussed that there was diminutive CP in addressing secret FGM practitioners that facilitated and created excellent opportunity to Actors. In addition, she addressed that practitioners’ full confidence in performing FGM in their own home and females went to private health centers to circumcision purpose at evening time.
According to Woreda administrative office key informant, 43 years old expression:
…he addressed that FGM still performing in a rural community and perform by both traditional and health professionals in secretly. Whatever the practice said to be performed clandestinely all sections of community familiar with when and how practitioners accomplish FGM. It is so much difficulty to take administrative measures since his fear those social sanctions to his family and to himself. If he attempted to do this correspondingly individual family member, clans and community together might revenge against him.
One of ex-circumciser man expressed that, “…he had well experienced with male circumcision for long. He added male circumcision was very tiresome, time consuming, low income or cheap price, energy loose and it need additional ingredient to make wound heal; whereas regarding FGM practice, he experienced so late as compared with male circumcision. Furthermore, he explained his familiarity with types of cutting during FGM practice. Sometimes circumcised girls advised to decide what type of cutting them more preferred.”
Respondents asked whether practicing FGM continued in their community or not, most 252(67.4%) respondents favored practicing FGM continued in their community. The findings revealed that majority of respondents preferential to practicing FGM continued in their community (Table 2). The 31 years old FGD participant woman discussed as: she believed that entire community widely continued practicing FGM in progressively. But she alerted with this problem and she discussed to avoid by participation of community members in collaborative and organized circumstance by reinforcing local people involvement in controlling activity”.
“…..She also added the participation of educated classes including physicians and other health professionals have power to ban FGM rather than engaging in performing FGM practice. The rural communities silence for a long in controlling FGM come to end with organized participation of government partners, collaborative work between court and police office, and religious community participation. Therefore, the community participation and mobilization act of all groups of societies contributed in controlling secret activities of practitioners among rural community”.
Current condition of rural people’s participation in controlling FGM in current study, 2020
Are you circumcised?
Decision for circumcision
Circumcisers who currently perform FGM practice
FGM still continued in your local community
Cultural acceptability for FGM
Active involvement community on control of FGM
Community awareness of local community towards CP in controlling FGM
The findings revealed that 169 (45.2%) respondents favored as they had learned about the CP to control FGM. This result revealed that majority of participants had not learned on the role of local CP in controlling FGM. Thus, the findings indicated that there is absence of masses of people participation in controlling FGM that lead to persistence and continuation of the practice inside local community for long period.
Respondents had asked whether village community participating to control FGM. Where 262 (70.1%) respondents not support as village community participating in control of FGM. The result showed that majority of respondents was not support as village community not participating at FGM controlling activity. Thus, the findings revealed that if village community participating in control of FGM it has ranges of activities and efforts in considering negative impact of FGM during controlling process.
Respondents also asked whether local government involving in control of FGM practice in their local area. The majority, 300 (80.2%) respondents were not believed local government involvement in FGM controlling activity. The result indicated that majority of respondents believed non-involvement of local government in FGM controlling activity in their local area. This revealed that the low participation of local government and its weak influence in FGM controlling process.
Regarding persistence of FGM, participants had asked whether community participation enabling to control continuation of FGM practice in rural area. Majority, 273 (73.0%) respondents were supported the CP facilitated the controlling activities of FGM. Participants asked about CP bring practical change in controlling FGM practice in their local area. Majority, 275(73.5%) respondents supported as local community had bring practical change in controlling FGM practice.
The majority of participants, 258(69.6) percent responded that absence of all local community groups actively participation in rural area is slightly low and there was less controlling mechanisms. Consequently, the low CP and their weak involvement majorly prolonged the controlling activity of FGM practice (Table 3).
Community awareness on rural people’s participation in controlling FGM in current study, 2020
Have you learned about community participation to control FGM practice?
Do you think village people participating to control FGM?
Do you agree local government involving in controlling FGM practice in your local area
Is community participation enabling to control continuation of FGM practice in rural area?
Does community participation have play functionality role in controlling FGM?
Do you believe communities recognize negative social implication of FGM practice?
Are entire community groups actively participating to control FGM practice in your rural area?
Attitude towards the role of Community Participation in controlling FGM practice
The result of this study indicates that majority, 345(92.2%) of the respondents believe (M = 4.48, SD = 0.639) that community participation can help the actors to left FGM practice in the community. This indicates that, if community participates in awareness creation of the negative consequences of FGM, the members of that community can reduce the practice and in the long run they may stop the practice.
Regarding the community member’s engagement in the practice of FGM, the study revealed that majority, (82.9%) of respondents agree and strongly agree with the statement “FGM practice is not often performed by traditional practitioners in my local areas”. The mean value (M = 4.24, SD = 0.726) also shows the low-level of traditional practitioners engagement in FGM activity. On the other, the study revealed that majority of FGM performed by Health Professionals. Accordingly, the result indicated that almost all (94.1%) respondents agree and strongly agree with the statement “currently the circumcisers are the educated health professionals that perform the activity in secret manner”. The mean value (M = 4.62, SD = .0556) shows high level of respondents agreement with the statement.
Key informants elaborated that the health professional performed FGM in their own house and sometimes at their private health centers. From the above result it is reasonable to conclude that even though FGM considered as a health problem and prohibited by the health professional publicly, still the real attitude of educated people also guided by the locals’ perception.
Moreover in this study, the capabilities of community participation in breaking continuation of FGM practice assessed. In this regard the result of this study revealed that community participation has the capacity to break continuation of FGM practices. Accordingly, majority of (88%) respondent agree and strongly agree with the statement “community participation is capable to break persistence of FGM practice by assessing the challenging factors that burdens the decision -making capacity of women and children”. The mean (M = 4.41, SD = 0.669) value also show that respondents perception towards the statement is positive.
In complementing the survey data from key informant interview. In this regard, a 39 years old key informant stats his perception in the following way:
“…the persistence of FGM attributed to fear of social pressure and it influenced by traditional beliefs within community. These include the uncircumcised women were less immoral as compared to circumcised women”.
Moreover, a 33 years old female key informant from Woreda health office said that
“….FGM has continued because people in the community believed that nobody leaves outside the social norms and culture of that society. One of the FGDs participant thought, “Yes, I am aware to avert circumcision of girls and women but I hadn’t know the women and girls who were not circumcised in my village among the married women”. She forwarded the reason behind absence of more uncircumcised women and girls in her neighborhood. Un-circumcision results the social sanctions towards girls and their family accordance with the social norms of this local community. “For instance, during social conflict people preceding uncircumcised women and girls by way of they are unable to talk because their clitoris is not cut and their tongue like that of clitoris so that uncircumcised women and girls lacked self-confidence and social become dishonor in the community”.
The above survey and qualitative data indicated that if community participate in the process of controlling FGM, they have the capacity to alleviate the practices of FGM in their surroundings. Hence, the cultural values of a society maintained by community members. As a result, they have the capacity to deal with the belief system of the community.
Besides, this study assessed whether the participation of religious institutions have a contribution in controlling FGM practices or not. In this regard, the result of this study found out that participation of religious institutions has a contribution in controlling FGM practices. Accordingly, the result show most of respondents agree and strongly agree with the statement “Participation of Religious institutions can contribute a lot in controlling FGM practices” and they perceive (M = 4.18, SD = 0.505) that there is a positive relation with FGM and religious institutions participation in the study area.
Among the study participants, the majority of the respondents do not perceive the practice from a religious angle and they thought that religious teaching does not encourage FGM in the study area. During the FGD discussion, one of the religious leaders addressed significant role of religion in that positively influences the lives of individuals’ as well as groups of people. For majority of religious individuals it promotes sense of meaning and purpose, always offer hope, and it provide comfort in their lives. It protecting us from any malevolence developments and discourages from any act that not commanded in words of God. Thus, unlike male circumcision, the female circumcision was not commanded in Holy Bible but commonly including religious individuals in our local area all sector of societies performs his/her daughter FGM practice during evening period secretly. Therefore, the participation of religious leaders in the control of FGM is important in large because it liable to mobilize the entire religious members as well as the whole community.
Also according to one of 32 years old FGD religious leader explanations, “in Holy Bible there is no religious requirement regarding the practice of FGM. In the Bible, there is no any command that allow women and girls to have undergone FGM. Often a culture and social pressure encourage people to practice FGM for them but under the circumstance of religion”.
According to one of the key informants from office of women, children and youth affairs, 28 years old head office, God knows more what we know about ourselves. God never created badly for females and she is a Christian so she believed in God. In addition, she has accepted his works and commandment of his words because he knows what is good and bad to all human beings regardless of gender. Another 35-year-old woman, from one of FGD, stated the cutting of the clitoris was dangerous during the first sexual intercourses and child bearing which resulted high bleeding, and lead to death of women and newborn child respectively. However, communities are not aware with this negative outcome that resulted low community participation in controlling steps forward. The above survey and qualitative data shows that intensive participation of religious institution in the process of controlling FGM in the study can influence the cultural barriers that promote FGM as a sign of purity in the study area.
The result shows majority (89.6%) of respondents agreed and strongly agreed with the concept “I perceive that community participation can change the attitude of people towards un-circumcised girl in the locality”. Besides the mean (M = 4.42, SD = 0.685) value revealed that the perceptions of rural community towards the contribution of community participation in changing the attitude of people that they have on the un-circumcised girls is high. It shows the level of community participation in changing the behavior of individuals.
This study found out that different stalk holder’s involvement in the process of controlling FGM is crucial. In this regard, the result indicate that majority (92.4%) of respondents agree and strongly agree with the statement “active involvement of stakeholders can help to control FGM practice”. The perceptions of respondent towards the concept (M = 4.58, SD = 0.626) based on the value is almost high and positive.
The result of this study indicated that, 88.3% respondents argued with the statement “participation of community in the control of FGM practice benefits all people in my locality”. The mean value (M = 4.4, SD = 0.689) show respondents highly and positively believe the contribution of community participation in the control of FGM practice benefiting all people in the locality. The findings indicated that majority of respondents favored to women and girls become beneficial through community participation in controlling female circumcision.
To sum up, the result of this study on the contribution of community participation in controlling FGM practices in the study area revealed high and positive perception. This implies community engagement in the process of FGM controlling activities has a crucial value.
Community’s perception towards their role in bringing behavioral change among local community in controlling FGM
In this regard, the influence of community participation in making decision to left circumcision of once daughter in the future. The result revealed that 45.0% and 44.4% of respondents perceive (M = 4.34, SD = 0.661) community participation influence the future actions of an individual can be high and very high respectively. This implies that local community participation can helps them to make decision to leave circumcision of their daughters for the future and tends to be high influence the process of practicing FGM among the community members. Respondents of this study also asked what their intention is to control the FGM practice. The result indicated that 43% and 43.8% of the respondents favored, they have high and very high intention to control FGM practices. Nevertheless, the rest 13.4% of respondents perceived they have medium intension. This result shows that majority of the respondent have the willing in controlling the FGM practices in the study area but the social norm and value system of the community hindering them to culminate the practice.
Moreover, the role of community volunteer’s participation in changing the behavior of an individual to control FGM practice assessed. The result of this study revealed that, 35.1% and 57.9% of respondents believe community volunteer’s participation in changing the behavior of an individual can high and very high respectively. The attitude of respondents measured by Likert scale shows (M = 4.56, SD = 0.626) their perception towards the statement “the role of community volunteers participation in controlling FGM practice” is highly positive.
The role of Kebele polity participation in changing the behavior of individuals in the process of controlling FGM practice was also examined in this study and the result found out that almost all (93.7%) respondents perceive the role of Kebele polity participation in changing the behavior of individuals in the process of controlling FGM practice is high and very high. The mean value (M = 4.57, SD = 0.609) also indicates that their perception towards the statement “The role of Kebele polity participation in changing the behavior of an individual in the process of controlling FGM practice” is highly positive.
The degree of community participation in overcoming the social pressure and marginalization of uncircumcised women in the process of controlling FGM was another variable assessed in this study. In this regard, the study found out that 33.2% and 54.8% of respondents claim the degree of community participation in overcoming the social pressure and marginalization of uncircumcised women in the process of controlling FGM is high and very high respectively. However, the rest 12% respondents’ perception found at the medium level. The mean value (M = 4.43, SD = 0.679) calculated from Likert scale attitude measurement towards the statement “The degree of community participation in overcoming the social pressure and marginalization of uncircumcised women in controlling FGM is highly positive.
The qualitative data was gathered from KII and FGD to supplement the survey result. Accordingly, a Female participant (Age = 43 years old) in FGD elaborated her idea that “The social pressure plays the role either to encourage or discourage FGM because it addressed strictly to what is concern of the groups and communities wanted. Also one of the 33 years old women, FGD participant, talked about communities attempted to synonymous female circumcision with male circumcision in the rural areas. This showed ignorance of the reasons for opposing female circumcision. These Findings revealed that majority of respondents supported that Community Participation enables to overcome social pressure and marginalization to uncircumcised women and girls among local communities.
The degree of participation of community leaders in motivating local community in the process of controlling FGM was assessed. In view of that, the result of this study indicates 31.1% of the respondents favor the participation of community leaders highly in motivating local community in the process of controlling FGM practices; while 65.4% respondents perceived highly the participation of community leaders motivate local community in the process of controlling FGM. The mean value (M = 4.62, SD = 0.555) also shows respondents perception towards the statement “The degree of participation of community leaders in motivating local community in process of controlling FGM” is positively high.
Based on qualitative data, a 31 years old women, Kebele women and children affairs office, addressed that apart from magnification of community participation the need for establishment of FGM controlling clubs. This can provide technical support and possibly will bring confirmatory behavioral change towards controlling FGM. Also the well-organized and collaborative working relation with local administration, community leaders, religious and ’Edir’ leaders must be encouraged to facilitate the controlling mechanisms of FGM in the study area. These finding indicated that community leaders’ participation highly motivates the partnership among local community in controlling FGM activities.
Participation of local community-based organizations (CBOs) in boosting the process of FGM controlling activity was another variable assessed by the researcher. The study found out that local CBOs participation in changing the behavior of community members is high. Accordingly, the result indicates 36.7% and 51.6% from the total respondents perceive participation of local community-based organizations (CBOs) in boosting the process of FGM controlling activity as high and very high respectively. The value (M = 4.64, SD = 0.656) also complements the frequency distribution data and it indicates the perception of respondents as positively high.
Regarding the intensity of community participation in making legal action to have decisive role in controlling FGM, this study found out that 42% and 19.0% of respondents perceive that the intensity of community participation in making legal action to have decisive role in controlling FGM is low and medium. However, the rest 21 % and 18.1% believing that the intensity of community participation in making legal action to have decisive role in controlling FGM is high and very high. The mean value (M = 2.51, SD = 0.856) shows the perception of the intensity of community participation in making legal action to have decisive role in controlling FGM is approaching to low.
The majority of the FGD participants discussed that they were not aware of any person being punished in the study areas. However, the FGD participant’s forwarded community members always attempted to aware if anyone in the community punished by practicing FGM either undergoing female or parents and/or ex-circumcisers. The finding indicates that the intensity of community members in making legal action to have decisive role in the process of controlling FGM is low. Hence, the power of community members mostly inclined to informal sanction than formal legal enforcement.
Accordingly, 37.8% and 49.2% from the total respondents perceive that educated spouses actively participating in FGM controlling activity in the study locality in changing the behavior of individuals can be high and very high respectively. The mean value (M = 4.36,SD = 0.702)also confirms the frequency distribution data and it indicated that educated spouses actively participating in FGM controlling activity to change the behavior of individuals in the community is high.
Lastly, the role of anti-FGM targeted education in bringing progressive participation among local community in controlling FGM in locality as assessed by the researcher is that almost (98.1%) all of the respondents perceive that the role of anti-FGM targeted education in bringing progressive participation among local community in controlling FGM in locality is high and very high. Accordingly, the mean value (M = 4.17, SD = 0.421) also shows that anti-FGM targeted education in bringing progressive participation among local community in controlling FGM in locality is moderately high.
Common challenges during community participation in controlling FGM practice
The qualitative data supported that accordance to key interview informant woman, 31 years old, FGM practice in rural community has taken a new dimension performed. That means the trend of female circumcision change from public to secrecy between rural communities principally to repulse from penalization.
According to 36 years old FGD participant woman, discussed her view as follows: FGM practice currently organized in secret and mainly at evening. This is partly assuming to hide from government a partner, which does believe not able to know what local community surround happening. During the group discussion, FGD participants acknowledged that the main change in the way to celebrate circumcision performed with increasing preference by using health professionals and a few traditional circumcisers. The practice of FGM is not the decision of undergoing individual woman and girl but it is the decision makers are parents. Key informant interview girl, 28 years old, talked that the community lacked strategic controlling process that emanated with low community involvement during CP in controlling FGM practice among local community. During CP challenges appeared due to low decision making of mothers and fathers towards their daughters in anti-FGM.
One of the FGD participants man, 35-year-old, discussed that:
“… People not considered the existing legal frame and legal criminalized act to make decision in the controlling process. Because he addressed that parents are often liable to facilitate precondition to marriage their daughter so that the circumcision preferable. Likewise, he discussed that FGM practice has high negatively influences on individual females and on her life in the future unless the practice controlled by participation of entire community”.
Lack of open discussion among rural community
In comprehensively, in rural area, the local community as whole familiar with continuation of FGM practices. One of FGD participant woman, 32 years old, discussed that the common problem among local people is low commitment by them and absence of open discussion between communities demerits of practice to individual woman and girl in particular and entire community in general.
The key informant interviewed woman, Kebele polity, talked that
“…..the circumcise girls, her parents, practitioners and the communities are living together in one village within community. The issue is still that absence of open discussion between people with one another regarding to control and eliminate the practice once to end. Thus, absence of open discussion among local people becomes one of basic influencing factors to CP in controlling FGM practice”.
As a result, sensitivity of the issue created stumpy participation by local community and permitted the interference of administrative offices in order not to politicize the FGM practice. Both FGD participants and key interview informants, forwarded whatever the involvement of local community and their partaking to enable harmonize and work cooperatively to enhance FGM controlling activity which strained by interference of local government officials.
Also shifting donors’ budget from local to regional and federal stage creating the low involvement of local community based organizations and other local community groups’ in an anti-FGM to facilitate controlling activity. Since, to organize participator meeting, conference and workshops on anti-FGM training among local community fund raising and donors support is vital to control FGM practice in the study area.