Tuesday 6 December 2022



In an unprecedented announcement, a community in a remote area of the famous Red Sea mountains, committed themselves to abandoning Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) and Child Marriage. In a public declaration ceremony all community members, including the elders, the Sheikh, Omda, midwives, mothers, fathers, teachers, and children signed a banner with the commitment.


Fatima, a midwife, explains why she was motivated to support the community’s decision after seeing the harmful effects of the traditional practices:

“In my work, I have seen the consequences of FGM/C, such as heavy bleeding, severe pain, birth complications and in worst case, even the death of the mother, baby, and infants. In our area the FGM/C procedure was done at a very young age, with two years only.”

Fatima’s decision means that she will lose part of her income, as midwives are often the ones carrying out the FGM procedures. However, she and her colleagues decided to priorities the wellbeing of girls in the community.

Sheikh Ahmed adds: “Many of us were not aware how harmful our traditions are. After the discussion with Save the Children, we started to understand the consequences of these practices. We assembled our council and discussed the advice.”

Save the Children’s successful dialogue with the community is based on years of emergency relief work in Sinkat locality. Malnutrition rates in Red Sea state are amongst the highest in Sudan and at first the organization supported the community with nutrition and health interventions funded by the UN’s Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF). Further, the organization provided a water pump and tank under the same grant.



Assisting the community with their immediate life-saving needs built the necessary trust to go a step further: In year two of the SHF support for the community, a child protection component was introduced. The Child Protection team began engaging with the community in close collaboration with the State Council for Child Welfare on the topic. After regular meetings and discussions, the community decided to move forward with their joint decision.

The Sheikh explains:” We decided together to let our girls marry after they reach 18 or 20 years and to fully abandon the practice of FGM. We will also include these decisions in the tribal laws of our community. People will follow these laws and we will make sure to enforce them.”

After celebrating the recent success, Save the Children’s protection teams continue their long-term engagements, hoping to convince even more communities to protect their girls from harmful practices.

In 2020, Sudan criminalized all forms of FGM/C under article 141 of the criminal law. However, it requires very close community engagement and follow-up to ensure the implementation. Further, Child Marriage is still legal in Sudan and one of the advocacy priorities for Save the Children in 2022 / 2023.



This success was made possible through the generous support of the Sudan Humanitarian Fund