Please note: This archive was last updated in 2005.

RHO archives : Topics : Harmful Traditional Health Practices


Updated: April 13, 2004

Listed below are useful web resources on harmful reproductive health practices, primarily female genital mutilation (FGM). For general reproductive health links, visit the RH Resources page

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If you know of a resource that should be included in this list, please send the web address and description to [email protected] .


The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI)
The mission of this U.S.-based organization is to protect and expand the reproductive choices of all women and men in freedom and dignity. This site's search feature will locate reports and articles, including text of International Family Planning Perspectives. The journal contains country and regional research and data on such topics as the cultural bases for reproductive health choices, healthcare providers' perspectives on local practices, and FGM. Use the Search feature to find International Family Planning Perspectives 23(3) (September 1997), which includes a special report on "Female Circumcision: Rite of Passage Or Violation of Rights?"

AMANITARE (African Partnership for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women and Girls
AMANITARE was launched in Uganda in 2000, and is coordinated by RAINBO. AMANITARE's goal is to build an influential social movement to institutionalize the recognition of African women's and girls' sexual and reproductive health rights as fundamental to their civil and human rights. AMANITARE is organized into three action groups, each coordinated by an African NGO: (1) Advocating for Freedom from Gender-Based Violence; (2) Integrating Sexual and Reproductive Rights into Health Services; and (3) Reaching-Out to New Generations.

Amnesty International: Human Rights Information Pack on FGM
Amnesty International is an independent worldwide voluntary movement that focuses on human rights. Resources include an extensive profile on FGM today, with details on types of FGM, how it is performed, and gender, religious and cultural implications. Other articles include FGM as a violation of international human rights, United Nations initiatives, a long list of relevant organizations worldwide, and a bibliography.

Brigham and Women's Hospital: African Women's Health Practice
This website describes the first hospital clinic in the United States devoted to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care to women who have undergone FGM. This site contains an overview of the clinic services and a short tutorial on FGM and medical management of FGM.

Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA)
CEDPA is a women-focused nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower women at all levels of society to be full partners in development. Training materials and opportunities, project descriptions (including The Adolescent and Gender Project for Sub-Saharan Africa), publication lists and more make this site a good stop for those interested in gender equity programming.

Center for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT)
This Indian nongovernmental organization researches and advocates for women’s health issues. This website contains details about CEHAT’s involvement in legislative efforts to address sex-selection practices.

Communication for Change (C4C)
Participatory, community-based communication projects are the main strength of this New York City-based nonprofit organization. Their grassroots-focused efforts have addressed FGM, reproductive health, and related issues for 25 years in countries as diverse as Guinea, Egypt, and Bangladesh. Their website includes methodology descriptions, project stories, and other articles.

Forward UK
Formed in 1983, Forward UK is the leading voluntary organization in the United Kingdom working to eliminate FGM. Their site contains information about FGM, an online newsletter, links, and publications.

Human Rights Internet (HRI)
HRI is a Canadian group that serves as an international network of human rights organizations and a clearinghouse of human rights documentation. The site contains "Urgent Alerts," including some specifically devoted to FGM. "Urgent Alerts" may also be posted by visitors to the site. This site is an excellent source for current information on FGM: use the site "search" feature with the words "female genital" for the latest country-specific and international news.

The Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC)
For nearly 20 years, this extensive African non-governmental organization has promoted the health of African women and children around the world. Their website contains information on FGM, early marriage, relevant United Nations materials, poems, newsletters, and more, in both English and French.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
IPPF links national Family Planning Associations in over 150 countries worldwide. It is the largest voluntary organization in the world to be concerned with family planning and sexual and reproductive health. Its site contains a special "FGM Index" which lists items about FGM including short articles on FGM from IPPF's newsletter, summaries of research findings, and IPPF's medical position statement on FGM. This site is an excellent source for current information on FGM: use the site "search" feature with the words "female genital" for the latest country-specific and international news.

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC)
Founded by a group of health care professionals in the USA, NOCIRC is a nonprofit educational organization committed to "securing the birthright of male and female children and babies to keep their sexual organs intact." While focused primarily on male circumcision, this clearinghouse provides information that may be useful to those concerned about any type of genital mutilation, including historical information, medical association position papers, information on informed consent, and publications. It is also an online source for the proceedings of the International Symposia on Sexual Cutting  ( .

PATH is an international, not-for-profit group that has been working with African partners for over a decade to eradicate FGM ( Included in their website is a detailed "fact sheet" outlining the types of FGM, its global prevalence, complications, cultural insights, statistics, legislation, and references ( Project descriptions of "alternative rituals" to FGM and other project work in Kenya also are reported (

The Population Council
The website of this international, non-profit research organization contains several publications and research summaries pertaining to FGM, including documents in French relating to West African FGM issues.

RAINBO (Research, Action, and Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women)
RAINBO is an international not-for-profit organization working on issues that intersect women's health and human rights. With a history of work on female circumcision/female genital mutilation, RAINBO has gained institutional and technical expertise in dealing with difficult women’s health and rights issues in Africa and in African immigrant and refugee communities. RAINBO's ultimate goal is to promote and protect women's sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Stop FGM!
Sponsored by the International Campaign for the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation, this European website contains a wide array of links to materials and organizations, including the 2003 Afro-Arab Expert Consultation materials, and some articles. Materials are included in several languages, including English, French, and Arabic.

Based in Senegal, this American nonprofit organization focuses on "empowering villagers to take charge of their own development and participate fully in society." Using a social transformation model, TOSTAN helped mobilize 282 villages to publicly abandon female genital mutilation, an event so groundbreaking that it warranted a visit from then-U.S. President Bill Clinton and the First Lady, Hillary Clinton. TOSTAN's website includes reports on the organizations work, including a mothers perspective of female genital mutilation called "You Are an African Woman," by TOSTAN founder Molly Melching. Also included are TOSTANs village education methodology, course modules, a guestbook, and other features. A related article, "The TOSTAN Story," can be found on the Population Council website at For more information on this organization, see the program example from Senegal.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR)
This site includes many useful documents and program descriptions related to human rights, including two key pieces. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is available in dozens of languages and many formats, including children's books. Also available is Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children ( The fact sheet annex contains a 75-item plan of action. The entire site is available in English, French, and Spanish.

United States Government Department of State
This government agency addresses women's issues, including FGM, within the context of "broader U.S. strategic, economic and diplomatic goals." Hence, this website includes a general report about FGM, U.S. government policy on the issue, and international ramifications of the practice, as well as 22 country-specific overviews, including information on relevant asylum cases and local organizations.

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Sponsored by a news agency, this site posts 300 stories a day, from 60 news sources including their own reporters. The site search engine produces dozens of current stories about many types of harmful health practices, including FGM.

Association Contre La Mutilation Des Enfants
The information on this site is primarily on male circumcision. It includes the entire text of To Mutilate in the Name of Jehovah or Allah by Sami Aldeeb, which is an overview of religious and related issues, in French and English.

Circumcision Information Resource Pages (CIRP)
This CIRP page is a good source for updated news stories on both male and female circumcision. The CIRP site is divided into two parts: a technical reference section primarily focused on male circumcision in the United States and a more readable information page, with frequently asked questions, dozens of newspaper articles from around the world, and links to information on the rights of the child, religious issues, and related issues. The CIRP Newspage ( ) is a good source for updated news stories on both male and female circumcision.

Circumcision Resource Center (CRC)
This anti-circumcision advocacy organization makes the case that male circumcision in the United States causes intense pain and longer-term behavioral disturbances in newborns; carries potentially serious physical risk; and is associated with only minor benefits in relation to infections, cancer, and cleanliness. In addition, the loss of the foreskin has negative physical ramifications.

Family Health International (FHI) Publications
FHI and its USAID-funded AIDSCAP project have generated a range of behavior change materials that can be used for many types of projects, especially those focused on reproductive health. Full-text products and reports are available at this site, including the Behavior Change Through Mass Communication handbook ( thnm55mpyagi6nekgukpsv2ihqnfzcqh4u7khr2atzdf/behchangmasscomm.pdf).

The Female Genital Mutilation Education and Networking Project
This site contains a wide variety of information and links related to FGM and male circumcision, and includes general information on FGM; an extensive bibliography; links to organizations worldwide; educational, legal, and medical resources; the full text of several key FGM articles; the full text of national and international legislation; official statements on FGM; and current news updates. An annotated bibliography offers details on films and videos. FGM discussion groups and listservs also are reviewed.

Global Reproductive Health Forum: Gender and South Asia sections;
The Gender section of this health forum provided by Harvard University has a list of links to information on harmful practices, primarily FGM and dowry deaths. The South Asia section contains links to many articles on sex selection, infanticide, and feticide, as well as organizational links.

This USAID-funded project collects and disseminates data about population, health, and nutrition programs.

The world's largest bibliographic population database. POPLINE brings together over 280,000 records representing published and unpublished literature in the field of population, family planning, and related health issues, and is updated frequently. The database contains many articles about FGM and cultural health practices.

Women's International Networks (WIN) News
This newsletter has ongoing columns on women and health, development, media, environment, violence, human rights, and the United Nations. An investigation of genital/sexual mutilation is regularly recorded. The newsletter is not online; the link is to subscription information. WIN News also provides names, addresses, and contacts for global networking, which is the objective of their publication.

World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO's website provides basic information on FGM, including a fact sheet and information about relevant WHO publications and collaborating organizations.

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