Academics at Northumbria University have been awarded more than £350,000 to carry out research which aims to eradicate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The team, led by Professor Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, will analyse data collected over the last 20 years to determine the main reasons behind the practice and whether it is has declined in that time.

Professor Kandala is a world expert in statistical analysis and has spent the last 15 years working with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to map global health and disease in developing countries.

As well as identifying potential FGM hotspots, his research aims to identify the environmental, social and cultural reasons behind the continued practice of FGM.

In recent years, global efforts to end female genital mutilation have intensified through the combined work of international and non-governmental organisations, governments, and religious and civil society groups.

Professor Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala

This latest funding has been awarded through the Population Council’s ‘Evidence to End FGM/C’ research programme, part of the Department for International Development’s flagship ‘Towards Ending FGM/C in Africa and Beyond’ project.

During the project, Professor Kandala and a team of academics from Northumbria will analyse data from three African countries – Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal – examining trends in FGM and exploring how quickly and widely the practice is being abandoned.

In particular, the research will focus on girls aged 0 to 14, analysing how factors such as the income and education of the girls’ mothers and the communities they live in affect the prevalence of FGM.

The group’s findings will be published later this year and used to influence future strategic investment, policy and programming, with the aim of eradicating FGM completely.