I am choosing to write about Somalia for the semester. Over the past few semesters, I’ve studied the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM), but have never had the chance to study one country’s prevalence closely. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to study Somalia, where the prevalence is the highest – as of 2016, approximately 98% of all girls and women aged 15-49 have undergone at least one form of FGM.
Based on UNICEF’s data, as of 2012, the population of Somalia was approximately 10,195,000, with a projected growth from 2012-2030 of 2.8%. The death rate per 1,000 is 12.5, and the birth rate is 44.2. The life expectancy, although improving, is only 54.
I’m assuming that due to the collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic in the early 1990s, there isn’t any economic information available on UNICEF’s website. The only economic data available is that, as of 2010, the country received approximately one million dollars in Official Developmental Assistance.
Being a poor and developing country, it is not surprising that there is a very small amount of educational data available. Approximately 18% of males and 15% of females attend primary school, and approximately 11% of males and 8% of females attend secondary school.
As you can probably imagine, women and health related items are where it gets much more interesting. The mortality rate of children under five is approximately 150 of every 1000 and the infant mortality rate is 90 out of 1000. Approximately 11.6% of the population is severely underweight, and the moderate and severe wasting rate is 13%. Only about 29% of the population uses improved drinking water sources, and about 23.6% use improved sanitation facilities.
For child labor, approximately 50% of children aged 5-14 from 2002-2012 were involved in child labor. Approximately 45.3% of the population is married by the age of 18.
The conditions women face in Somalia are harrowing. As aforementioned, about 98% of women have undergone female genital mutilation in their lifetime. Only about 26% of pregnant women have at least one visit with a skilled attendant, and only 6.3% have at least four visits. During birth, only about 33% have a skilled attendant actually at the birth and approximately 6% have an actual institutional delivery.
Although I was aware of the poor conditions in Somalia, many of these statistics still surprised me. Specifically, I was surprised about the the serious lack of children receiving any education, the fact that there was absolutely no economic data, and obviously the terrible conditions Somalian women are in – especially pregnant women. The fact that only 33% of women have a skilled attendant actually present at the birth of their child is astonishing and really puts things into perspective.