The overall goal of the Saleema Initiative in Sudan is to promote long-term abandonment of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM) through a contribution to changing social norms, attitudes, and intentions related to the practice. The initiative aims to create positive cultural associations with a girl remaining uncut, a new social norm. Saleema hypothesizes that branding the alternative to FGM (abandonment) will promote social norms change. In 2014, the lead author designed a monitoring and evaluation framework for Saleema in partnership with UNICEF, the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW), and local organizations.
The Saleema evaluation aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign in reducing pro-FGM social norms. A quasi-experimental design controlled for dosage of campaign messages delivered across the 18 states in Sudan to measure a dose-response effect. We operationalized social norms through a 4-item scale validated in previous research.
This paper reports on quantitative evaluation findings based on data gathered in from 2015–2017 and focuses on the dose-response relationship between Saleema exposure and changes in FGM social norms. We found that self-reported exposure was associated with reduced pro-FGM social norms (coeff. = -0.329, p < .001). Additionally, higher doses of Saleema, measured through an exogenous measure of campaign event exposure from an independent monitoring system was associated with reduced pro-FGM social norms (coeff. = -0.146, p < .001).