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Somalia: Female genital mutilation down

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A new survey from Somalia says the practice of female genital mutilation is on the decline.

The survey released Tuesday by UNICEF and the governments of Somaliland and Puntland found that 25 percent of girls ages 1 to 14 have undergone the practice, compared to 99 percent of women.

UNICEF has been working with community leaders in northern Somalia to try to change attitudes toward female genital mutilation.

Susannah Price, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, said the figures are encouraging but that progress is slow. She credited changing awareness among religious leaders and increased awareness of the health risks the practice poses to girls as reasons behind the decline.

Tuesday's survey also found that the literacy rate among women is on the rise.

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