According to some sources little progress is being made in eradicating the cutting of female genitalia. This study therefore explores perceptions of female genital cutting (FGC) and of abandonment of the phenomenon. The data were collected over a period of three months in Hargeisa, the capital city of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, within the internationally-recognised borders of Somalia. This study takes as its starting point the assumption that meanings are to some extent socially and culturally constructed. Therefore a qualitative methodology using in-depth interviews and observation has been employed. Two main groups of research participant were interviewed: (1) Representatives of organisations working directly to eradicate FGC; and (2) individuals not working directly to eradicate FGC. It was found that there is an increasing use of medical staff and equipment when a girl undergoes the procedure of FGC; religion is both an important barrier and facilitator of eradication; the use of terminology is crucial in understanding current perceptions of FGC and of eradication of FGC; traditional gender structures are currently being challenged in Hargeisa; it is important to understand how knowledge on FGC is constructed; and finally that FGC eradication is influenced by complex issues related to the ‘development’ of Somaliland. The findings of this study suggest that it is important to consider current perceptions on practices of FGC in order to gain useful knowledge on the issue of eradication. The study concludes that eradication of FGC is not a straight-forward path - it is rather a multifaceted process which is constantly negotiated in a diversity of social settings.