The basic human rights of children must always over-ride the 'cultural' sensitivities of adults. Until nations everywhere perceive FGM not as a custom, but rather as an epidemic which must be addressed by governments as well as community workers, it will continue to blight the lives of millions. Whole communities over generations suffer because of it.
When Comic Relief invited me to Uganda for Red Nose Day to meet families affected by malaria, I was worried and scared in equal measures. Worried about how I would cope with hearing from parents who have lost children to this deadly disease, and scared that I too could get bitten by a malaria infected mosquito and fall sick.
No parent should have to watch their child die. One of the first mothers I met in Sigale camp, Mogadishu, told me how she had had to do just that. Fleeing from her home because of the drought, unable to feed her children, she trekked seven days with her four children to Mogadishu to find refuge. On the way her youngest child, still breastfeeding, died. There was nothing she could do. She looked exhausted, and hadn't eaten herself for four days but was determined to save the lives of her three remaining children.