Smart and Sustainable

I’m delighted the Tostan approach (“Change From Within,” by Aimee Molloy, May 2013) to end female genital cutting in Senegal is having widespread impact. Too often, well-intentioned efforts don’t follow what Molly Melching learned: Sustainable change comes when initiatives follow indigenous protocol and culture, in this case involving community elders and all interconnected villages and even calling it “cutting” rather than “mutilation.”

May we apply such wisdom to fighting the climate-sensitive problems in health, water, and food security in the global South. Your fine interview with Malawian activist Victor Mughogho (“‘The impacts are quite severe on the ground,’” May 2013) is one example. He encourages us to fight climate change and its effect on poverty. Let’s ensure that the programs we support are smart, culturally sensitive, and sustainable.

Michael Camp
Poulsbo, Washington

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