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About Us

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Since 1991, Tostan, a nonprofit organization based in Senegal, West Africa, has brought its Community Empowerment Program to thousands of communities in Senegal, Guinea, and six other African countries. Our progress is highlighted by the abandonment of Female Genital Cutting and child marriage by over 2600 communities in Senegal.


To empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation through human-rights based, non-formal education in local languages.


Over the past decade, Tostan has developed and refined its Community Empowerment Program into a powerful mechanism for social change. This 30-month program equips individuals and communities with knowledge, skills, and experience in human rights and responsibilities, democracy, problem solving, hygiene, health, literacy, math and management to empower them to become self-sufficient leaders in their own development. Through Tostan's revolutionary "organized diffusion" model, participating communities share the program within their local networks, allowing communities to come to regional consensus on important issues and allowing programs implemented in a few communities to reach many, many more.


Tostan sees many of the following impacts in partner communities: abandonment of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and child marriage; increased pre- and post-natal visits; increased vaccination rates; increased malaria prevention and treatment; empowerment of women; emergence of female leadership; systematic birth registration; increased registration of girls in school; increased democratic participation (taxes, voting, consulting elected representatives, etc); improved rates of literacy and numeracy; economic development through micro-credit and small income generating activities; many other results in health, hygiene, the environment, and other program topics.


Molly Melching


Senegal, Guinea, Gambia, Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Mali


1301 Clifton St NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 408-9280
EIN: 98-0118876

A Gift Card


Support Microcredit

Funds for West Africa

Your support will help us to provide a community with a small grant, often used to establish a rotating microcredit fund, which helps community members, particularly women, with the investment they need to start small businesses, invest in agriculture, or take on other income-generating activities. The Community Management Committee (CMC) will operate the microcredit fund based on a group-lending, revolving-funds system, working together to set...