Over the past 25 years, Tostan has witnessed positive social transformation in thousands of communities in eight African countries. Although contributing to the abandonment of FGC was not one of Tostan’s original goals, it has become a rallying point for social change. So far over 7,200 communities from Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Somalia, and The Gambia have publicly declared their decision to abandon both FGC and child/forced marriage. As Tostan has always explained and as their external evaluations have shown, public declarations are critical in the process for total abandonment and necessary for building critical mass, eventually leading FGC to becoming a thing of the past.
They are now offering individuals and organizations the opportunity to learn from their decades of experience in leading human rights-based education programs. The TTC is designed to provide the theoretical and practical backing that people working in community development can use to reflect upon their own practices and better realize their communities’ aspiration
Their unique set of of trainings use a participatory, learner-centered approach that draws its strength from the expertise of trainers with extensive experience in rural Africa, implementing the Tostan Community Empowerment Program. Their trainings serve individuals and groups who share a commitment to human dignity, transformative learning, holistic empowerment, and collective action.
When asked about what learnings they hoped to gain from attending the TTC training, Mariya and Shaheeda provided the following replies:
Mariya: I have spoken to Molly Melching about visiting Tostan to learn for years since I first learned of Tostan’s existence and since I first became interested in addressing FGC within the Dawoodi Borha community (the community I was raised in). On a personal level, it will feel like a huge accomplishment to finally witness how a successful program operates to end human rights violations. On a professional level, I hope that the training will help guide the direction that Sahiyo takes to form its own programs in India and amongst diaspora Indian communities. I also hope to be able to connect with other, more experienced, and knowledgeable individuals who can serve as mentors or advisors for Sahiyo as we plan the activities of our nascent organization.
Shaheeda: I am very interested in learning about the success of Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP) in driving community-led change on human rights and gender-based violations. I want to understand how the CEP model employs diverse concepts of Health, Hygiene, Peace & Security, Problem-Solving, Literacy etc. for creating a holistic activities to engage with the local communities. From the research perspective, I am especially keen to explore and learn about the monitoring and evaluation methods for measuring program success and communication strategies employed by Tostan for creating a dialogue on change. Lastly, I want to understand the complexities that Tostan faces in terms of program implementation, as we would like to be able to predict and preempt similar problems that might arise during the course of Sahiyo’s work in India.
Sahiyo looks forward to hearing back from Mariya and Shaheeda after the training! Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about their experiences as well!