As Tostan approaches the celebration of its 25th Anniversary this week, we want to take a moment to reflect on the incredible changes we’ve witnessed over the past 25 years. This has included major progress in the community-led movement for the abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC) since the village of Malicounda Bambara in Senegal first declared their public abandonment of this harmful traditional practice in 1997.

To date, over 7,500 communities across West Africa—who have directly and indirectly participated in our human rights-based education program, the Community Empowerment Program (CEP)—have participated in public declarations to promote human rights and abandon harmful practices like FGC, child marriage, and gender-based violence.

Take a look at how much this movement has grown in West Africa since 1997:


Change is happening…and it’s being championed by the courageous grassroots leaders who are helping their communities make a collective decision to bring about a healthier future for women and girls.