Board of Directors
The members of our Board of Directors bring their various skills and experiences to help guide Tostan’s strategic direction. Each board member is selected based on his or her expertise and according to our organization’s needs. Read more:
Kelly Hawke Baxter
Board Co-Chair & Board Member of Tostan Canada
Kelly Hawke Baxter is a consultant and strategic advisor who has worked in the field of sustainable development and social change for over 25 years. She works with non-profit leaders and organizations to advise on social change strategy and governance. Kelly founded and led The Natural Step Canada, a Canadian non-profit organization promoting sustainable development, and now sits on their Board of Directors. Kelly is also a member of the Board of Tostan Canada, a sister organization that raises funds and awareness for Tostan International. Kelly has Masters degrees in International Development from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Ottawa, in International Journalism from the City University, London, as well as a Masters Certificate in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo. She is also a student mentor and member of the Global Strategy and Leadership Expert Panel of the Desautel School of Management at McGill University. She lives in Montreal, Canada.
Board Co-Chair & Public Health Consultant
Fatimata Sy is trained as a biologist, Nutritionist, and Public Health Specialist and has over 30 years of experience in international development and public health designing, managing, and evaluating programs in Africa, and building consensus among diverse stakeholders. Mrs. Sy served as is the Director of the Coordination Unit for the Ouagadougou Partnership, a collaboration between nine Francophone West African governments, private, government, multilateral donors and countless civil society organizations to promote family planning; the GFATM Liaison for the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and USAID West Africa, the Director of FHI360’s West African Regional HIV/AIDS Project, and the Country Director for FHI360 in Senegal, among other roles. Mrs. Sy has a Masters of Public Health from The Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a University Technical Diploma from the Technology Institute of Nancy, France.
Thiaba Camara Sy
Advisor to the Regional Head, West, Central and North Africa, at Mastercard Foundation
A graduate of the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), Thiaba is a Chartered Accountant with more than 32 years of experience in audit, due diligence and financial advisory for public institutions and blue-chip companies across sectors. She was the Managing partner of Deloitte Senegal, which she founded in 1990 before joining Afig Funds, a prominent African Private Equity company in 2017 and 2018 and subsequently co-funding WIC CAPITAL, a gender VC fund dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurship in Francophone West Africa. Thiaba is currently working as an Advisor to Mastercard Foundation and sharing with Tostan her background in finance and management, as well as her deep-rooted knowledge of West Africa.
Mary Ellen Cunningham
Mary Ellen brings 25 years of diverse professional and personal experience to her organizational consulting and nonprofit executive search work. Her primary focus is to unleash the potential of individuals and organizations to create sustainable social change. Through her work in nonprofit management, community development, fundraising, and education, she has developed a keen understanding of how teams work, what it entails to achieve truly mission-driven work, and the importance of partnership as the foundation for almost anything worth doing. She has had the privilege of working with numerous nonprofits, both domestically and internationally, as a founder, executive director, program developer, board member, volunteer, donor and consultant. Her breadth and depth of perspective has honed her skills and sensibilities to support organizations to be strategic, inclusive, fueled by mission and highly effective. Mary Ellen holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.S. in Experiential Education from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and son.
Founder and Creative Director of Tostan
Since arriving in Senegal in 1974, Molly Melching has helped thousands of communities achieve transformative social change through her NGO, Tostan, and its groundbreaking educational programs. Her primary role on the Board of Directors is to represent the interests of Tostan’s participants and staff and to ensure the vision and philosophies of the organization. Aimee Molloy has written a best-selling biography of Molly, recounting Tostan’s origin story: However Long the Night: Molly Melching and the Sparking of a Grassroots Movement for Human Rights in Africa.
Board Secretary & Agriculture Program Lead at Mastercard Foundation
Diaka is a Financial consultant with a focus on impact investing solutions. She was the West Africa Regional Manager for Root Capital, a social investment fund, supporting agribusinesses in access to finance and financial management training. Previously, she worked for Citibank and consulted for organizations such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. With her background in agricultural economics, banking and value chain finance in West Africa, she is supporting Tostan’s development towards community economic transformation.
Celeste is an accomplished financial leader with 25 years’ experience managing the financial affairs of multi-billion-dollar private capital and asset management firms. As chief financial officer, she has served on executive committees, worked closely with the CEOs and Board of Directors on strategic and tactical initiatives. Celeste is currently the President of 4Pines Fund Services, a firm she co-founded in 2000 that provides outsourced financial support and services to investment firms. Celeste holds a bachelor’s degree from Baruch College in NYC.
Maimouna Diop Ly
Maïmouna Diop Ly is a medical doctor specialized in public health with more than 27 years in the health, nutrition and social protection sector supporting the global universal health coverage and inclusion agenda. She has led health projects and programs at national and international levels including neglected tropical diseases, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, child survival. Through health multisectoral approach, she has worked in cross cutting domains such as gender, environment, climate change, water and sanitation. She has worked as civil servant of the Senegal Ministry of Health at the National Food and Nutrition Service as Head of the health Department for the Senegalese Red Cross and as Chief Health and Social Protection for the African Development Bank. She is currently a consultant Senior Advisor on Public Health Policy and Financing at Speak Up Africa supporting policies in health especially global health, research, and development agenda as well as the regional partnership with institutions such as the African Union Commission, the West African Health Organization. She is a former board member of United to combat Neglected Tropical Diseases and currently a board member for the Foundation for a Healthier Senegal. She has also recently set up a startup producing a complementary food based on local products for aging people. She holds a medical doctorate from the University Cheikh Anta Diop, a master’s degree in public health (D.E.A) from the University Paris VI, France, a master’s degree in management (D.E.S.S) from the Institut Supérieur de Management (ISM), Dakar, a post-graduate degree in tropical medicine & parasitology from the University Paris VI and one in dietetic and nutrition pathology from the University of Rennes.
Dr Terence Ngwa
Dr. Terence Ngwa is a veteran educator and organizational leader with over 20 years of national and international service. He has worked for many years to ensure an effective voice for educators, parents, and students in the K-12 setting, bringing together education stakeholders to collaborate on improving outcomes for students, especially those from historically marginalized backgrounds. He has designed and developed culturally responsive and inclusive content for school leadership preparation and supervised aspiring principals’ internship experiences.
Terence holds a doctorate degree in organizational leadership from Southeastern University, a Masters degree in educational leadership from Trinity Washington University, a Bachelors degree in French and English from the University of Yaoundé I, and certificates in Diversity and Inclusion and Collective Bargaining from Cornell University.
He is passionate about social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion and antiracist initiatives in education.
Emeritus Board Members
President of Breakthrough Strategies & Co-founder and Chair of Tostan Canada
Gail Kaneb is a change catalyst, working with individuals, groups, and corporations across North America to identify what they want to achieve, what the obstacles are, and how to surmount them. Gail brings this innovative knowledge and expertise to Tostan where she promotes organizational and fiscal development. Gail is a Co-Founder of Tostan Canada and has served as Board Chair for both Tostan and Tostan Canada.
Anne Charlotte Ringquist
Director of Tostan Sweden
Long interested in African culture and having a master’s degree in Social Anthropology, Anne Charlotte Ringquist has spent significant time studying and living in Africa. During a stay in Senegal, Anne Charlotte was introduced to Tostan and was immediately taken with the organization’s methods. She returned home to found Tostan Sweden and has since assisted the Board with public relations, fundraising, and advocacy work in Scandinavia and Europe.
Dr. Cheikh Seydi Moctar Mbacké
Board Member Emeritus
Dr. Cheikh Mbacké is a renowned consultant in research, training and institutional development on population, health and development in sub-Saharan Africa. His consultancy involves collaborating with different organizations in Africa, Europe, and the United States. He is a member of multiple institutions’ Board of Directors, leveraging his 30 years of experience in funding research and building research capacity for both individuals and institutions. As a volunteer advisor, he has been working since 2015 to secure resources and improve the sustainability of the Center for Applied Economics and Finance Research in Thiès (CREFAT) at the University of Thiès.
Previously, Dr. Mbacké spent ten years as a statistician-demographer at the Bureau National du Recensement du Sénégal, six years as a researcher and trainer at the Institut du Sahel in Bamako, and fourteen years at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he directed the Foundation’s Africa program and served as Vice President for Administration and Regional Programs until 2006. Dr. Cheikh Mbacké served as Chair of Tostan’s Board of Directors from July 2015 to December 2019, contributing to our mission of empowering communities to achieve their vision of well-being. wellbeing.