This understanding creates a positive basis for equality that encourages and supports individuals’ participation in lessons and discussions. It is only through this open dialogue and communication that positive social transformation can occur. Our human-rights based approach also allows us to provide a holistic education. Human rights stem from a range of areas, including education, health, governance, economic development, and the environment. By using human rights as the building blocks of each lesson, Tostan is able to provide participants with a comprehensive and informative education.

Another advantage to centering the CEP on human rights is that it provides a reference point for development and social change. When a participant learns about his or her human rights, they are better able to gauge which actions protect that right, or put it at risk. For example, a community member might question the traditional practice of female genital cutting as it threatens a female’s right to health.

“Open the door for me to enter, so that I may know my human rights and the responsibilities for those rights.”

Song lyrics written by CEP participants