Earlier, in the village of Mboss in the Kaolack region of Senegal, the CMC applied their project management skills to organize an equipment rental business in their community. Any funds raised from these projects would be used to support further development activities in the community. These are just two of the many examples of communities leading their own development efforts after participating in Tostan’s nonformal education program.

Through our holistic Community Empowerment Program (CEP), communities are empowered with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage their own development projects. Participants are encouraged at the beginning of the program to share their vision for the community, identifying the areas of their daily life in which there could be improvement and how this could be achieved. Class sessions and CMC trainings are then focused on helping them translate this vision into reality. Participants are introduced to project management skills, such as how to conduct a feasibility study, create a budget, and establish a project plan. They learn how to engage the community through social mobilization and discuss techniques for effective problem solving. These abilities have already enabled participants like the CMC members in Sikilo and Mboss to create lasting and positive change in their communities and to make multiple impacts in education, health, governance, economic development, and the environment.

“We did not know how to put our money to work… Now, we have used that money to buy chairs and cooking pots that we rent out for celebrations, and the money from these rentals goes back into the women’s association’s fund.”

Oumou Ndiaye, CMC member and Women’s Association leader, Mboss, Senegal