On July 15th, Tostan was featured on PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly! PBS crew members Fred de Sam Lazaro, Tom Adair, and Nikki See traveled to rural Senegal to profile the abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC) among communities with which Tostan partners.

Discussing the unprecedented number of communities abandoning harmful practices, Molly Melching, Tostan’s founder and executive director, said: “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would be sitting here years…[after the first public declaration], 13 years later, saying that 4,792 communities in Senegal had abandoned. In the beginning it was just unthought of, unbelievable, because it was so taboo.”

In 1997, 35 women in the village of Malicounda Bambara declared their abandonment of FGC and other harmful traditions upon learning about human rights and the negative effects of these practices through Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP), a human rights-based education program. From that first declaration, the movement has grown to include over 6,000 communities in six African countries.

The PBS crew was hosted by two communities involved in Tostan’s CEP. During their visit they met with CEP participants and Tostan team members as well as attended a CEP class, a community meeting, and a film screening. Tostan is currently collaborating with communities in eight African countries.
Click here to watch the PBS spotlight of Tostan!