Good Things are Happening in West Africa

West Africa is one of many regions around the world where extreme poverty and inequality persist despite decades of targeted aid efforts. As a result, communities are more vulnerable to the compound effects of state and non-state conflict, famine, climate change, disease and other global challenges. They are at risk–and their risk puts many others at risk. 

However, when we see only the problems and not the people, we overlook the greatest resource available to communities everywhere: the creativity and solutions formed by people themselves. 

A local solution has now been tested and proven to work in more than 3,000 communities in West Africa. In the Soudiane community featured above women seized their unique position to develop and model their own sustainable path forward. With the Tostan approach, they are moving forward with agency, not aid. 

Tostan’s holistic program has been building local capacity to address complex and intersecting problems at the grassroots for 25 years. In that time we have seen results in many issue areas such as:

  • WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT: Over 20,000 women selected into community leadership positions and a growing number into elected office;
  • PEACE & SECURITY: 1,500 local conflicts resolved often with women and youth leading the process and contributing to the solution;
  • GOVERNANCE: More than 100,000 people learn about democracy and how to make decision-making equitable;
  • HEALTH: Well over 3 million people now living in a community that has publicly declared an end to harmful traditional practices such as female genital cutting and child/forced marriage, and;
  • EDUCATIONOver 40,000 people, mostly women, have improved their reading skills thanks to our innovative training on mobile phones.

We are facing unprecedented demand for this programs from thousands of communities across Africa.

Like Tostan villages, you “Global Mobilizers,” play a critical role in supporting this movement in many ways, most directly through regular donations. New “Tostan Pods,” or chapters, are popping up all over the world in places like Copenhagen, London, the French countryside, Montreal, San Diego, Boston, Seattle, Portland ME, New York City and San Clemente. You make us stronger. And thanks to your support, the program’s results are breathtaking.

In 2017 every direct donation we raise from $10 to $1 million will first go to launch the Breakthrough Generation: a push to reach yet another 150 communities in four countries while deepening engagement in the prior 150 communities with sustainable development and Peace & Security efforts.  

Together Leadership Donors have already committed $3 million of the $5 million needed to launch this program. This is the second time they are investing in Tostan. The first 150 communities they reached are finishing the program right now and planning declarations to end child marriage and female genital cutting, gatherings that will involve more than 400 villages who they have reached with the message you will hear about in this film.

It’s easy to join as a Global Mobilizer and receive quarterly reports on the multiple ways that your giving is making a difference. You just make a gift that is meaningful to you, one that you are inspired by when you hear stories like that of Mariam Bamba, Khadija Ndiaye and Mariam Tounkara in Soudiane*, and know that others are making contributions of their own. Become a part of a global community that reaches more than 10,000 direct participants in 2017.

Give human dignity historic reach. Join the Breakthrough Generation today!

*Want to learn more about these incredible women and the community of Soudiane? Click here.