Photo by Michelle Rintelman

Born in 1968, Aïchéttou attended primary and secondary school in Matam, Senegal and is fluent in French, Pulaar, and Wolof.  She travelled extensively throughout Senegal before returning to the northern village of Ranérou in 1992. When she arrived, she felt that women did not have anything to occupy themselves with outside of laundry, cooking, and housework. With this realization, she was inspired to create a local Groupement de Promotion Féminine (GPF), a Ranérou chapter of the women’s development organization called Groupement Bammtare.

Aïchèttou Babou was instrumental in welcoming the Tostan program to Ranérou and remains a strong advocate and partner to this day. She has devoted her adult life to women’s empowerment. Currently serving as the President of Senegal’s Comité Consultatif National de la Femme for the Matam Region of Senegal, she represents more than a thousand women’s groups, associations, and income generating enterprises in the regions of Matam, Ranérou, and Kanel. For the 28th anniversary of the Quinzième de la Femme, or Senegal’s annual Fifteen Days for Women, Aïchèttou helped to produce a video highlighting her organization’s goals and priorities. With the recent passage of legislation promoting gender equality in electoral positions, Aïchèttou takes advantage of every available opportunity to encourage the women in her community to continue their education and political involvement.

The women of Ranérou have come to trust Aïchéttou Babou because of her experience, training, and strong leadership skills. Since 1993, Aïchéttou  has served as a Community Health Agent and midwife. Women from Ranérou and surrounding communities come to her directly for consultations, deliveries, and vaccinations. . Her professional experiences and trainings in the areas of health and community management offer just a glimpse of the work she has done to further development in the realm of women’s health.  In addition to her work as a community health agent, Aïchéttou also represents her community officially as a Municipal Counselor.

Aichettou has much confidence in Tostan due to the positive change she perceives within the community — especially among the women and children — as a result of the community’s participation in Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP). She speaks for the women of Ranérou when she expresses her desire for the program to become even more strongly rooted in the community.  In the future, she hopes that Tostan can create more partnerships with women’s organizations in order to further develop the capacity of women and the department of Ranérou as a whole.

Story by Michelle Rintelman, Tostan Volunteer in the Fouta