Photo by Michelle Rintelman

Fatimata Ba, a Tostan Facilitator in the village of Ranérou, Senegal,  brings a wealth of experience and conviction to the Community Empowerment Program (CEP). As a facilitator, Fatimata leads CEP courses within the community, spearheading the discussion of topics like democracy, human rights, health, and hygiene. 

Fatimata first participated in the CEP in her home village of Bokidiawe, Senegal in 1992. She says that she was originally drawn to the program because of the program’s emphasis on human rights and how that focus aligned with her belief that everyone has the right to peace, security, health, and education.

In a recent interview, Fatimata shared that she has grown as a person through her involvement with Tostan.  There was no hesitation in her voice when she spoke of her aspirations.

“I want to live a better life. Take charge on my own so that I don’t have to wait for others to give to me.”

But for Fatimata, it doesn’t stop there. She has a passion for sharing knowledge. Fatimata has already seen widespread, positive change in Ranérou since the Tostan CEP was first implemented there. As a result of the health and hygiene components of the CEP , community members are more eager to keep their neighborhoods clean. They are also more conscious of preventative health measures including vaccinations and pre- and post-natal care, and in general are more willing to get help when they are sick. Women carry a heavy burden of work, but Fatimata affirms that men have realized that they need to participate in the household work as well.

Fatimata humble but proud of her role in the community and for that, she is well respected. Wherever she travels, Fatimata Ba is an agent for change, embodying and sharing the vision of human dignity for all.

Story by Michelle Rintelman, Tostan Volunteer in the Fouta