Tostan has announced a $1m fundraising commitment to expand its award-winning Community Empowerment Program (CEP) in Somalia, focusing on the regions of Somaliland and Puntland.

This commitment was announced at the Global Citizen Festival on Saturday 29 September 2012 as part of a range of new fundraising commitments to the Millennium Development Goals, designed to end extreme poverty.   

The festival made history as the largest syndicated music charity webcast and broadcast and was part of the Global Citizen Campaign, a social media and live-event campaign to urge world leaders to act towards ending extreme poverty, led by the Global Poverty Project.  

Molly Melching, Executive Director, Tostan said: “ We are dedicated to the empowerment of girls, women and whole African communities, and are thrilled to announce a new fundraising commitment to expand our human-rights based education program in Somalia.  We look forward to seeing donors and funders step up!”

Tostan has worked in Somalia since 2005 and has implemented its three-year Community Empowerment (CEP) in 70 communities reaching over 3,000 people.   The CEP is a three-year nonformal education and empowerment program which provides African communities with the knowledge and tools to lead their own development.    

Recent evaluations about Tostan’s CEP in Somalia have shown that the program:

  • increases the participation of women and girls in community dialogue, problem-solving and decision-making, and results in an increase in support for female leadership
  • increases awareness and knowledge about child/forced marriage and female genital cutting (FGC) as harmful practices (In July this year, 28 communities in Somaliland declared their abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC) and child/forced marriage)
  • ensures a growing respect for women’s and children’s rights and a decrease in violence against women and girls
  • provides capacity-building training and structures at a community level to ensure the achievement of sustainable development
  • has a transformative effect on women’s health behavior, with for example, more women visiting health providers during pregnancy.

Birima Fall, National Coordinator, Tostan Somalia said: “ This new funding could help us empower more Somali communities as they rebuild their country from the grassroots up.  We talk with communities about human rights, gender equality, conflict management and sustainable development.  We equip them to lead their own development initiatives and create lasting social change.”

Tostan, which means ‘breakthrough’ in the West African Wolof language, operates in eight countries and 20 African languages, and is applying its successful ‘community-led’ model for social change to address a wide range of Africa’s most pressing issues.


Notes to Editors

About Tostan

Tostan is an international nonprofit organization headquartered in Dakar, Senegal.  Tostan works primarily in rural regions and is dedicated to empowering African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights. Through its holistic education program Tostan ignites community dialogue on a wide range of topics including democracy, human rights, hygiene and health, and problem-solving, as well as provide training in literacy, numeracy, and project management skills.  Tostan is currently implementing its program in Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Somalia and The Gambia.

About the Global Citizen Festival

The Global Citizen Festival was part of the Global Citizen Campaign, a social media and live event campaign to urge world leaders to act towards ending extreme poverty in this generation. Tickets for the concert were earned through the Global Citizen platform.

The Global Citizen Festival was timed to create awareness around the UN General Assembly in New York, when world leaders convened to discuss the Millennium Development Goals and make commitments to end extreme poverty.

For further information, please contact:
Amy Fairbairn, Communications Manager, Tostan
Telephone: +221 33 820 55 89
Skype: amyfairbairn_tostan