In seven of the 11 regions of Senegal, radio broadcasts provide a means to build on the Community Empowerment Program (CEP), Tostan’s 30-month holistic education program, and to share empowering information with an even wider audience. Every week, topics such as human rights, health, and democracy are discussed in national languages, often eliciting enthusiastic responses from listeners.
Radio programs are a part of Tostan’s community-led outreach—programming that develops communication networks between villagers in order to facilitate the continued discussion of topics introduced during the CEP. Intervillage meetings, awareness-raising events, and marches are other ways in which community-led outreach quickly spreads news and information throughout communities.
In July, Tostan Volunteer Coordinator, Zoe Williams, her assistant, Cassandra Scarpino, and the Dakar Communications Assistant, Sydney Skov, visited six regions in Senegal to meet with regional Tostan staff and witness the effectiveness of these types of programs first-hand. While in the Kolda region of Senegal, the visiting volunteers met Binta Diao, a former CEP participant who rose through the ranks as a Tostan CEP facilitator to become a Tostan supervisor, managing facilitators in nine villages while conducting awareness-raising radio shows three times a week. Over the past eight years, her radio program has provided a forum for discussion for local communities.
Sydney traveled with Binta to the Kolda radio station where she listened in on a broadcast focusing on the issue of malaria. Binta discussed symptoms, treatment, and prevention while including listeners in the conversation by taking over 15 calls from community members.
Community-led outreach programs, such as radio broadcasts, exemplify Tostan’s commitment to providing education and empowering communities to become leaders in sustainable social change.