My name is Diatou Ndiaye and I have been with Tostan since 1996. I was a facilitator for many years and I was also a supervisor. In the role of facilitator, I led the Community Empowerment Program (CEP) classes over a three-year period, following the three-step process:

  • In the Kobi I (‘preparing the field’ in Mandinka), participants discuss democracy, human rights, problem solving, and
  • Kobi II covers health and hygiene
  • In the Aawde (‘planting the seed’ in Pulaar), they learn to read, write, do calculations, and project management skills.

The entire curriculum is grounded in human rights. 


To be an effective facilitator, one must live in the village. I was living in the community during the full three years. I participated in all the activities of their daily lives, and now I lead the CEP in Keur Simbara, a village in Thiès, Senegal. You have to adapt to the reality and the culture. Without this, you won’t gain their confidence. Once you are part of the community, you become part of the village. 


A supervisor oversees seven villages in two different rural communities. I visited each village twice a month to attend the classes and help the facilitator, monitor the progress, and see how they were progressing, how the information was delivered… In this role I also connected with these villages as I spent time with them.


I’m passionate about my work–I’ve spent 26 years with Tostan because I like the work I do. Why? It’s the community life, the positive changes that you see in areas of economics, society and, environment. And it’s for this reason that I’m still working with Tostan and even deeping my skills.


Before starting as a facilitator, I volunteered for four months with Tostan. I was in a remote village–dirt roads, no electricity, no running water. I volunteered because I wanted to learn how to teach literacy in Wolof. I had never seen this before and was intrigued. During this time, I went to classes led by the Imam’s daughter. In addition to facilitating CEP sessions, I assist the Community Management Committee at its monthly meetings and in elaborating their quarterly action plans, and accompany Keur Simbara in the execution of their planned activities. 



This story has been created in the framework of Tostan’s 30th Anniversary. 30 stories will be published in 2021, celebrating the amazing Tostan’s Family. This is a way for us to honor communities and local leaders as well as our teams, partners, networks, donors and anyone who has joined us on this journey.