In 1998, the nongovernmental organization Tostan implemented a village empowerment program in southern and western Senegal to help communities, especially women, improve living and health conditions in their villages, and to mobilize villages to hold public declarations supporting abandonment of harmful practices, particularly female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage. The program included modules on hygiene, literacy and numeracy, human rights, and children’s and women’s health. The Tostan approach has since been implemented more broadly in Senegal and in Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Sudan. In 2005–06, FRONTIERS evaluated the long-term impact of the program, focusing on the abandonment of FGM/C and child marriage by participating and nonparticipating villages, and on its long-term impact on daily life in participating villages. As noted in this brief, the Tostan program effected positive changes in women’s knowledge, awareness, and social standing. With the accompanying anti-FGM/C declaration, this model strongly influenced the initiation of abandonment of FGM/C in the Senegalese villages that received the program. However, the region’s extreme poverty and lack of basic infrastructure impede full utilization of knowledge and behavior changes gained.
"Senegal: Education and public declarations contribute to Tostan's success," FRONTIERS OR Summary. Washington, DC: Population Council, 2008.
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