Community Empowerment Program
At Tostan we believe that every human being – woman, man, and child – has the right to human dignity.
Human Rights-Based – Knowledge of human rights and dignity for all is the foundation for learning.
Respectful & Inclusive – Information is shared in a non-judgmental, inclusive way to create open dialogue.
Holistic & Sustainable – Our program covers five key impact areas and has sustainability at its core.
We envision a world where everyone is treated equally and respectfully; where they are able to live a life free from harm; where they have the tools they need to determine their own future and fulfill their potential.
Our Community Empowerment Program empowers communities to change their own lives.
We use a human rights-based approach that ensures everything we do reinforces human rights and responsibilities.
Community Empowerment Program (CEP) participants help to spread knowledge of human rights to all interconnected groups and their social networks.
CEP participants share their knowledge of human rights and responsibilities learned in class sessions to all interconnected groups and their social networks.
In this way, that knowledge becomes the catalyst for positive change on a community, regional and national level.
Using a coordinated outreach approach called ‘organized diffusion,’ we help to maximize the impact of this spread of knowledge.
At the beginning of the Community Empowerment Program, communities create committees to lead future development initiatives.
Communities create 17-member democratically-selected Community Management Committees (CMCs) trained in project management and social mobilization skills by Tostan. These committees continue to lead development projects that are relevant to their community needs, long after the community has completed the Tostan program.
Through our Empowered Communities Network we connect CMCs with other organizations for resources and skills needed to continue their community development.
Our Community Empowerment Program has been implemented for over 25 years with some of the following results:
number of communities from eight countries that have declared abandonment of FGC and child/forced marriage
children enrolled in school in Senegal in 2013 thanks to CMC activities
- Declarations of public abandonment of female genital cutting and child/forced marriage
- Promotion of grassroots democracy
- Enhancement of economic opportunities at a local level
- Emergence of female leadership in the community
- Improvement of literacy and math skills
- Improved behaviors for the reduction of malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases
- Increased enrollment of girls in formal school
- Protection of maternal and child health
- Protection of children’s rights.