The community of Hamdallaye Diega in the Kolda region of Senegal participated in Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP) from 2008 to 2011. After completing the program, they welcomed the Reinforcement of Parental Practices Project (RPP).
Petty trading is the primary source of income for this community, and sometimes agricultural products such as peanuts, fruits, and soap also generate income.
Some members of the Community Management Committee (CMC) gave us their testimonies on the impact of the CEP in areas such as education, governance, health, and economic growth, as well as the challenges they have faced.
Amadou Baldé- Village chief
“When Tostan left, we built a small health center. A facilitator put us in contact with a nurse so we could get vaccinated in the village. We also paid 50,000 CFA ($100 USD) for children to obtain birth certificates so they could pass their exams.”
Fatoumata Diamanka- Child Protection commission
“We used to leave our children outside during the rainy season,without mosquito nets, and they got sick with the flu.”
Fatoumata Baldé- commission of Income Generating Activities
“It used to be difficult to even have 100 CFA ($ 0,20 USD), but since our training in the CEP, every month we have money coming into our funds thanks to the income generating activities.”
Dieynaba Baldé- Education commission
“We used to have problems with the state, in rural areas we didn’t register children for school, and we didn’t know where they were. But now we can watch over them at the start of each school year.”
Mariama Diao- Social Mobilization commission
“Every month I organize a big meeting to discuss social mobilization activities.”
Awa Sow- President of the CMC
“I am in charge of reinforcing social cohesion, and I supervise all the different commissions. We used to have so many misunderstandings and miscommunications, but now we mobilize ourselves over what’s really important.”
Adama Diao- Treasurer
“There have been big changes since our training in the CEP. We are now able to manage our own goods and we have the confidence to do so.”
Souleymane Diaw- Awareness-raising
“Women used to suffer by travelling so far to get vaccinated. Thanks to Tostan, we were able to set up a health center to host vaccination days.”
Aissatou Baldé- Secretary
“Before we didn’t monitor the activities in the village, not everyone knew what went on. I now organize and register planned activities so everyone can attend. “
“Children’s rights are now respected because we’ve set up an education center.Learning is not only at school but as home as well!”
Story and Photos by Valencia Rakotomalala, Communications Volunteer, Tostan