On Wednesday, October 7th, the Center for Global Development hosted an event to launch the Center’s new report, Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health. Speakers at this event included prominent leaders in development, including U.S. State Department Ambassador-at-large of Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer and the two authors of the report, Miriam Temin and Ruth Levine.
In her keynote speech, Ambassador Verveer referenced Tostan’s success in empowering women to lead their own development, which has led to over 4,000 communities declaring their abandonment of the harmful practices of female genital cutting (FGC) and child/forced marriage.
Additionally, Start with a Girl highlights Tostan for its innovative programs in the effort to eliminate FGC. The report reads:
Tostan, which deploys community-based approaches to reducing harmful traditional practices, is widely recognized because the work has been evaluated and expanded across several countries. In Senegal, Somalia, and elsewhere in the region, Tostan uses education and organizing to mobilize communities to make public declarations to cease FGC and child marriage, with demonstrated effect. Tostan’s work in Senegal includes a basic education program for women on health, human rights, literacy, and problem-solving. As women learn about health and their rights, they focus on FGC and child marriage. They work toward organizing public declarations where men, women, religious leaders, and other stakeholders oppose harmful practices. The program has had a significant effect on community attitudes toward FGC, leading to a dramatic decrease in the number of parents who intend to have their daughters cut. Evaluation results also show positive impacts on child marriage.
Click the following link to read the full report, Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health. To watch a video of the launch, which includes Ambassador Verveer’s remarks regarding the Tostan program, please click here.