Monday, October 25, 2010

Molly Melching Representing Tostan at Major Women’s Conference in California

We are excited to announce that this week, Molly Melching, Executive Director of Tostan, will be participating in a major event: The 2010 Women’s Conference in California. Organized by the First Lady of California, Maria Shriver, and the Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Women’s Conference is the premier forum for women in the US.  The goal of the conference is to empower women to be architects of change in their own lives, their communities, and in the world.  More than 150 remarkable speakers—including women leaders, politicians, and actresses— will come together with 30,000 conference participants to educate, motivate, and inspire one another.  The Women’s Conference is also a global online community, where more than one million women unite to exchange ideas about how to really change the world.

Molly will be presenting Tostan's experience directly to this high-level audience as a part of a panel discussion at the main event entitled "Overcoming the Unimaginable." Molly's participation is a wonderful opportunity to share Tostan's mission and experience. The invitation alone is a testament to the ever-growing recognition for Tostan and the Community Empowerment Program.  
Please see the links below for more information.

A list of speakers which includes Molly Melching

Monday, October 4, 2010

Portrait of a Leader: Fatimata Ba

Story by Michelle Rintelman, Tostan Volunteer in the Fouta

Fatimata Ba, a Tostan Facilitator in the village of Ranérou, Senegal,  brings a wealth of experience and conviction to the Community Empowerment Program (CEP). As a facilitator, Fatimata leads CEP courses within the community, spearheading the discussion of topics like democracy, human rights, health, and hygiene. 

Fatimata first participated in the CEP in her home village of Bokidiawe, Senegal in 1992. She says that she was originally drawn to the program because of the program’s emphasis on human rights and how that focus aligned with her belief that everyone has the right to peace, security, health, and education.

In a recent interview, Fatimata shared that she has grown as a person through her involvement with Tostan.  There was no hesitation in her voice when she spoke of her aspirations.
“I want to live a better life. Take charge on my own so that I don’t have to wait for others to give to me.”

But for Fatimata, it doesn’t stop there. She has a passion for sharing knowledge. Fatimata has already seen widespread, positive change in Ranérou since the Tostan CEP was first implemented there. As a result of the health and hygiene components of the CEP , community members are more eager to keep their neighborhoods clean. They are also more conscious of preventative health measures including vaccinations and pre- and post-natal care, and in general are more willing to get help when they are sick. Women carry a heavy burden of work, but Fatimata affirms that men have realized that they need to participate in the household work as well.

Fatimata humble but proud of her role in the community and for that, she is well respected. Wherever she travels, Fatimata Ba is an agent for change, embodying and sharing the vision of human dignity for all.  

Photo by Michelle Rintelman
Blog adapted by Salim Drame