Tostan Wins The Hilton Humanitarian Prize

Tostan-Senegal photo by Beryl GoldbergWe are thrilled to congratulate  Tostan, a leading Senegalese organization working to end female circumcision in Africa, for winning the world's largest humanitarian prize awarded by the Los Angeles-based Hilton Foundation.

An early Global Fund grantee, Tostan's model and campaigns have been feted for being sustainable and innovative by the likes of  UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Tostan, means "Breakthrough," in the West African language of Wolof, and was established by its founder Molly Melching, to reduce the high rates of illiteracy in Senegal, through education and literacy programs involving village women's groups.

Its focus today continues in rural regions in West and East Africa providing basic education and increasing community engagement in programs related to health , child welfare, human rights and democracy, the environment, and economic development.

Since 1991, Tostan has implemented its programs in over 2,600 communities in nine countries in Africa.Using traditional song, poetry, theatre and dance to educate people in West African villages about the dangers of FGM, Tostan's outreach has now expanded into five other countries consisting of diverse ethnic groups in West and East Africa, including , Guinea, The Gambia, Mauritania, Somalia, and Djibouti. Its grassroots approach to dealing sensitively with the issue of FGM has been widely acclaimed as a highly successful model for reducing the practice.


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