Who We Are

Tostan Canada is a registered Canadian charity that exists to raise awareness of and support for Tostan’s transformational community work in Africa.

Tostan is an international nonprofit headquartered in Dakar, Senegal. We have spent over 20 years developing a way to put communities in charge of their own futures through our grassroots holistic education program. By facilitating the spread of human rights education and practical skills, we provide rural communities with the knowledge and tools they need to determine their own futures and develop sustainably. We currently implement our model in six African countries.

Since Tostan’s founding by Molly Melching in 1991, over 200,000 individuals have participated in our three year Community Empowerment Program, affecting the lives of over three million people indirectly through our unique community outreach approach called organized diffusion.

Together with significant community-led progress and a foundation for development, Tostan’s program has led to key community successes in the areas of large-scale social change including the growing movement to abandon female genital cutting (FGC) in West Africa, the ending of child/forced marriage and domestic violence and the empowerment of women and girls.

Tostan’s approach to FGC abandonment has been integrated into national and international strategies including the Donor’s Working Group on FGM/C and 10 UN agencies. In Senegal, the Government has adopted a National Action Plan that puts Tostan’s human rights-based approach at the center of its plans to end FGC in Senegal.