Strengthening Civic Engagement

The largest barriers to democracy building stem from a lack of transparency and accountability. This is exacerbated by the vestiges of colonialism, a rapidly growing population, and other factors, including the frequent exclusion of women from decision-making processes. The inclusion of women in decision making goes hand in hand with democracy building.

In the 2020s, the maintenance and development of democracy in Africa have been particularly affected by:

  • a lethal pandemic
  • economic and physical insecurity
  • systemic corruption
  • gender inequalities

“More Africans live under fully or partially authoritarian states today than at most points in the last two decades”. (Council on Foreign Relations)

Barriers to democracy and civic engagement are:

  • Holding countries back from economic growth
  • Undermining the justice system
  • Contributing to security risks
  • Increasing inequality

”Younger Africans do not want to go back to one-party states or military rule. They want to improve on the baseline they’ve been given.”
 – Chris Fomunyoh, National Democratic Institute

It’s hard to imagine progress toward the sustainable development goals without strong foundations of democracy, transparency, accountability and inclusion. And that’s why Tostan’s groundbreaking work in civic engagement is needed more than ever.

By donating to Tostan, you’ll be contributing directly to increased civic engagement, increased transparency and accountability, reduced corruption and as a result, increased community wellbeing.

A recent report on democracy-building from Freedom House shows that “sub-Saharan Africa led the world in both positive and negative movement” with regard to democratic principles. This shows that there is a great need for democracy-building work in the region and also that there is a great deal of potential for success.

Tostan is helping equip local elected officials with the tools and knowledge they need to be accountable and effective community leaders.

Much has been done and there is much left to do

Women have historically been excluded from holding political leadership positions in West Africa. However, this is gradually changing, in large part thanks to Tostan.

“The knowledge I acquired at Tostan greatly influenced my decision to vie for a political office as a candidate for the position of National Women Councilor for my district.”
– Ms. Fatoumatta Jabbie, who intends to stand for the National Assembly The Gambia’s Upper River region and become the first elected woman to win a seat.

Tostan’s Strengthening Democracy and Civic Engagement program encourages newly-elected women to speak up alongside male elected officials, working with men and women to improve inclusion. The program also supports local governing councils, fostering a deeper understanding of their role and how to carry out their responsibilities to better represent the people’s interests.

You can help us forge exciting new partnerships between local communities and their elected leaders to increase the momentum of progress at the community level.

Accountability is

Councils are

Outcomes are

Tostan has helped spark hundreds of public declarations to promote human rights. Our work involves forming deep, personal connections, leading to tangible, systems-level change. Your contribution will directly go toward amplifying this systems-level change.

Bolstering civic engagement is a key approach to boosting societal resilience. The impact is substantial and the change is lasting. Tostan’s way of partnering respectfully over thirty years provides tools for communities to find their own solutions to building democracy. Ongoing research and data demonstrates that Tostan’s holistic approach is effective in equipping communities for long-term change. Supporting Tostan means supporting communities in leading movements for sustainable development, democracy and human rights in the region.

By donating to Tostan, you are moving the needle on the social development goals to “build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. You’re enabling Tostan to share its learning with leaders and other organizations to further accelerate change. By contributing to Tostan, you’re shaping the future.