The Wallace Global Fund has agreed to lead current efforts and to commit a minimum of $100,000 per year over the next five years. UNICEF is supporting Tostan's efforts in the three target countries with at least $3.5 million in support over the next three years, and Tostan's anonymous donor has indicated support for over $3 million during that time.
Senegal: In its home country of Senegal, where it has operated for the past 16 years, Tostan plans to implement its program in 500 additional communities over the next three years, and 500 more by 2012. Tostan has recently completed internal studies of the geographic regions of Senegal that can most benefit from implementation of the program (specifically in relation to the abandonment of female genital cutting), and will use this information to guide selection and implementation. Tostan works closely with the government of Senegal, UNICEF, and many local actors in the country.
The Gambia: Though Tostan only recently opened classes in The Gambia, its geographic relation to Senegal and it similarities in ethnic groups and local languages have facilitated a rapid entry into the country. Tostan will implement its program in 250 communities in The Gambia over the next three years. Tostan is working closely with the government of The Gambia, as well as UNICEF and local NGOs.
Guinea: Tostan has operated its program in Guinea since 2002, and at the request of several members of the government, plans to greatly accelerate its programmatic presence in this country. Ranked consistently as one the poorest countries in the world, Guinea offers a true chance for Tostan to further demonstrate the potential of its program to have regional and national impacts in cross-cutting areas including health, democratic participation, and education.
Additional Countries: Wallace Global Fund and other strategic investors will provide funding and offer business advice on expansion plans in additional countries in West Africa. Tostan has a large amount of experience in expansion: in addition to its operations in Senegal, The Gambia, and Guinea, the organization is currently running start-up projects in Mauritania, Somalia, and Djibouti. Tostan is currently interested in expanding to Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea-Bissau, and will evaluate other countries on a case-by-case basis as potential projects arise.
Tostan has identified the following three implementation options for bringing its program into new countries. Based on previous experience, the Option 2 expansion model is Tostan's preferred method for implementing in new countries as it is expected to deliver the highest quality of sustainable implementation.
Option 1: Direct Tostan implementation, long-term Tostan presence
Example: Senegal, Guinea
In countries where Tostan anticipates funding for projects for more than five years, and where the country selection criteria indicate the likelihood of success, Tostan may decide to establish a more permanent presence, including a national office, a fully-trained local staff, and registration with the national government. Tostan has implemented the Community Empowerment Program in over 2,300 communities in Senegal since 1991 and is expanding with other donors to new areas in Guinea. Tostan continues to collaborate with local NGOs in all new projects. In both Senegal and Guinea, Tostan has also trained Community Management Committees at the village level to become officially recognized associations capable of designing and implementing their own projects.
Option 2: Tostan-trained and consulted partner implementation, shorter-term Tostan presence
Example: Somalia, Mauritania
Under this option, Tostan may enter into a relationship in which it provides training and coaching during the first implementation cycle (preparation phase plus 30-month program) to well-qualified organizations capable of implementing the Tostan model. Under this option, Tostan manages the program during the first cycle and does training for partner NGOs, then transfers management to local organizations showing sufficient capacity to continue implementation during the second 30-month cycle. Tostan coaches and supports the NGOs to ensure quality control of the program during the second cycle.
Option 3: Tostan-trained partners, no Tostan presence in country
In certain cases, Tostan may decide to provide training on its approach and program to other NGOs, preferably at the Tostan Training Center in Thiès, Senegal. This training model may involve a certification process currently under discussion.
Standard Steps for New Country Consideration and Selection:
1. Donor and Tostan exchange geographic and programmatic interest areas and priorities.
2. Tostan and donor assess feasibility of implementation in country, taking into consideration available resources and partners, geographic and political realities, and long-term potential for implementation.
3. When possible, representatives of donor, the country government, and local NGOs visit the Tostan office in Thiès, Senegal for a comprehensive overview of the Tostan program including approach, content, methodology, implementation strategy, and results as well as presentation of the social convention theory. This visit includes field visits and discussions with participants and staff.
4. Donor and Tostan discuss and select implementation options.
5. Tostan establishes relationships with relevant government agencies within target country
6. Tostan identifies potential local NGO partners.
7. Tostan submits proposal and budget to donor:
8. Tostan, donor, and government seek funds for project implementation.
9. Donor signs agreement with Tostan.
The Wallace Global Fund's efforts against FGC (sometimes also called 'female genital mutilation,' or FGM) in Africa date back two decades. Over the years, the complexity of the practice's deep-seated cultural, and sometimes religious, roots has challenged the foundation to constantly refine its strategies. Tostan has worked for many years in rural villages in western Africa where the prevalence of FGC is upwards of 90 percent, and has developed a comprehensive approach which WGF believes holds promise of completely eradicating the practice of FGC within our lifetimes. The approach is built on careful, respectful work with community members, as well as rigorous study of social change, 'tipping points,' and lessons learned from the eradication of the nearly-universal practice of foot-binding among the Han ethnic group in China in the early twentieth century. For WGF, which has other program areas relating to women's empowerment and reproductive rights, Tostan's culturally respectful, human-rights-based educational approach has been startling in its power not just to eradicate FGC, but to educate and empower girls and women, and, through involving men as well, to fundamentally and simultaneously lift up a society and its respect for women. Tostan's model has been proven effective and sustainable, according to preliminary findings from a recent evaluation by UNICEF, and WGF is interested in helping expand it to all parts of Africa where FGC and other harmful traditional practices like child marriage are practiced.
CGI, as a forum for funders and organizations engaged in global problems of health, poverty, and education, has motivated and empowered the WGF to pursue partnerships to take Tostan's cross-cutting and effective programs to scale, to fundamentally improve the lives of women across Africa.
Tostan is a US 501(c)(3) nongovernmental organization based in Senegal West Africa, dedicated to providing lifelong nonformal education to Africans who have little or no access to formal schooling. Tostan's mission is to empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights. 'Tostan' is a Wolof word that means 'breakthrough.' Tostan believes that when participants start with what they already know, they can expand and 'break through' to new knowledge and practices and easily share with others what they have learned. With such education, they can take the lead in the development of their own communities. Tostan's predominantly African staff includes over 100 field coordinators, supervisors, and organizational administrators and over 500 trained facilitators working in mostly rural regions to increase community engagement in projects related to health, literacy, the environment, child welfare, conflict resolution, and economic development.
Tostan's core educational program, the Community Empowerment Program (CEP), engages participants in discussion, analysis, problem-solving, and action regarding key issues they face in their families and communities. To date, various versions of the CEP have been implemented in more than 2,300 villages in Senegal, 193 villages in Guinea, and in seven other countries in West and East Africa.
Communities participating in the Tostan program have brought about unprecedented results: over 2,600 communities have publicly abandoned the practice of female genital cutting and over 2,400 have publicly abandoned child/forced marriage. Tostan communities have also brought about changes in many other areas: improvements in literacy, numeracy, and management skills; the empowerment and involvement of women in communities; the promotion of girls' education; reduced domestic violence against women; improved democratic participation; and improvements in maternal and infant health, among many other outcomes.
Tostan has been repeatedly recognized as a leader in community development and social transformation. Tostan has won the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize (2007), the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize (2007), and Sweden's Anna Lindh Award for human rights (2005). UNICEF, the WHO, USAID, Population Reference Bureau, the Population Council, and several other organizations have highlighted Tostan's success and called for the replication of Tostan's Community Empowerment Program across Africa. In addition, many governments and local NGO partners, as well as hundreds of local communities are requesting that Tostan expand its efforts quickly to address the challenges facing Africa.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
In three years, the following will be achieved in funded clusters of communities participating in the Tostan CEP program:
1. A viable, durable Community Management Committee will be officially recognized, functioning and active in each village, will have completed three village improvement projects, and will participate in the international Tostan 'Empowered Communities Network'
2. Previously illiterate or semi-literate participants in each village will be functionally literate and numerate in their local language and using their literacy skills in their lives and community activities
3. Women participants in each village will engage with greater frequency in local leadership roles in the community
4. The health care and status of women participants and their children will improve in each participating village
5. It is likely that many participating villages will abandon harmful traditional practices in favor of more healthy practices in keeping with the dignity and rights of village members and the importance of cultural traditions.
October, 2007 - Launch of Tostan expansion in Senegal
January, 2008 - Launch of Tostan expansion in Guinea and the Gambia
(Note: Exact phasing of activities and milestones can vary depending on local conditions. Tostan bases its program schedule on local realities including rainy seasons and harvest times).
January, 2008 - Planning meetings with local NGO partners and other NGOs working in Guinea on a large scale such as the USAID NGO Consortium
January, 2008 - Conducting site study for potential implementation sites; village selection; baseline study to measure pre-intervention data
January, 2008 - Printing of Community Empowerment Program Modules in Soussou, Fulani, Malinké, Guerze, and Kissi (the five Guinean local languages Tostan works in)
February, 2008 - Training of Tostan facilitators on Tostan pedagogy and the Kobi 1 Module
March - July, 2008 - Facilitating Community Empowerment Program, Kobi I module which includes human rights, democracy and problem-solving skills in communities in four natural regions of Guinea: Lower Guinea, Middle Guinea, Upper Guinea and Forest Guinea
April, 2008 - Training Community Management Committees (CMCs) on leadership and management
May, 2008 - Training of Social Mobilization Agents (SMAs) to diffuse the Tostan program
April - September, 2008 - Conducting educational debates in all four natural regions to share and discuss Tostan program lessons
August - December, 2008 - Facilitating Community Empowerment Program, Kobi II module which includes hygiene and health in communities in four natural regions of Guinea: Lower Guinea, Middle Guinea, Upper Guinea and Forest Guinea
September, 2008 - Holding training seminars for local elected officials and journalists in four natural regions of Guinea
August - December, 2008 -: Organizing inter-village meetings for Tostan Guinea CMCs
December, 2008 - Internal evaluation of Kobi modules I and II