by Emily Nielsen Jones
There are many worthy causes to give to, but one that is on my short list of favorite organizations is Tostan, which is not a conventional NGO delivering programs; rather, it’s model and theory of change is mobilizing the human agency of all of the members of the community to be the change they want for their own communities. The founder Molly Melching is a truly inspired individual who has lived in Senegal since she was in college.
Tostan creates a context for whole communities (in very rural areas in Senegal and surrounding countries) to own and integrate shared human rights for all. From there they’ve seen groupings of hundreds of villages decide to eradicate harmful practices like female genital cutting. In the process the villages have changed their overall patriarchal orientation, and men readily honor the shared authority and dignity of women.
This is a great stride toward a social norm which fully values the girl child and empowers girls and women in their human agency. Please check out Tostan tostan.org/donate and consider investing in their work of human rights-based social transformation!