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Molly Melching has lived in Senegal since 1974 and founded the international NGO, Tostan, in 1991. Tostan, meaning “breakthrough” in Wolof, implements a holistic, 3-year empowering education program that has engaged over 3,000 rural African communities in themes of democracy, human rights, health, literacy, and project management skills. The program has led to over 20,000 rural women holding leadership posts and over 8,800 communities in eight African countries publicly deciding to abandon harmful traditional practices.
Molly and Tostan have received international recognition for their successful work in the areas of health, literacy, social entrepreneurship, social norm change and human rights education including: The Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize, The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, The Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights and UNESCO’s King Sejong Literacy Prize. A New York Times best-selling book by Aimee Molloy, However Long the Night, vividly relates Molly and Tostan's story. They are also featured in Melinda Gates's book, Moment of Lift and Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s: The Book of Gutsy Women.