Molly Melching has lived and worked in Senegal since 1974 and founded the international NGO, Tostan, in 1991. Tostan, meaning “breakthrough” in the Wolof language of Senegal, implements a holistic, three-year empowering education program that has engaged over 3,000 rural African communities in cross-cutting themes of democracy, human rights and responsibilities, peace and security, problem-solving, hygiene and health, literacy, project management skills, and early childhood development. The program has supported millions of African adults and youth to achieve life-transforming results and has led to more than 8,500 communities in eight African countries declaring their intention to abandon female genital cutting and child/forced marriage.
Molly and Tostan have received international recognition for their groundbreaking work and have received numerous awards including: The Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize, The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, UNESCO’s King Sejong Literacy Prize, and The Thomas J. Dodd Award for Justice and Human Rights. A New York Times best-selling book by acclaimed author Aimee Molloy, However Long the Night, vividly relates Molly and Tostan’s story and they are also featured in Melinda Gates’s 2019 book, Moment of Lift.