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Aug 11, 2020

A powerful conversation on social norm change and the power of human rights education.  Rach talks with award winner Molly Melching, founder of Tostan, shares her personal journey to address the taboo of female genital cutting in West Africa and transform the lives of thousands of communities across the globe.  We are called to explore the power of culture, dialogue and informed choice.  Eye opening, heart opening and an inspiring call to action. 

Join us again for another cuppa next Tuesday.  

In this podcast you will hear of:
  • How Women found their voice through human rights conversations and social norms exploration in Senegal
  • Molly's personal story and perspectives on culture in West Africa & Wolof language.
  • How female genital cutting was eradicated in communities in West Africa
  • The power of perspectives - when we learn about others we learn about ourselves.
  • Tea drinking in Senegal,  Moringa tea & Diabetes.

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More on Molly: 

Find Tostan

Find Rach Allan 

For show notes and past guests, please visit


Molly Melching has lived in Senegal since 1974 and founded the international NGO, Tostan, in 1991. Tostan, meaning “breakthrough” in Wolof, implements a holistic, three-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 thousands of women holding leadership posts and over 8,800 communities in eight African countries publicly declaring their commitment to abandon harmful traditional practices.

Molly and Tostan have received international recognition for their work in the areas of social norm change and human rights education including: The Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize, The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship 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 and they are also featured in Melinda Gates's 2019 book, Moment of Lift.

Gillespie, Diane & Melching, Molly (2010), “The Transformative Power of Democracy and Human Rights in Nonformal Education: The Case of Tostan”, Adult Education Quarterly, 60 (4), 477-498. (Attached to this email)
Ashoka, (2013) “The Crucial Role Of Empathy In Development: Q&A With Social Entrepreneur Molly Melching"
Melching, Molly (2013), “To Change Society, First Change Minds”, CNN.
Martin, Courtney (2013), “However Long the Night: Q&A with Molly Melching”, Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Q&A:: A Senegal-based humanitarian group helps African communities reject harmful practices against women
 Dugger, Celia (2011) “Senegal Curbs a Bloody Rite for Girls and Women” New York Times Video and Article.

Books where Tostan is featured prominently:
However Long the Night by Aimee Molloy (Molly and Tostan's story) (2013) HarperOne
Gates, Melinda. Moment of Lift (2019) Flatiron books.
Clinton, Hillary, The Book of Gutsy Women.  (2019) Simon and Schuster publishers.
Martin, Roger. & Osberg, Sally. (2015), Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works, Published by Harvard Business Review Press.
Carter, President Jimmy. (2014) A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. Simon & Schuster.
Kristof, Nicholas (2009), Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Knopf (Tostan featured in Chapter 13)