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Gifts for Growth

This year, our staff decided to focus Swahili fundraising efforts and choose a single organization with far-reaching impact. After much research, we decided on Tostan, headquartered in Dakar, Senegal. To help raise funds toward Tostan's work in Africa, we are offering a selected product monthly as Swahili’s Gift for Growth. A portion of the sale of each item will be contributed directly to Tostan. This doubly beneficial manner of fundraising supports the prosperity of hard working artisans and their families and promotes Tostan's great work in community development.

Tostan currently works in eight African countries and is recognized internationally as a contributing force to the ending of female genital cutting in more than 7000 African communities. In addition to tackling that timely initiative, Tostan educates individuals about their basic human rights and responsibilities, respectfully encouraging African communities to advance cooperatively in five key areas: education, health, environment, governance and economic growth.

We choose to support Tostan because the organization's development model echoes our belief in a strong, healthy Africa built by heartfelt community members at the grassroots level. Tostan's Community Empowerment Program (CEP) respectfully engages communities in their own languages using modern and traditional African methods of learning. It facilitates community ownership of the development process, ensuring communities are the leaders of their own positive development.

The organization's success stories extend over two decades. Founded in 1991 by Molly Melching, a US student who first arrived in Senegal in 1974, Tostan is a Wolof word meaning "breakthrough". The organization currently facilitates development in Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Somalia and The Gambia. Governments, relief councils and researchers worldwide commend the strength and appropriateness of the Tostan model as more African communities rise to the challenge of tailoring their own lasting prosperity.

To learn more about Tostan, visit


Swahili Modern's Gift for Growth by Month:

March 2014: Recycled Pop Can Bicycle