On a sunny Sunday afternoon in the remote village of Velingara Ferlo, 121 communities from the department of Ranerou in Northern Senegal publicly declared to abandon female genital cutting (FGC) and child/forced marriage. Of these 121 communities, only 20 participated in the Community Empowerment Program (CEP) financed by Radio Sweden, while the other 101 villages were adopted through the process of organized diffusion. The declaration was read in Pulaar and French by two community members, Khadidiatou Diallo and Aminata Sow. ....
Khalidou Sy, the National Coordinator of Tostan Senegal reminded guests and declaring communities about the Tostan approach, one that values dialogue, participation and communication. To meet the 2015 deadline for the national plan to accelerate abandonment of FGC in Senegal, he pointed out that progress had been made and that Senegal is on track to become the first country to fully abandon these harmful practices.
...The event ended with musicians playing traditional Pulaar folk music in the background. Overall, the declaration was a success for social mobilization, and it presented an opportunity for change on a large scale. Ousmane Ba, the president of the Departmental Council of Ranerou noted, “Changes in mentalities and behavior take time, but we must continue the work we do.”