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Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP) illustrates the transformational power of community-led participatory critical awareness raising and social learning processes to empower people, shift norms, behaviours, and inspire a wider movement. An estimated 5.5 million people across 8,830 communities across West Africa have publicly declared their abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and early marriage, and the movement is still growing. In Senegal, by 2011 5,315 communities had participated in 56 public declarations to abandon FGM/C and it fell by more than half in participating villages. The programme has also had a positive impact across other aspects of gender equality and in governance, education, health, environment, and economy in a range of West African countries communities from eight countries in Africa (Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Somalia and Gambia).

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