Fatou Coulibaly, 56, serves as a Community Management Committee member and local councillor in Soudiane, Senegal. Fatou participated alongside Marième in Tostans three-year Community Empowerment Program in the late 1990’s, learning human rights-based empowering education, the ability to read and write, social mobilization, local democracy and income-generation and project management.
“This education has given us so much that makes a difference in our daily lives. We take the kids to the hospital when they are ill rather than try to treat them ourselves with leaves and plants. We understand the importance of washing our hands and we have cleared off any branches and water puddles that attract malaria mosquitoes. Now, we clean the entire village once a week,” says Fatou Coulibaly.
Today, Fatou and Marieme have the confidence to speak in the presence of men in their own Community Management Committee, helping to make vital decisions for the community as a whole.
“I still remember that incredible feeling of being seen. Everyone listened and my opinion mattered. I also realized how discriminated against women had been. We had no worth. Our men treated us poorly, but I don’t place the blame on them, that is how all families lived,” - Fatou Coulibaly.