Tostan’s Strengthening Democracy and Civic Engagement Initiatives

By Aaron Bower
September 1, 2023

Strengthening Democracy and Civic Engagement: Tostan’s Path to Empowering Communities


At razeup, we are dedicated to supporting organizations that champion democracy and civic engagement. Today, we are excited to shine a spotlight on Tostan and their latest innovation: the Strengthening Democracy and Civic Engagement (SDCE) model. As an enhancement to their renowned Community Empowerment Program (CEP), the SDCE model focuses on empowering communities, fostering collaboration with local governments, and driving sustainable positive change. Join us as we explore Tostan’s SDCE initiative and its transformative impact on communities.

The Concept of Strengthening Democracy and Civic Engagement:

Tostan’s SDCE model represents a strategic addition to their comprehensive three-year Community Empowerment Program. It aims to harness the untapped potential of decentralization and local governance efforts, empowering communities to collectively pursue well-being. By fostering active civic engagement and participatory decision-making, Tostan enables communities to advocate for their needs and collaborate effectively with local government structures.

Context, Timeframe, and Importance of SDCE:

Tostan’s SDCE model emerged in response to the Senegalese government’s “Acte III de la Décentralisation” enacted in 2013. Recognizing the untapped potential of this policy, Tostan piloted the SDCE concept in collaboration with UNICEF in eight districts across four regions of Senegal between 2018 and 2019. The positive results of this pilot led Tostan to integrate the SDCE model into all their programs. This integration highlights the importance of strengthening democracy and civic engagement in achieving sustainable community development.

The Transformative Impact of Strengthening Democracy and Civic Engagement:

The SDCE training modules provided by Tostan equip communities and elected officials with essential knowledge and skills for effective collaboration and governance. By exploring topics such as democracy, good governance, decentralization, human rights, and participatory development planning, Tostan empowers communities to engage with local government structures, hold them accountable, and advocate for collective well-being. This transformative approach not only creates institutional change but also contributes to sustainable positive change at the grassroots level.

The Role of Tostan’s SDCE initiative:

Tostan’s SDCE initiative operates through Community Management Committees (CMCs), which play a vital role in raising awareness about the roles and responsibilities of elected officials within the community. By fostering community engagement and collaboration, the SDCE initiative enables communities to collaborate effectively with decentralized government structures. In addition, Tostan supports the establishment of Children’s Municipal Councils, providing a platform for young voices to be heard and incorporating children’s needs in budgeting and planning processes.


Tostan’s Strengthening Democracy and Civic Engagement (SDCE) model exemplifies their commitment to empowering communities and bolstering democratic values. By fostering active civic engagement, promoting collaboration with local government, and providing essential knowledge and skills, Tostan paves the way for sustainable positive change. At Razeup, we applaud Tostan’s efforts to empower communities, promote democratic principles, and foster collective well-being.

To learn more about Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP), please click here.
To learn more about Tostan’s Community Management Committees (CMCs), please click here.

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Written by Aaron Bower

Razeup's Marketing Director, your dedicated charity captain for navigating the vast ocean of digital marketing possibilities.

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