Molly Melching of the Southern California Women’s Forum (The Trusteeship) received the Dodd Prize for Human Rights last week, presented by the University of Connecticut.
The Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights is awarded every two years to individuals and groups who advance the cause of international justice and human rights globally.
President William Jefferson Clinton received the award as well, taking the stage with Molly Melching in a ceremony which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the Dodd Center.
Melching traveled to Senegal in 1974 as an exchange student, intending to stay for only a few months, and she ended up remaining there for more than 40 years, working on community development, education and empowerment. Her work focuses on engaging communities in their own languages in order to foster community ownership in the development process.
In the 1980s, her grassroots efforts evolved into the organization that is now Tostan (which means “breakthrough” in the Wolof language). Currently, the original education model created by Melching has been adopted in six African countries in 22 languages. This year, Tostan celebrated 25 years as an active organization. Tostan is a recipient of the Leadership and Education Fund from the Trusteeship (the Southern California Women’s Forum).
View complete event coverage from the University of Connecticut’s news site here.