In However Long the Night, Aimee Molloy tells the unlikely and inspiring story of Molly Melching, an American woman whose experience as an exchange student in Senegal led her to found Tostan and dedicate almost four decades of her life to the girls and women of Africa.
This moving biography details Melching's beginnings at the University of Dakar and follows her journey of 40 years in Africa, where she became a social entrepreneur and one of humanity's strongest voices for the rights of girls and women.
Inspirational and beautifully written, However Long the Night: Molly Melching's Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph is a passionate entreaty for all global citizens. This book is published in partnership with the Skoll Foundation, dedicated to accelerating innovations from organizations like Tostan that address the world's most pressing problems.
Molloy offers a moving account of one woman's struggle to empower African women and challenge tradition. Molly Melching, founder of the NGO Tostan in Senegal, went from a quiet life in small-town Illinois to running an educational organization that has had remarkable success in ending the practice of female genital cutting (FGC). This practice, known by most Senegalese women as "the tradition," is intended to prepare a girl for marriage, and is performed by the women themselves. Most women consider the tradition to be a religious obligation required by the Koran, though the side effects include infections, childbirth difficulties, and even death. Melching, having lived in Senegal since 1974 as an exchange student, founded Tostan to set up classes in villages throughout the country to educate women on health, literacy, and human rights. After initial hesitation, they schooled students about the many health issues involved in FGC. In one village, women resolved to no longer cut their daughters, declaring so publicly in 1997. Native women and men travelled around the country to speak about the practice and convinced other villages to publicly end it. There is now the possibility of ending the practice in Senegal within one generation. Reading like a novel, this book demonstrates the power of education and grassroots organizing. Kristine Dahl, ICM.