International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM: Tostan Fellows Make a Difference

February 6 is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, a day of raising awareness to eradicate female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

For International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, we recognize all that Tostan has done to contribute to the abandonment of FGM. Tostan’s empowerment of women at the local level and  holistic partnership approaches have resonated with governments, civil society, community leaders, and the world’s most vulnerable populations. Hilton Prize Coalition member Tostan is an NGO that empowers African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights.

To further Tostan’s mission, the Hilton Prize Coalition has provided resources to staff two Fellows placements at Tostan. Here are the Fellows who have made an impact at Tostan and beyond.

Learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program and all our Fellows do.

Fellows Snapshots

Hannelore Van Bavel

Hannelore worked with Tostan to evaluate the organization’s impact on the practice of female genital cutting. Unlike many other organizations, Tostan does not focus on FGC as a single issue to tackle, but supports wider community empowerment through education. The organization encourages communities to envision their ideal future and believes that they have the capacity to reach their self-defined goals. Rather than coercing communities to give up FGC, they empower communities through education and create opportunities for dialogue about FGC and other issues.

Learn more about Hannelore’s experience and Tostan’s approach in her blog.

Rita Kumar

Rita worked with Tostan to develop a knowledge management system that will allow new team members to reduce their ramp up time, capture more learnings of long term staff, and help Tostan scale their learning using some newer channels. 90% of an organizational institution remains uncaptured, and that knowledge leaves the organization when staff either retire or leave the organization. It is important for an organization to think about what knowledge needs to be captured, how to capture it, maintain it, and share it.  Knowledge is only truly useful if it results in action or other solutions. 

Learn more about Rita’s experience and how she identified knowledge management gaps and opportunities in her blog.

(Photos courtesy of Tostan)

About The Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the 23 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the  Fellows Program, the  Collaborative Models Program  and the  Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit, or contact Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Subscribe to the HPC Newsletter