Author is mostly known for

  • She is the founder of Tostan, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) headquartered in Dakar, Senegal whose mission it is to empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on the respect of human rights.

Others publications

None. Author is not a full-time writer.


  •  University of Illinois Alumni Humanitarian Prize in 1999
  •  Sargent Shriver Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service at the 40th Celebration of the Peace Corps  in 2002
  •  World Health Organization chose Tostan’s basic education approach as a “Best Practice Model” for community development and ending FGC, calling for further replication and dissemination of the model to other African nations in 2003
  •  Anna Lindh Prize for Human Rights in 2005
  •  UNESCO King Sejong Prize for Literacy in 2007
  •  Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the largest humanitarian prize in the world in 2007
  • Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010
  • ‘Award in Action’ by the Cécilia Attias Foundation for Women in 2012
  • ‘Women of Impact’ award at the 4th Annual Women in the World Summit in 2013

 Author whereabouts 

Molly Melching is the Founder and Executive Director, Tostan.


 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

Key themes/Topics

  • The NGO Industry in Senegal
  • Female genital Mutilation
  • The Aid industry in Africa
  • Case study of how results was obtained in Senegal and how the same method was then spread throughout the West African region
  • Education and health issues and how they are addressed by NGO workers on the ground in Senegal, Mali….
  • The life story of Molly Melching and the journey of how she created TOSTAN

I found strange


I found brilliant

It was a very inspiring story. What an incredible life Molly has led! I was very pleased to see that the author has mingled, at one point, with some very important people in Senegal: among others the late Ousmane Sembéne , our beloved film maker,  and the late Cheikh Anta Diop, our one and only national hero, professor Egyptologist and anthropologist… Ms Melching has spent the last 40 years in Senegal. She is perfectly fluent in Wolof and her daughter was raised almost like a Senegalese child. I believe that is why she was able to effectively have an impact on the ground. People truly saw her as one of them. And it had definitely made a difference.

Whenever, I read this kind of book, I always feel  sad about the whole thing. It’s true that the story was inspiring, but how I wish this story was that of a person of Senegalese decent. I know I sound racist. But somehow, it seems, at least to me, that only white people sacrifice their lives to help  African people or poor people. All things being equal, being poor does not necessarily go hand in hand with being an African.

The truth is that some Africans do it. Precolonial Africa was built on a community type of society as oppose to an individualist society. We are humans after all, and the people who need help are our very own kinsmen. The reality must be that we don’t know these people, they are not famous, they don’t have any contacts nor do they have access to the media or the Internet for that matter. That is very unfortunate for them, they deserve to be recognized. They deserve to be celebrated, so that others can be inspired to do the same.


What to expect 

Inspiration, admiration and sadness, not necessarily in that order. You will  be inspired by her story. However, I believe it should also inspire the reader to do his/her part in the fight against poverty in Africa (or elsewhere). We all have a part to play in this global challenge. The more people commit to it, the more the issues will get solved sooner rather than later.

I recommend!