The following is a conversation between Molly Melching, Founder of Tostan, and Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving on AM 970 The Answer WNYM in New York City.

Molly Melching ©

Denver: We all try to change our own behavior – it’s hard. Or we may attempt to modify that of our child – that’s even harder. And what about trying to sway a friend or an acquaintance with different political beliefs to look at things the way you do? Well, we all know that’s impossible. So what then about changing long-standing social norms, steeped in history and tradition, of an entire community?  As daunting as that may sound, it’s what my next guest and the organization that she founded has done around issues such as human rights, female genital cutting, and child marriage. She is Molly Melching, the Founder of Tostan.

Good evening, Molly, and welcome to The Business of Giving!

Molly: Good evening, Denver. So nice to be here.

Tostan’s mission is to support communities to realize their own vision for well-being.

Denver: It’s a delight to have you here. Give us a snapshot of Tostan’s mission.

Molly: Tostan’s mission is to support communities to realize their own vision for well-being.

Denver: Molly, where did the word Tostan come from?

Molly: Tostan is a word that a professor whom I worked with when I first came to Senegal thought was so important. He told me that this word Tostan, which is a Wolof word, means the breakthrough when a chick breaks through the egg and is able to walk on its own. He said, “That egg is nurtured with the nutrients and the blood of the mother who sits on the egg, and this is what needs to happen in Africa. People need to be nurtured with their own culture, their own language, and when they break through and get out and share with others with the confidence of their own language and their culture, then we will go for true development in Africa.” 

His name was Cheikh Anta Diop. All Senegalese know, admire him as being one of the great African intellectuals, great African thinkers, and I had the great honor of being able to work with him for 10 years. 

Denver: And he gave you a great word to describe your organization. It is absolutely pitch-perfect.

Well, you were born in Texas, and you were raised in Missouri and in Illinois. So, in 1974, you went to Senegal. What brought you there in the first place?

Molly: I went to Senegal because…I was at the University of Illinois, I was in the French Department, and I had started working on what we called expanded French studies, which meant we looked at African literature in francophone countries. I became very interested in Africa because I saw the people I was meeting, the professors I had, were very different. They had a very different approach. They were very welcoming and open, and I thought, “Wow. This sounds like a totally different culture than the one I’m experiencing here in Illinois.” And I thought, “I would love to go to Africa one day.” 

And guess what? I was doing my masters; I was teaching at the University of Illinois. And so, I got my masters, and they decided that first year ever to have an exchange program with Senegal. Everybody knew I was very interested in African literature, and they said, “Molly will, I’m sure, be the one who applies,” which I did of course. That was 1974. I went over for six months, and I have now been there 45 years. Never left.

Denver: Wow. Well, tell us a little bit more about Senegal. What did keep you there?

Molly: I loved Senegal from the moment I stepped off the plane. I can’t explain it. It was like going into a whole different land where I remember so well seeing, as I was going into the city: the wind was blowing and the boo-boos were flowing; the people were greeting each other and clasping their hands and patting backs and smiling and laughing; the color and the beauty of the people as they walked along; the children, seeing them dancing in the street. I said, “Wow! People are alive. They’re living.” I just left New York, and I didn’t see anybody – not in New York City, but where I came from– there were not many people on the street. 

And so, I thought, “Wow! This is a different place; it’s going to be exciting.” And I thought, “Hmm. I don’t know if I would ever be able to leave this place.” 

Denver: It might be for me. 

Molly: I just felt at home. I felt good, I felt happy.

I realized that to truly understand what was going on, why people said what they said or did what they did, that it was so critical to learn the language, and it was the best thing I ever did.

Denver: And you learned the language, right?

Molly: I did. When I first went over, I thought French would be enough because I did speak French, I had lived in France, and I thought I understood culture from having been in a different culture in France. 

But when I went to Senegal, I realized I got a bit frustrated a lot because, first of all, I didn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t understand why people were doing what they were doing. I realized that so many people did not speak French even though it had been colonized by France. People said that people spoke French, but, really, only 10% of the people at that time were speaking French. Most were speaking the national language, which is Wolof, even though there are other national languages — there’s Pulaar, Mandinka, Serer, Jola, Soninke – major languages. 

But since so many people were speaking Wolof, I finally realized I need to learn Wolof because as soon as I would come up with a few words, people would get so excited. I realized that to truly understand what was going on, why people said what they said or did what they did, that it was so critical to learn the language, and it was the best thing I ever did.

Denver: I can imagine. Knowing what the proverbs mean, the expressions… I mean, just a whole deeper level of understanding.

Molly: The wisdom of the people. Also knowing what to do to show respect to people, what not to do that shocks people.

When you teach people in their own language, they learn very quickly…Learning in another language is very difficult.

Denver: It would be okay in New York, but not here.

Well, you started Tostan about 17 years after you had arrived, 1991 or so. What was the impetus to do that?

Molly: Because I had volunteered when I was at the University of Dakar. At that time, it was called University of Dakar; afterwards, they took the name of my professor, University of Cheikh Anta Diop. But at the time, I was at the University of Dakar, and I volunteered as I often did when I was at the University of Illinois. I decided to volunteer with children, and I was very upset to see that the children did not have any books that really were about their own culture. They were books imported from France about riding the metro or how you can build a snowman…really didn’t apply to Senegal. 

So, I started a children’s center. After I’d been in Senegal two years, I got into Peace Corps. I started a children’s center where I was working for six years really trying to promote African books for African children. We had African writers and art illustrators who came, and I had gotten books from all over the world with African stories illustrated and giving good examples of what they could do. And as we did that, we also did a radio program. We went all over Senegal and recorded the stories and songs and activities of children. And by doing that, I got a real insight into the life of the villagers. 

After I had been in the center for six years, we decided to take that center out to a village. And actually, we were only going to go for four months to the village; ended up staying there three years…. Because the people that were in this village, no one had ever been to school, and they wanted so desperately to learn to read and write and to also get new information and skills they needed. 

I was in a wonderful village. It’s called Saam Njaay, which was near the city of Thies. There had been other projects around Saam Njaay, and quite frankly, many and most had failed. There were health centers that were now inhabited by chickens and goats and donkeys; the beds were gone, and the wells had not been constructed properly because some of the sacks of cement had been stolen. They felt that they needed preparation before these projects came in with their millet machines that were broken down now, the wells, and management skills. 

And it wasn’t in their village, but it was in a nearby village and they said, “If you could just teach us some of this…to read and write, to be able to manage our projects, to be able to do budgets, and to follow through and know about math. We know how do math mentally, but we need to write things down.“

So we started teaching in their language, in Wolof. And guess what? When you teach people in their own language, they learn very quickly. At that time, the formal school was all in French and the children were having, and to this day, have a great deal of difficulty going into school not having seen children’s books in their own language, not knowing what books are, not knowing what reading is. Learning in another language is very difficult.

So, we started, and they took off. They started writing proposals. I insisted. I went to the embassy – they had small projects – and I said, “This proposal is in Wolof.” And they said, “Well, we can’t read Wolof.” I said, “Well, you’d better–” 

Denver: Better learn.

Molly: “—because these come from the people.” 

Denver: It’s their voice.

Molly: It is. They are the ones who wrote this, so you need to write…I said, “If you want, I can sit and translate it for you, but I would rather you find a way.” And they did.

Denver: Good for them.

Molly: They funded this, and what we realized is that so much of the projects that I was seeing had failed because people had come in from the outside just assuming this is what people want.  So we just give them wells; we give them a health center; we give them a millet machine. Then they’ll be okay.

Denver: That’s right. We can leave, and they’ll be fine. 

Molly: We can leave, and they come in.

Denver: That’s right. We’ll fix it for them.

Molly: They come in and they may manage it for the people for a year or two, and then they leave and people are like, “Hey. We didn’t get the skills to do it ourselves.” 

So, after having lived through that experience with the villagers themselves, we put together a program. This is a basic education program: how to come together, how to first start. And this is what was so different. Rather than me going in and saying, “You have so many problems. You need this, and you need that, and whatever,” which is, I’m sorry to say, what a lot of development agents and workers do.

Molly Melching and Denver Frederick inside the studio

Denver: There’s no doubt about it, and particularly 30 years ago. I think that’s what all of them did. 

Molly: Particularly. And let me just say, good intentions; many good, good intentions. Some weren’t perhaps; more interested in what will benefit our countries in terms of getting people up to scale with wanting to be consumers, et cetera. But other people, very good intentions, wanting to help, but not realizing that it’s so important to ask people what they want, what is important to them. And what are their needs?  What are their priorities? And not go in saying, “I’m here to tell you this is what you need to do, and these are your problems.” 

We immediately started, and start to this day, with: What is your vision? Where do you want to be in five years? And most importantly, what are the values that are important to you? What do you want to maintain within your development process that are so key to your thriving and under very difficult conditions? 

Denver: It’s that realization you bring that these people are the experts on their own lives, and that’s really the heart of your community empowerment program. What are the core tenets of that program?

Molly: Actually, the visioning process is the first step. I, of course, am not the one who goes into the villages. We have community facilitators. They facilitate the dialogue among the community. We open two classes: one for adults, and one for youth. We made a big mistake in the beginning. We found that if we just did the adults, the youth were not exactly on board. There’s a lot of things that we’re going on. And when we did just for the youth, well, the adults were saying, “Wait a minute. What’s going on there?” So, we always do both. 

They are classes that are held, but in a different way than formal school. They follow the schedule of the villagers because they are very active in the fields and other activities to make enough money to survive. These are villages that are remote and resource-poor.  Most often, those are the villages where we’re working in West Africa. We start with: What do you want? What is your vision? What are the positive aspects of your community? What are the things you would like to maintain as you do go through this development process? And then, we look at: How would you like to organize to achieve these goals that you’re setting? What are the important things to maintain? Like unity, family, generosity…those things that are so important in Africa.

Everyone has the right to be free from all forms of discrimination, and everyone has a responsibility also not to discriminate. Everyone has the right to be free from all forms of violence; but also, we have a responsibility not to be violent

Denver: Back to the values again.

Molly: The values. How can we maintain those as we go along and look at where you want to go? How are you going to organize to achieve that? And then we get into things like leadership and problem solving: How can we do collective problem-solving? 

And probably one of the most important aspects of our program is teaching human rights. We worked for eight years without introducing this module on human rights into the program. When we did finally introduce it – because we were doing a module specifically on health for women that we had introduced – we realized that you can’t do information on health without doing something around people understanding that they do have the right to health, but they have responsibilities; If they have those rights, they also have responsibilities. 

We developed a very simple module that lasts for about three months, and so it’s very, very important on what we call “the principles for human dignity.” That’s what we call them. They’re not any articles from human rights instruments with lots of legal jargon that people don’t understand. They’re very simple: Everyone has the right to be free from all forms of discrimination, and everyone has a responsibility also not to discriminate. Everyone has the right to be free from all forms of violence; but also, we have a responsibility not to be violent

Each one of these principles – there are  19 major principles that we pulled out of many human rights instruments, seven major human rights instruments – and we look at those. Each one of these principles is a session where people really discuss and see: Do they feel that this is good? Does it go along…Is it aligned with their religion? We use verses from the Quran because, of course, we’re in a country that is 94% Muslim, and in all of the countries where we work in West Africa, there are Muslim countries. That is very important.  Then once people decide and come to consensus around that being very important, then they look at: Are we violating this in any way? What can we do? What actions can we take to stop this? So that is a very important component. And then we go on, in the next modules, to look at health and hygiene… and all referring back to the human rights principles, of course. That is the first year. 

The second year is doing literacy learning and project management skills. We teach people how to use SMS texting in order to practice their literacy skills. That was a big innovation, one that was very welcomed in the communities because everybody now has a phone. 

Denver: Everybody. People don’t realize that. Everybody does.

Well, let’s go back to that first year, with the health and hygiene module, and perhaps the achievement that Tostan is best known for is helping communities abandon the practice of female genital cutting.  Probably a lot of people think you came in there with that idea to do that, but to what you just said: it really came from these women themselves in these community get-togethers.

Molly: I always tell people I was more surprised than anyone. When the women actually decided…I could not quite believe it. Now, you have to realize, too, that they had done the human right to health, their responsibilities around health, the right to be free of all forms of violence, and what is violence. They looked at what are the different forms of violence, looking at it as if violence is anything that is really not necessary, that can harm people, that can create problems or harm people, either right away or in the future. 

When they got to the health module, and they studied female genital cutting. We do say “cutting”; we don’t say “mutilation,” and that is because the villagers themselves asked us not to say mutilation, which is a word that means cutting with the intention of harming. They were cutting the daughters because they had no choice really. It’s what you did. It was the tradition. That’s important. It brings respect to the woman. They couldn’t even imagine not being able to do that or not doing that. Women were really marginalized, ostracized—

Denver: If they didn’t, right?

Molly: — if they didn’t, so how could you even imagine? 

Denver: They did it because they love their daughters. It was the reason they did it. 

Molly: Exactly. They did it because they love their daughters, and they ended it because they love their daughters. 

But then again, it was not the initial goal of Tostan, and we were even in villages that weren’t practicing FGC when we started. But what happened was the women in communities that had undergone this practice came to us. They said, “You’ve got to put this in the module that you’re doing on women’s health because we don’t even know what happened to us when we were children, and we want to know what harm that brings. People come around and tell us you have to stop this, but there’s no way we can stop. We have to understand.”

Denver: “What’s the why behind this” is really the question. Why do we do this?

Molly: Why do you have to undergo this? We know it’s a tradition. We know it brings respect, but do we really have to do this? Does it hurt us? What are the consequences of it in terms of our health? 

So we did that without judgment, put that into the module. I was very hesitant because it was very controversial at that time to put that into the module. But at the insistence of the women of Tostan, they said, “Look. You’ve got to do this. It’s the women who want to know this. We’ve got to do this.” So, what happened was when we did put that into the module with, again, important was the human rights. They learned they had the human rights to speak out and voice their opinion.

Denver: They’re given the foundation of knowledge. 

Molly: It was the awakening of a new consciousness, of a new agency, I guess you could say, that “Okay. We’ve learned this. The men also were in agreement that this is right, that we need the voice of women in this development process.” And so, we now have the right to say “We can end this practice if we realize it is not helping us to achieve our goals for the future.” Because their goals for the future were: health, well-being, prosperity, and still living in peace – peace was the keyword – peace, family, generosity, understanding. It doesn’t align anymore with what we want for the future. 

Denver: And, of course, this is steeped in religion, or so they think until they find out it isn’t.

Molly: And then they had not questioned that before. They just assumed that it was a religious practice. 

So, working with the religious leaders has been huge for Tostan. We’ve done that from the beginning, but when we actually started doing special trainings for religious leaders, which we actually do a lot of now – we do 10-day trainings for religious leaders from all over – but particularly in the communities where we work, what we realize and they said for the first time, “No. This is nowhere in the Quran.” 

Actually, the study of some of the human rights principles with the verses from the Quran have led people to understand that really there are so many things they misunderstood and misinterpreted. It’s been great to have the voice of the religious leaders, both women and men, involved in the process of change. What has happened is they have gone out, literally gone out in from village to village to work with people, to explain that this is not a religious practice. Anything that harms, can even kill our daughters, is not to be promoted. It’s to be stopped. 

Denver: A part of organized diffusion, right?

Molly Melching inside the studio

Molly: Well, we call it “organized diffusion.” This was from an Imam, actually; a village chief, imam. His name is Demba Diawara. He came to me, and he said—first, he was mad at me because he said, “You should not be working on female genital cutting.” I said, “Okay.” I said, “Demba, go speak to a doctor; go speak to your key religious leader, the Khalifa – the high-level religious leader – and also go talk to the women.” Demba is one of my mentors. I said, “You are so smart. You will know how to speak to the women so they will tell you the truth.” Usually, the women would not speak about this. They were afraid to. There were a lot of taboos around even talking about it. 

When he came back, he said, “Oh, Molly. If I knew what I now know, I would have stood up—” He always says, “I would have put on my shoes and started walking years ago.” Demba actually put on his shoes. Demba went to 347 villages because, Demba said, “You’re working with a tradition that can only be stopped, not by one person, not by one family, not by one community. It has to be the extended family, the social network, the people that matter. They are the ones that have to be involved in this decision.” And this is how Tostan learned about social norms. 

We learned that social norms is – this is Demba’s wise teaching to our staff, and he’s never been to formal school. I always say he has a doctorate in wisdom and social transformation.  Demba says that social norms are: 1) those practices, which are expectations by others in your community, and 2) If you don’t practice them, you’re going to get sanctioned; 3) They have social value. And so, you cannot approach them and use the same methodologies you can with other practices that everybody says, “Oh, yes. Those are really bad. Throwing trash in the street? No, that’s not so good.” So, you can send out messages around that, but something that has social value, you can’t do it alone. Because when people all agree, “Oh, you have to do that.” Hey. Think of some of the social norms we have in America. If everybody expects you to come to a Christmas party and bring gifts, and you say “Come,” and you say, “Hey. I don’t like this practice. I didn’t bring a gift.” 

Denver: What do you got for me?

Molly: The people will go,”eeeehhhhhhh” 

Denver: Not next year, that’s for sure. 

Molly: Exactly. 

So, it really made sense to everybody. And so Demba says, “Let me show you.” And as he said, he put on his shoes and he walked to many communities that were part of his social network. He said he went first to the “[dereet sama baay]”, that is “the blood of my father”… so all the relatives on the father’s side, and then to the “[dereet sama yaay]”, the “blood of his mother.” 

So the close relatives, those are the people that actually were inter-marrying. This is a question of inter-marrying within the group. And so, of course, you could not get married if you were not cut because you would not be respected. You would be ostracized. One woman told me that when she was not cut, and she walked into the room with all the women who were cut, and they stopped talking; they all got up and left. She said, “I would do wash, and people would say, ‘Okay. We have to wash the clothes again because they’re dirty.’” It was considered you were impure if you were not cut.

Denver: That’s amazing.

Molly: So you can see. So Demba says, “Here’s what you do. You get all these people to come together. I go and work with them. Never, Mali, of course. That’s the last thing you would do. Anyone from the outside coming in telling people to stop what they’re doing, you can imagine the reaction.

Denver: The old way we used to do it. Too many international organizations.

Molly: Not the way we used to do it. So many people are still doing it. 

Denver: They still do it as well. That’s right. At least, they’re a little bit better than they used to be, but it’s a hard practice to break.

Molly: We’ve done training for other NGOs. We’ve had 565 participants over 26 seminars in the last five years. It’s surprising to me that they say, “Well, we have to do that. We don’t have time.” I said, “Why do you have to do it this way?” “Well, the donors want us to tell people to end FGC, so we go in and tell people they have to end FGC.” And they use words – “We’re fighting. We’re going to fight FGC.” I say, “But when you go in saying you’re going to fight…I mean, when you tell someone you’re going to fight, what’s the reaction? “

Denver: I’m going to get defensive, and who are you coming in here to judge me? I don’t appreciate that one little bit. That’s going to be my reaction.

Molly: That’s what happens a lot. People in Africa are very polite, so a lot of times they’ll just say “Mm-hmm.” And then the person leaves and they say, “Oh boy. This person doesn’t understand it.” 

Denver: Doesn’t get it at all. Well, as a result of this approach, over 7,000 communities have declared their intent to abandon harmful social norms across Africa, and that is quite a testimonial to Tostan. 

Talk a little bit about funding because you just mentioned that before. How is the funding for Tostan? Where do you get it? And a little bit about your pooled funding growth approach.

Molly: We’ve had funding from many sources. UNICEF and UNFPA have been major donors in the past and have been very supportive and participative in the process of trying to share also the learnings that we have had during this process of ending FGC and child marriage. Also many family foundations have been major, major supporters. Individuals have also stepped in. 

But what we realized is that we have a program. It’s holistic. It’s inclusive. It is not just linear. We don’t go in to do family planning or just in to do FGC. We don’t just go in for child marriage. We don’t go in just for literacy. And a lot of donors come and say, “Well, that’s what we want you to do.” So, we say, “Look. You get  results from a program that includes all of these things.” And they say, “No, no, no. We just want that one thing.” We say, “Okay, but to get that one thing, it’s very important to address the whole slew of things that are important.”

Denver: The interconnections.

Molly: Yes. These subjects are all interconnected. Education is very connected to health, is very connected to the environment, is very connected to economic growth. 

So  what we did is we decided to say to people, “We want to do our program because we know it works; we know it has results. And you can invest in that program, and you can get the results you want with other people who may be interested in other subjects.” 

So, we call it a pooled funding model, and it worked so well. People invest for three years because they know this program takes time. Some people say, “Three years? That’s so long!” I look at them and I say, “How many years were you in school?” They say 22…I say, “Well, we’re doing women who’ve never been to school, girls who’ve never been to school, and you think that in two months, one year…?” No. It takes time. It takes allowing people the time to think, and we do classes where people go to school Monday and Tuesday; they share with someone else. So that they learn, and then they become teachers. 

They do this over a 3-year period, and by that time, they are now the ones who are reaching out like Demba Diawara did, sharing with others – this is the organized diffusion strategy that you mentioned – and they are the ones who are bringing about the change – what we call critical mass. We know with these declarations, there actually are 8,426 declarations now and one coming up in December that you’re welcome to come. They’re very exciting. They’re positive — where people come together and say, “We have chosen health, and we have chosen a future where women and girls can thrive in health and not have to worry about these problems that they had before.”

Denver: That is fantastic. What do you think is the greatest contribution that Tostan has made?

Molly: I definitely would say, for me, it has been bringing human rights to people in a way that they truly understand, that it speaks to them, that they could have the time to think about it, to assimilate what this means, and then to actually come together and say:” How can we apply this? How can we use this to achieve the vision that we have for a better future?” 

We have colorful posters they use, and now I’m receiving these, but we do training. I get pictures of the mosque in Nigeria that’s teaching human rights to the youth groups and to the women’s groups of the mosque in Ghana. We work actually with the Carter Center over the years on training religious leaders and working with them, sharing with them. They love these— using these human rights. 

I tell you – it was like seeing a little revolution. I had done the program for eight years without human rights, and I was able to see how when we introduced this into the program, what a difference it made to people!  And it was like awakening this consciousness of: Wow! We have the power to do something, to change something, and the power with others who have learned the same thing. And together, they have—

Denver: You changed their frame and really just put it there, and they looked at things from a completely different lens.

Molly: And here’s the exciting thing: I’ve done that in the United States with the same reaction from people… because sometimes we have a tendency in the States, I think, to think of human rights as political and civil rights, and we forget all the other human rights. It was empowering for me as I went through this process. 

You want to do everything you can to give them the credit because they are the ones who are out there in these communities, very difficult conditions.

Denver: As you said, it’s human dignity, you know what I mean? That’s really at the heart of it.

Let me close with this, Molly. I had Jim Collins on the show, the author of “Good to Great” recently. I know you’re a fan of his, as was your husband. His research strongly indicates that one of the hallmarks of a great leader is humility. Having followed your work over the years, I’ve always noticed how you’ve deflected all the credit away from yourself and to the villagers themselves. Leave us with your thoughts on leadership and the kind of leadership that you have practiced that has led to this kind of sustainable change in Senegal and other countries across West Africa.

Molly: I think leadership is critical. I do think that the results we’ve had have not…it has been my determination, perhaps my perseverance, patience, but it’s most of all, I think leadership– You have to feel that you really love what you’re doing; you’re passionate about it. When you’re in a situation where you see results that, again, you’re surprised by and excited by, and you really want to do more; you want to do as much as you can. 

But you want to constantly say: You have to keep listening to people. You have to work with them, and they have to be the ones that that are solving their own problems. You can’t go in and do that for them. And even within your team, within the team that is Tostan, that is made up of hundreds of people who’ve never been to school for the most part, but who are development agents, who are really in the communities working for change and are so excited about that. You want to do everything you can to give them the credit because they are the ones who are out there in these communities, very difficult conditions. 

And it just seems so normal to me, but I think the most important thing is actually listening to people, understanding what their values and vision are, again knowing their language and the language which conveys a whole different worldview than perhaps those of the development agents who come in,…. and encouraging people. 

Now, I’m going through transitioning others to take over; 27 years is a long time, maybe too long. but knowing that things will be done differently and that’s great. Encouraging creativity and creating an atmosphere where people are working, but also thinking about their well-being also. I think that is probably one of the things that I was given, my education from my mother who was a teacher. I was lucky to be influenced by a teacher who was passionate about what she did.

Denver: It works! And congrats to mom!

Well, Molly Melching, the Founder of Tostan, I want to thank you so much for being here. Where can people learn more about your work and what can they do to help support it?

Molly: We’d love for them to go to, look at our website, see all the wonderful things we’re doing. Yesterday, there was an announcement about a woman who’s one of the thousands of women who was elected to become a municipal councilor in her area, and now got a human rights platform, ready to advocate for the rights of their community. Also, the book “However Long the Night.” 

Denver: Written by Aimee Molloy.

Molly: That’s right. It tells the story of those people who I was so blessed to be able to work with over the years, and my own story along with it. And I would say: start with the website.

Denver: Find that donate button. The name of the book again is “However Long the Night:  Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph.”

Thanks, Molly. It was a treat to have you here.

Molly: Thank You, Denver.

Denver: I’ll be back with more of The Business of Giving right after this.

Molly Melching and Denver Frederick



The Business of Giving can be heard every Sunday evening between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Eastern on AM 970 The Answer in New York and on iHeartRadio. You can follow us @bizofgive on Twitter, @bizofgive on Instagram and at

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