“Molly Melching saw a deeply disturbing but deeply entrenched practice and refused to accept that it couldn’t be stopped. Her relentless efforts are proof that commitment and partnership can drive transformational change.” (Hillary Rodham Clinton)
“Melching’s incredible journey from Illinois to Africa, from graduate student to great humanitarian, is paralleled by the journey of the countless women touched by her work: a journey to understanding, empowerment and human dignity.” (Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
“The story of Molly Melching and Tostan proves that determined and loving individuals can accomplish the seemingly impossible--abandonment of a harmful tradition that is thousands of years old.” (Former President Jimmy Carter)
“ There is no way to overestimate the gift that Tostan and its leader, Molly Melching, have given to the world. The amount of suffering they have alleviated is beyond anything we can gauge. What a story, what a power, and what a blessing.” (Marianne Williamson, New York Times
“Molloy offers a moving account of one woman’s struggle to empower African women and challenge tradition…Reading like a novel, this book demonstrates the power of education and grassroots organizing.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Melching’s transformation from Midwestern college graduate to thrill-seeking international crusader makes for compelling reading…Molloy has a reporter’s knack for selecting and arranging the most salient details of Melching’s experiences, and the resulting story is moving and memorable…Uplifting and inspirational.” (Kirkus Reviews)
From the Back Cover
The story of how one of the "most powerful women in women's rights" (Forbes)is paving the way to a world with human dignity for all.
However Long the Night is the extraordinary story of one woman's determination to create a movement toward change, and a better future, for millions of girls and women across Africa. Molly Melching grew up in the Midwest but was called to explore the world outside her hometown when she arrived in Senegal in 1974. There, she quickly grew invested in the fate of the Senegalese women she met. Based on her experiences living in a remote African village, she founded Tostan, an organization dedicated to empowering African communities by using democracy and human-rights-based education to promote relationships built upon dignity, equality, and respect. She forever changed her life and the lives of those touched by Tostan.
Unlike many Western organizations that have tried to transform various African cultures from the outside, Melching, who was named as one of the "150 women who shake the world" by Newsweek and Daily Beast, understands that true change comes only from within. Tostan's groundbreaking strategies have led to better education for the women of rural Africa, improved health care, a decrease in child/forced marriage, and declarations by thousands of African communities to abandon the centuries-old practice of female genital cutting.
However Long the Night brings together Melching's riveting personal journey with the stories of the Senegalese women and men who found the courage to lead this movement. This book is a testament to the fact that the connections between women can lead to a better world.