tandana foundation women literacy bright green headdress group sitting on floor

Announcement of FBB’s Compassionate Impact Grant recipient


You may already know that Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) collects monthly donations from humanists across the globe and uses every penny of these funds to make grants to secular charitable organizations in the categories of Poverty & Health, Human Rights, Education, and the Natural World. Each quarter FBB chooses four organizations–one per category–to receive an unrestricted grant.

What you may not know is that one quarter of each year is reserved for our single, game-changing Compassionate Impact Grant (CIG). Organizations begin the application process months in advance, and FBB selects the very best proposal for funding. A program must be innovative, transformative, evidence-based, and solve community problems to receive CIG funding.

While each of our finalists’ projects were strong in many ways, The Tandana Foundation's proposed project in the Bandiagara District of Mali is truly exceptional and will be receiving CIG funding in the Human Rights category.

Women in the Bandiagara District of Mali experience extreme gender inequality in terms of reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity. While the region’s main economic activity is subsistence farming, women are traditionally barred from owning land. Furthermore, literacy for women in the region is approximately 10%, leaving them vulnerable and extraordinarily dependent.

Recognizing that the challenges faced by women in the region cannot be addressed without a multifaceted solution, Tandana has worked closely with the women and communities themselves to identify and prioritize needs and solutions.

With CIG grant funding, Tandana will be enrolling 600 Malian women from 20 villages in literacy and numeracy classes. Among these women, groups will be selected for leadership workshops. Women in the leadership workshops will then develop plans for income-generating enterprises, the best of which will be selected for implementation. The program was developed based on successes and challenges from past programming, as Tandana has been working in the Bandiagara District for the past 11 years.

Tandana’s strategies aligned so clearly with FBB’s in so many ways: the emphasis on planning initiatives based on community-identified needs rather than implementing projects based on preconceived assumptions; teaching literacy classes in the native Tommo So language rather than a western language such as French or English; and the emphasis on building long-term independence for the women.

We look forward to seeing the program begin in January of 2019 and are eager to share updates with you.