How can we best empower people living in the most economically disadvantaged areas of the world to improve their lives in ways that matter to them? This book investigates work of the NGO Tostan as a working model of human development. The study is grounded in the ethnographic study of the actual change that happened in one West African village. The result is a powerful mix of theory and practice that questions existing approaches to development and that speaks to both development scholars and practitioners. Divided into three parts, the book firstly assesses why top-down approaches to education and development are unhelpful and offers a theoretical understanding of what constitutes helpful development. Part two examines Tostan's community-based participatory approach as an example of a helpful development intervention, and offers qualitative evidence of its effectiveness. Part three builds a model of how community-led development works, why it is helpful, and what practitioners can do to help people at the grassroots level lead their own human development.