The introduction situates contemporary student-initiated development within the broader context of development work in West Africa since 1960. While the earlier era was top-down, state-driven, and largely focused on infrastructure and things material, contemporary development aims small and targets the grassroots, concentrating on education, human rights issues, and entrepreneurialism—thus, more on human potential and things immaterial. The current moment, characterized by scholars as “neoliberal,” also mandates that needy individuals take responsibility for their own development. The chapter also discusses the appeal of student-initiated development in today’s global university while describing the initiatives of Duke students in Togo and the background context of the region in which they are located. Two lessons emerge: for any development project to succeed, it must tap into local knowledge; and failure should be expected, but such failure can also be instructive.