© 2016

Values Deliberation and Collective Action

Community Empowerment in Rural Senegal


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Beniamino Cislaghi, Diane Gillespie, Gerry Mackie
    Pages 1-39
  3. Beniamino Cislaghi, Diane Gillespie, Gerry Mackie
    Pages 41-52
  4. Beniamino Cislaghi, Diane Gillespie, Gerry Mackie
    Pages 53-62
  5. Beniamino Cislaghi, Diane Gillespie, Gerry Mackie
    Pages 63-101
  6. Beniamino Cislaghi, Diane Gillespie, Gerry Mackie
    Pages 103-136
  7. Beniamino Cislaghi, Diane Gillespie, Gerry Mackie
    Pages 137-142
  8. Beniamino Cislaghi, Diane Gillespie, Gerry Mackie
    Pages 143-186
  9. Beniamino Cislaghi, Diane Gillespie, Gerry Mackie
    Pages 187-192
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 193-211

About this book


This book describes how a program of values deliberations–-sustained group reflections on local values, aspirations, beliefs and experiences, blending with discussions of how to understand and to realize human rights--led to individual and collective empowerment in communities in rural Senegal. The study explains what happens during the deliberations and shows how they bring about a larger process that results in improved capabilities in areas such as education, health, child protection, and gender equality. It shows how participants, particularly women, enhance their agency, including their individual and collective capacities to play public roles and kindle community action. It thus provides important insights on how values deliberations help to revise adverse gender norms.


Collective empowerment African Studies Senegal NGO Tostan Human rights

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University of Washington BothellBothellUSA
  3. 3.University of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

About the authors

Beniamino Cislaghi is Lecturer in Social Norms at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. He worked for various NGOs and International Organizations, including UNICEF, WHO, and ILO, and as a civic volunteer in his home country for about 10 years. His past research focused on how development programs can offer participants a space to renegotiate existing cultural meanings and collaborate to increase their and others’ wellbeing. 

Diane Gillespie has written extensively on interactive learning, the challenges of diversity in higher education, and, more recently, on human rights education. She won numerous awards for her teaching, including the 2010 University of Washington Bothell Distinguished Teaching Award. Since retiring she has served as a volunteer for Tostan.

Gerry Mackie is Associate Professor of Political Science and Co-Director for the Center on Global Justice at the University of California, San Diego, USA.  His prize-winning first book, Democracy Defended (2003), was on the value of democratic voting. He has worked with the NGO Tostan in West Africa and with UNICEF on ending female genital cutting and other harmful practices. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Values Deliberation and Collective Action
  • Book Subtitle Community Empowerment in Rural Senegal
  • Authors Beniamino Cislaghi
    Diane Gillespie
    Gerry Mackie
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-33755-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-81594-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-33756-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 211
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Social Justice, Equality and Human Rights
    Development Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This book is an essential read for those interested to understand the processes and power of transformative human rights education.  The Tostan model illustrates how HRE can be culturally compatible and result in community empowerment that tangibly improves equality and freedom from discrimination.” (Felisa Tibbitts, Founder of Human Rights Education Associates and Lecturer at Teachers College of Columbia University, USA)

“The authors bring us into the heart of Tostan’s remarkable community empowerment model, sharing first-hand accounts from West African stakeholders affected by deeply rooted social norms they ultimately decide to change. A riveting and rigorous account of transformative social progress, this book should be required reading for anyone who aspires to bring about a more just and sustainable world.” (Sally Osberg, President and CEOSkoll Foundation)

Values Deliberation takes you on an intimate journey through Tostan’s village education program, documenting in women’s and men’s own words the inspiring transformation of mindsets and behaviors that ensued from learning about and applying the ideals of democracy and human rights in their daily lives.  Students of community development and social change have much to learn from Tostan’s approach and the theories that inform it.” (Patti Petesch, Co-Author, “On Norms and Agency: Conversations about Gender Equality with Women and Men in 20 Countries” (World Bank))