skip to Main Content
How We Work Determined to Develop Malawi

At Determined to Develop (D2D), we take a collaborative approach to our work, and believe that those who live in the area are best able to assess needs and create solutions for the community. We do not impose what we think should be solutions from the top-down, but rather work with community members from the ground-up. Our commitment to collaboration allows us to maximize impact and assist in the development of Chilumba in a responsible and positive way.

All our projects have community ownership, which is demonstrated in two ways:

First, communities are enlisted to identify their needs and solutions, which becomes the basis of our work. We participate in regular village needs assessment meetings attended by Village Headmen (chiefs), local village development committees, women’s groups, civil society leaders, and other community members. It is from these meetings that the concept, planning, and implementation stages of any of our projects begin. Furthermore, all work is vetted by community stakeholders.

Second, communities contribute to the running of each project. Our approach emphasizes the personal responsibility and accountability of all partners involved. This grassroots model for development utilizes local knowledge and ensures that we work in collaboration with traditional leaders and community-based networks, respecting cultural values and traditions. This process is assisted by the community liaison officer, who ensures that we stay fully engaged with everything taking place in the villages and vice versa.

We have expanded our programming, but maintain our focus on a relatively small geographic area of Chilumba, Malawi. Remaining a local organization has a number of benefits. We have developed a strong rapport with stakeholders in the area, which helps us to run our many projects effectively. Working on the ground also allows us to have close and on-going monitoring of all projects, and we pride ourselves on being able to adapt projects where necessary and learn through evaluation. This approach also ensures that all money donated is used in the most cost-effective way, as we have minimal overhead costs.

As a development organization, it is important to us that our initiatives are in-line with those of broader development strategies, both in the national and international context. These strategies include the Karonga District Development Plan, Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III, and the United Nation’s Standard Development Goals. Each of these strategies includes specific actions for improved youth education. By aligning our programs with the initiatives in these development strategies, we ensure that our programs are following the best fit for the development of Malawi.

Learn more about how D2D works by clicking below:

40ft shipping container arrives in Malawi

Since the inception of Determined to Develop, the logistical challenge of receiving goods in northern Malawi became painfully evident. Matt soon realized that purchasing locally was not an option for many of the much needed items, and shipping piece mail from the states was very cost prohibitive. The objective then was to collect much needed items and ship them all at once to Malawi, where Matt and his volunteers could unload, sort, store and then distribute according to the various project needs of Determined To Develop.

For the past four years Matt Maroon, Lynn Maroon and Tom Philipps were working to accumulate much needed tangible items for the benefit of the people of Malawi. These items were stored in various locations, most notably the properties and residences of Tom and Lynn.

In June 2012 Roy and Shelli Burgoon joined the effort after visiting Maji Zuwa. In the fall of 2012 several more volunteers were recruited in order to coordinate the collection of donated items for the container. Roy, Shelli, Tom and Lynn all redoubled their efforts to secure a used container as well as donor for the shipping costs. Without a container, the project was unable to proceed in earnest.

In January 2013, a container and shipper were secured at no cost. These two items represent the largest expenses associated with this project. In February 2013 a used 40 foot high cube container was unloaded by crane onto a donor’s commercial parking lot in Avon, Ohio where it stayed until being picked up for final shipment.

With a container on the ground, Determined to Develop volunteers could finally begin to collect donated items and load them into the container prior to shipment. Initial concerns of collecting enough items to fill the cavernous container soon gave way to the real problem of deciding which of the items collected were going to make it onto the container and which ones would have to stay behind.

Through a network of donors providing services in-kind, such as delivery trucks, crane services, ect., Determined To Develop volunteers were able to fill the container for shipment in late June 2013. This involved unloading and repacking the container several times in order to make sure we maximized the value of the items being sent as well as utilizing the limited space.

The container arrived at Determined to Develop on October 3, 2013. Over 895 separate items ranging from feeding program supplies to school building materials were unloaded and distributed in Malawi according to the various project needs of Determined to Develop.

The people of Karonga, Malawi would like to thank the donors and volunteers of Determined to Develop for making this project possible and successful.

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)