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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:

Develop D2D Think Malawi

Welcome to D2D Think, the home of our ideas for development solutions. Based on our mission to empower, through education, the people of Malawi, we have identified local challenges through community collaboration and research with the aim of creating sustainable solutions to address issues. Through sharing our thinking, we hope to allow others to replicate and scale-up our work, positively affecting the largest number of beneficiaries possible.

What is the challenge?

Working at a grassroots level daily, we are able to work closely with the community to identify the most pertinent and pressing issues at hand. Needs assessments are conducted regularly, at which time local community members identify both the challenges being faced, and the possible solutions. These assessments are necessary to ensure that the findings explored, and subsequent solutions, are relevant and applicable to the community in which we work.

What are the findings?

Through primary research we investigate and analyze challenges in the local context. A majority of this research is conducted by visiting university students from the USA, and abstracts from their academic papers have been included where possible. In these cases, all research has passed rigorous ethical oversight to ensure that no Malawians are negatively impacted.

What is the solution?

Using research findings and input from the local community, we create, develop, implement and evaluate tangible solutions to address challenges. Much has been learned from this process, which we hope to share with others working in the development sector. Our research falls under four broad themes; formal education, non-formal education, NGO management, and community projects. These themes fall in line with our program areas and expertise, so as to best promote evidence-based innovation. The information provided is meant to inform and inspire grassroots leaders and development professionals alike. We have links to document and resources, whenever possible, which we believe can be of use to other grassroots leaders.