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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:

Determined to Develop Adult Literacy School Making a Difference

Determined to Develop adult literacy school making a difference

Education is the center point of economic development for many nations. Any country that has low education levels is not fulfilling its potential. Unfortunately, Malawi is a case in point. Malawi’s literacy levels are a challenge and many people in the villages can’t read or write. 1/3 of adults are illiterate with people in the rural villages making up most of the illiteracy in the country. However, many of these adults hunger for education and the ability to read, write, and participate in the formal economy. This is why the community of Sangilo identified adult literacy as one of the areas it would like to improve.

There is a direct correlation between the education level of parents and their children. Most of the kids perform well in our schools are the ones whose parents can read and write. With the ability to read, parents are able to check through school work, follow progress reports and help their children with homework.

The building of Tilipo Nursery School in Sangilo, which was a partnership between the community and Determined to Develop, was meant to boost early childhood development through education to the youngest in our society. This nursery school has proven to be a double blessing as the same building is used in the afternoon for adult literacy classes for villagers, especially women, who would like to learn how to read and write.

The adult literacy classes introduced by Determined to Develop, just this year, have had a positive impact on the lives of the elderly in Malawi. With the help of Determined to Develop donations and a partnership with the International Citizens Services volunteers, Sangilo adults began attending these classes weekly. The adult literacy classes first focus on writing and spelling in the vernacular language, Tumbuka, and then move forward with basic English. These adult literacy classes have made a measurable difference in the community of Sangilo, as now several of the elderly that were previously unable to do so, can now manage to read and write at a basic level.

The community of Sangilo strongly believes that if the elderly villagers can attain basic education in areas like literacy, they will be able to contribute to the development of the area. In many cases, the elderly members of the community are the primary caregivers and drivers of development; raising orphans, cooking porridge for the local elementary school feeding program, supervising the children and nursery schools, farming (even at an old age) to secure the harvest each year which keep their extended families alive. All in partnership with Determined to Develop.

This form of empowerment has been welcomed enthusiastically by the people of Sangilo and they are very thankful to the Determined to Develop donors for providing the basic study materials and support that make this adult literacy program possible. One only had to be in the room as the women who participate were able, for the first time, to spell and write their names. The pride they felt in being able to complete that simple task was monumental and meant they are now empowered to participate in an area of society, for which they had up to that point, been locked out.

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)