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:

Khwawa High School Gets Electricity With Help From Determined to Develop 2
Khwawa High School Gets Electricity With Help From Determined to Develop 2
Khwawa High School Gets Electricity With Help From Determined to Develop 1
Khwawa High School Gets Electricity With Help From Determined to Develop 2Khwawa High School Gets Electricity With Help From Determined to Develop 1

Determined to Develop helps Khwawa High School get electricity

On Tuesday, May 26, on the quiet evening campus of Khwawa Community Day Secondary School, the flick of a switch turned on a light bulb in one of the school’s classrooms. This small motion carried monumental significance in the development of the school. Within the 40+ years of the school’s existence, never have they been able to turn on light powered by electricity. The students now have unlimited access to light in all four classrooms, allowing them to spread out and study into the evening hours. With a sun that sets at six o’clock each day, year round, access to light is an integral part of a students’ learning experience. Before this Tuesday evening, in order to participate in night studies, over 200 students were forced to cram into two classrooms with limited desk and seating space, and work under two small solar-powered lights.

Over the past three months, Determined to Develop has been working to help Khwawa Community Day Secondary School secure the installation and connection of electricity to its campus and staff houses. With the help of 46 individual donors and groups, over $5,000 was raised for the project. The school is now open to the possibilities of using computers, printers, setting up proper science lab equipment and improving the girl’s hostel. A simple addition such as electricity will also improve the security of the school, providing outside lights throughout the campus. Another great benefit of this development is that all of the teachers’ houses have been fitted for electricity. This is a big improvement and selling point for the school in recruiting future teachers. Many educators have turned down positions at Khwawa due to the absence of electricity in the staff houses.

Khwawa CDSS is a school that is no stranger to Determined to Develop. It has been the recipient of D2D projects in the past, such as the building of two classrooms for the school. Many of the organization’s sponsored students attend Khwawa and as a result, receive the benefits of the electricity fundraiser. The electricity could not have arrived at a more opportune time, as Form 2 and Form 4 students are preparing to take their government-issued certificate exams.

This blog post was written by Samantha Burgoon, who has been volunteering in Malawi with Determined to Develop since July 2014. She is working as a volunteer Educator at Khwawa Community Secondary School and spearheaded the successful fundraising campaign which brought electricity to Khwawa.

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)