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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 Deaf Club 1
Determined to Develop Deaf Club 1
Determined to Develop Deaf Club 2
Determined to Develop Deaf Club 3
Determined to Develop Deaf Club 1Determined to Develop Deaf Club 2Determined to Develop Deaf Club 3

Determined to Develop starts Deaf Club in Malawi

There are over 50,000 hearing impaired people in Malawi, who face many serious challenges as there are extremely limited facilities to accommodate their needs. As recently as 2009 there were just 11 sign language interpreters working in the country, meaning that the deaf community frequently misses out on vital information and crucial services. People with hearing impairments are not benefiting from the current education system, as most of the schools in the country have no teachers who are expert in sign languages, resulting in increased illiteracy levels amongst the people who are deaf. Health campaigns, including those targeting HIV/AIDs awareness, frequently make no provision for those who require an alternative mode of communication.

Determined to Develop has been running a Deaf Club for the local community since June of this year. Through our partnership with the International Citizen Service, D2D worked on a pilot integrated program, which included three deaf volunteers (two Malawian and one from the UK). These volunteers, alongside other group members, and UK and Malawian interpreters, worked with D2D staff and local chiefs to identify and reach out to deaf children and adults in Chilumba. The group found that many of the deaf people from the area had no access to education or learning sign language, which meant they had limited ability to communicate with others. Based on the model of UK deaf clubs, which have been successful for many years, a deaf club of our own was formed. It has a focus on teaching sign language, and supporting both the social interaction and communication development of deaf adults, children and their families. For some members, this was the first time they had been able to communicate with family members. Though the club initially started as a result of a volunteer project, there was a focus on making the project sustainable from the outset. The volunteers helped to establish a Deaf Club Committee, which has ensured the group is still running. The club now meets on every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon here at Maji Zuwa, and is led by a very enthusiastic young deaf man, 28-year-old Claim Gondwe.

Across Malawi, there are other efforts underway to address the challenges faced by the Deaf Community. Malawi National Association of the Deaf (Manad) has launched Malawi’s Sign Language and Rights project aimed at addressing communication challenges facing the deaf. The project will see 20 teachers and 20 medical personnel trained in sign language for basic communication with deaf students and patients respectively. Many times deaf people do not proceed with their education because they fail to lip-read their teachers. In the health sector, too, there have been cases where the deaf were given the wrong prescription just because of communication breakdown. The project will aim to train some of these crucial service providers and alleviate some of the difficulties faced- but there is still a huge amount to be done.

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)