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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 now has running water 1
Determined to Develop now has running water 1
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Determined to Develop now has running water 4
Determined to Develop now has running water 2
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Determined to Develop now has running water 7
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Determined to Develop now has running water 10
Determined to Develop now has running water 1Determined to Develop now has running water 5Determined to Develop now has running water 4Determined to Develop now has running water 2Determined to Develop now has running water 3Determined to Develop now has running water 6Determined to Develop now has running water 7Determined to Develop now has running water 9Determined to Develop now has running water 10

Determined to Develop students now have running water

Since it’s inception, Determined to Develop and Maji Zuwa (the lodge and economic center that provides food and shelter for many of the students sponsored by Determined to Develop) got their water in typical Malawi fashion, by carrying large tubs of water directly from Lake Malawi and then dumping them into large holding tanks. Our sponsored students would use the lake to bathe and do their laundry.


Water is medicine to dehydration, water washes away dirt, water cleanses the body and the human body is ninety percent water; above all water is life. These statements demonstrate how invaluable water is to mankind. But there is nothing more important than clean running water. Clean water is a basic necessity. How many can afford it? This is the big question we ask one another particularly when you come from a developing nation like Malawi where water is one of the most expensive things you can have.

Situated in the shores of Lake Malawi; Chilumba area to be specific. Maji Zuwa harbours a lodge and a home for the less privileged kids sponsored by Matt Maroon through his Determined to Develop NGO. If there was one thing that these kids would cry out to their gods would definitely be a wish for clean and sanitary water. Though blessed with a beautiful lake but the cases of water borne diseases has been prevalent since our ancestral times.

Like many other areas in Malawi, Maji Zuwa has been short of this basic necessity even though there was a provision for women carrying water buckets on their heads from the steeper Lake Malawi shores, there was always going to be a case of water running out from the tanks and also it would mean customers were a priority hence no showers for the Boys. Since its inception the lodge has been relying heavily on the women’s prowess to fill the tank. Therefore, to afford a clean shower or a perfect dish wash was a problem to the kids. If in any situation the women were not told in time it would mean a waterless environment for a considerable amount of time.

This did not only affect people, plants also groaned in agony as the blistering lakeshore heat murdered them mercilessly. All the beautiful flowers planted could only exist in rainy season and then disappear when the sun comes back. It would mean a hard time for the ground worker to carry buckets from the lake uphill just to water the plants. Therefore most plants would die along the way as there was insufficient water for them. Since 2010, the lodge and the home for the sponsored kids have had a hard time to access running water. Eventually, the only solution was the lake for washing, bathing and even drinking. But this was always scary as it did not guarantee safety from water borne diseases.


Thanks to a generous donation from a friend who visited us in 2013 which covered all the costs for the piping and water tanks, there was news that a Determined to Develop board member would visit Malawi in March 2014, and like a football transfer news rumour “he will bring a water pump” this too was spread. Everybody was excited with the news. We all had seen how running water had changed the lives of people at Sangilo Health Centre. We all waited eagerly to see what would happen. In everybody’s mind it meant a perfect solution to a long standing problem.

On 16th March, he arrived at Maji Zuwa. Although the pump was delayed but there was a beacon of hope. Matt assured everybody that finally there was going to be a running water system. Zeal was ignited; works started commencing while others began digging tunnels for pipes some were busy making sure that the electric wire to the pump was being connected. The line to the lake was being connected as with the help of the boys. The plumbers’ worked on fixing new tanks within a few days. This water system would cover the whole of Maji Zuwa including the sponsored kid’s house. Everybody played their role under the instructions of Roy. There could never be a better time in Life than having hope that you will have clean running water.

In approximately within two weeks the water system was fixed. There was water at Maji Zuwa. It was like seeing an angel on earth. The presence of clean running water would finally guarantee safety from water borne diseases. Everyone was excited with having running water on campus. This could be manifested by how people enjoyed. The pain of carrying buckets was finally over. Apparently, some of the kids took three showers a day for the first time in their lives. You could feel what a relief this was. One could understand what water meant to life.

Today there is joy amongst the people. With running water there is hope for a perfect accommodation at the place and also making things easier for the cooks as well as the Determined to Develop sponsored kids. With clean running water now, the place looks beautiful, the plants look beautiful; bathing is beautiful, dish washing looks beautiful, yes water is life and life is beautiful too.

By: Christoper Chirambo Karonga Malawi, Africa April 2014

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)