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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 Youth Sponsorship Program 1
Determined to Develop Youth Sponsorship Program 1
Determined to Develop Youth Sponsorship Program 2
Determined to Develop Youth Sponsorship Program 3
Determined to Develop Youth Sponsorship Program 1Determined to Develop Youth Sponsorship Program 2Determined to Develop Youth Sponsorship Program 3

Determined to Develop Youth Sponsorship Program

Determined to Develop’s largest area of work is the Youth Sponsorship Program, which covers school fees for over 120 students. While most of our sponsored youth attend secondary school, we also sponsor several students attending primary school and university.

How does the Malawian School system work?

In Malawi a child starts school at the age of six, when they enroll in primary school. There are eight years of primary school, and upon completion they can progress onto secondary school. Most of those that continue with education will attend a Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in their local area; but the highest achievers from primary school will be selected to attend government boarding schools. There are four years of secondary school and upon graduation, students receive their leaving qualification – known as the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE). Depending upon the grade awarded, a student may then continue onto University to study for a Bachelor’s degree or another form of continuing education.

Why does Determined to Develop run a sponsorship program?

In Malawi, there are many challenges associated with poverty, which prevent numerous young people’s access to education. Only primary school is free in Malawi, and the costs associated with secondary school are often unaffordable for many. Even if a student manages to secure the funds to cover their school tuition, there are further costs, including the purchase of a school uniform, basic school materials such as pens, books and a backpack, and examination fees. School dropout rates are also high, because of other issues associated with poverty, such as illness; early marriage; pregnancy; and family obligations.

That’s why Determined to Develop covers the school fees, and other associated costs, for over 120 students in our local area, through our Youth Sponsorship Program. We believe that education acts as a tool which allows a student to gain invaluable knowledge and skills, to take forward with them in the future.

Going beyond school fees

As well as paying for school fees and upkeep, we also invest in the personal development of our youth though a range of non-formal education initiatives. We currently run two girls groups – one with the girls at secondary school and the other for the older girls at primary school, aged 10 – 14. These groups provide the girls with a platform where they can openly discuss the common challenges they face and come together for peer-support and group study.

We are also preparing for a Leadership workshop that we will be holding from April 2nd – 4th. All of our sponsored youth will attend the three day workshop where we will be discuss ‘How to Become a Successful Leader’, covering an array of both practical and life skills, from effective study skills and careers options, to sexual reproductive health and peer-pressure.

We invest in non-formal education because we feel it widens opportunities and provides our youth with more confidence and communication skills to give them a voice to make informed decisions about their futures. We are excited to run the first Determined to Develop Leadership workshop and are positive it will be a great success!

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)