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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:

Empowering Malawian women through financial security

In Chilumba, Northern Malawi where Determined to Develop works:

Only 1 in 20 women complete secondary education

Women have an average of 6 children

1 in 5 women believe a husband is justified in beating his wife under certain circumstances

40% of women aged 15-19 have begun childbearing

Determined to Develop is supporting four women’s groups in the north of Malawi to improve financial security and empower them to have control over their own lives.

The project will support an Income Generating Activity (IGA) for each group to better the lives of the women and their families. IGA aims to increase and diversify income, they improve a families’ economic situation through an increase in purchasing power. This improves food security and can have benefits beyond financial goals, such as increasing social well-being of the community, promoting solidarity among the community, and also promoting equality between men and women (ACF, 2009). The groups are working on four separate IGA: poultry farming; traditional breads and baking; fresh produce; and local crafts and sewing.

Each woman will receive training on business skills throughout the project to give them the tools they need to make the IGA effective and sustainable. The women will also receive specialized training on their particular IGA to refine their existing skills.

A key aspect of the project is to provide a small shop, which will serve as a hub for the groups and serve as an outlet for the goods produced through the IGA by the women’s groups. Over time, we also hope it will become an outlet for other women in the area to sell goods ad handicrafts and for the project’s initial beneficiaries to share knowledge with others in the community.

Each of the women’s groups is also involved in community development initiatives, which include nutrition and hygiene awareness, female sanitation including a reusable pad project, support for a local nursery school, and support for feeding programs.

The project is being run over a period of 18 months, and is being implemented in partnership with the UK DFiD’s International Citizenship Service (ICS). D2D is also working with a number of other partners including local chiefs, local business owners, Peace Corps Malawi, and experts within the community.

D2D is seeking funding for materials and labor to build a shop where the women can sell their goods and have a meeting space for their groups. If you would like to donate to this project you can do so below.

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)