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 D2D 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. D2D participates 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 D2D projects begin. Furthermore, all work is vetted by community stakeholders.
Second, communities contribute to the running of each project at D2D. Our approach emphasizes the personal responsibility and accountability of all partners and stakeholders 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, Zika Alick Mkandawire, who ensures that D2D stays fully engaged with everything taking place in the villages and vice versa.
D2D has expanded its programming, but maintains its 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.