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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:

Lt. Col. Joseph Williams Speaks to Determined to Develop Students

Lt. Col. Joseph Williams speaks to Determined to Develop students

Maji Zuwa was lucky to receive Lieutenant Colonel Joseph E. Williams, the most senior United States’ Defense official and Defense Attaché to both the Malawian and Zimbabwean Embassies.

Lt. Col. Williams was in the northern region on a base inspection of Chilumba Barracks, the final military installation he visited while on a country tour. As part of his job, Lt. Col. Williams works hand in hand with the Malawi Defense Force (MDF – the Malawian military) to ensure readiness and capability, focusing particularly on officer training. In part because of the USA’s commitment to the Malawian military, Malawi is considered one of the best forces in Southern Africa and is regarded as the most professional Army in numerous Peace Keeping operations in both the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Ivory Coast, which both have active missions staffed by Malawian troops.

During his visit, Lt. Col. Williams spoke to the Determined to Develop students about the need to work hard in school in order to have a successful future. Having served in the Army for more than 25 years, he regaled the students with stories from each major conflict America has been involved with including stories from Iraq and Afghanistan. But his bigger lessons were on the importance of education and its ability to transform lives.

We are thankful that Lt. Col. Williams took time from his busy schedule to stay with us and speak to our kids!

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)

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