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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 Maji Zuwa Girls Group 2
Determined to Develop Maji Zuwa Girls Group 2
Determined to Develop Maji Zuwa Girls Group 1
Determined to Develop Maji Zuwa Girls Group 3
Determined to Develop Maji Zuwa Girls Group 4
Determined to Develop Maji Zuwa Girls Group 2Determined to Develop Maji Zuwa Girls Group 1Determined to Develop Maji Zuwa Girls Group 3Determined to Develop Maji Zuwa Girls Group 4

Maji Zuwa Girls Group

Determined to Develop currently pays for the school tuition of 110 students in Malawi, among these 40% are girls, ranging from Form One to Four. The ‘Maji Zuwa Girl’s Group’ has been created to support the girls involved with the Determined to Develop school tuition program. The group hopes to engage the girls through weekly meetings and have a positive impact on them, particularly in terms of empowerment and boosting self-confidence.

The group has been working together to identify issues and topics for discussion. One of our early sessions posed the question ‘What is it like to be a woman in Malawi?’ Other topics included the roles of women in society, the positives of being a woman in Malawi and identifying a number of issues they or their peers personally face. They felt a key problem for women were the barriers to education and leaving school early. They felt this could be a result of family duties, poverty, pregnancy, peer pressure, being orphaned and marriage (the UN states that over half of girls in Malawi are married by the age of 18). The girls then talked about the consequences of having no education, falling into poverty, prostitution- which can in turn lead to HIV, becoming involved in witchcraft, jealousy and population increase.

Figures from the World Bank show only 27% of Malawian girls enroll in secondary school, about half of these actually attend, and much fewer will complete school. In Malawi, where secondary education is not free, there are a number of obstacles for males and females alike to overcome to be able to finish their education. The issues identified by the girls group show that although scholarships may allow the girls to attend school, there are other factors that need to be recognised in order to keep girls enrolled in school. To address this, Determined to Develop is focusing on providing a supportive environment for the girls to speak in front of others and become comfortable in sharing their ideas and opinions. We are utilising role models in the group such as Alinafe and other female students who have completed their high school education. These older students will also participate in the academic groups that have been formed so the members can help each other with schoolwork and support each other in their classes. Determined to Develop hopes that through a series of talks, debates, activities, careers days, dancing, games, songs, and team building that the self-confidence of the girl’s will improve and encourage them to stay in school and complete their high school education.

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)