Geoff Mzembe – Manager, External & Community Relations & Sponsorships
Geoff has been with Determined to Develop since the beginning, starting the project with Matt in 2010. Geoff has been an integral part of all projects from their inception. In the past year, Geoff has moved into a new role coordinating all external and community relations, from our surrounding village and schools to the Ministry level counterparts that work together with D2D in its programming. This means Geoff sits on the PTA’s of our local schools, attends village meetings on issues affecting the community, links with the Ministry of Social Welfare about child protection, coordinates our sponsored youth at local community schools, and serves as the point person for D2D’s outward facing programming. Geoff also manages all of our sponsorship programs that are the bread and butter of keeping our kids in school. Geoff has a degree in Education, with a focus on Social and Development Studies as well as Geography from the University of Livingstonia. In his free time, Geoff likes to watch and play soccer.
Kelsey Nauta – Assistant Executive Director
Kelsey Nauta (Nah-Tah) attended University of Oregon where she graduated in International Studies with a minor in African Studies with research focusing on comparative development in Sub-Saharan Africa. After graduating, Kelsey taught English in China and Cambodia for two years and then joined the Peace Corps where she was posted to Malawi. In Malawi, she lead several projects including community reforestation efforts, girl’s clubs and women’s empowerment programs as well as several youth-specific projects while living in a traditional village. Almost fluent in the Tumbuka language, Kelsey integrated in her local community and worked with traditional structures and chiefs to implement programs. In her free time Kelsey likes hiking, biking, swimming and reading. She joins the D2D team as the new Assistant Executive Director.
Hope Kondowe – Finance Officer/Accountant
Hope has a higher diploma in Business management obtained from Lilongwe Technical College. Hope is responsible for carrying out finance and accounting with a focus in transactions. Hope ensures that D2D policies and procedures are adhered to, and that financial transactions and records are in compliance with the approved accounting system.
Melness Kayuni – Women’s Empowerment Program Manager
Melness comes from the city of Mzuzu. She graduated from Miracle Technical College with a diploma in Community Development in June of 2017. In January that same year, she started working as a field officer for Determined to Develop as an intern. After her internship, she was asked to stay on and work as the Women’s Empowerment program manager. Melness helped the women’s groups develop a spirit of ownership and contributed to sustaining each one of their projects. Currently, her main focus is Girls Empowerment, where she is striving to build confidence in the girls and help them to develop more effectively in order to achieve success within their education’s and take control of their futures.
Whitney Strauss – University of Dayton Human Rights, Applied Project Officer
Whitney graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Political Science. Throughout her undergraduate career, her main focus was Human Rights Studies, where she developed a passion for women’s rights and female empowerment. She has previously served for a Peruvian nonprofit, where she worked to provide sustainable economic opportunities for women. She plans to return to the United States in 2018 in order to start a Master’s in Public Administration where she intends to spend her life vying for global human equality.
Owen Mcheka– Manager, Residential Youth
Owen is in charge of the residential home for the youth on Maji Zuwa’s campus, looking after the boys full time as their live-in house parent. He coordinates, leads, and develops the live-in youth by ensuring that they adhere to policies and procedures of the program. He previously worked with the Nkhata Bay district council in the Social Welfare department as an intern under a program called Malawi National Support, which focuses on alleviating poverty levels in Malawi. Owen is the most recent sponsored youth university graduate, completing his bachelors degree in Social Sciences at the University of Livingstonia where he majored in development studies and minored in human rights. During his free time he likes watching/performing boxing and reading novels.
Frackson Mhango – Special Programs
Frackson assists D2D with ongoing projects. Frackson began with D2D as a sponsored youth in 2011 when he was beginning high school and, after that time, he scored well under D2D’s program to continue with a university program where he earned a degree from the University of Livingstonia. In his free time, Frackson likes talking with friends and swimming in Lake Malawi.