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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:

Residential Youth Participate in Lessons and Tutoring During Extended Holiday

Like most schools around the world, Malawian schools have been closed since the end of March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheduled Easter holiday break of three weeks has now been almost five months long. During this time our residential youth have been able to work together to continue studying at home. With the support of D2D staff, the residential university students have organized lessons for their fellow youth to keep everyone focused on academics during this long holiday. Below, Wongani shares about his experience:

During this extra-long holiday, we have really missed being at school but we are benefitting from tutoring at D2D. We thought it would be so difficult for us to proceed with our studies but during this holiday, D2D staff has supported us by organizing lessons so that we can keep studying.

Some of us are in Form 4 and we were supposed to be writing our MSCE (national exams) this year. These lessons have really helped us stay on task. I want to appreciate and thank our fellow residential youth for teaching these lessons to us. Our older brothers have put in a lot of time to put together lessons and work with all of us secondary students.

If I were not a D2D residential youth, I wouldn’t have been able to put so much time into studying for exams. I am thankful to be here and be able to use the textbooks and computers to keep studying with my friends. I feel more ready each day to take my exams when school will open again.