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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 School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 1
Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 1
Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 2
Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 3
Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 4
Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 5
Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 6
Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 1Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 2Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 3Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 4Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 5Determined to Develop School Children Assist with Reforestation Project 6

School Children Assist With Reforestation Efforts in Sangilo

It was an exciting week for our reforestation project, which saw the planting of our seedlings we have been growing to halt the levels of deforestation in Sangilo.

Deforestation is a major environmental threat, not only in Sangilo Village, but throughout the whole of Malawi. High rates of deforestation can lead to desertification, a process that occurs when a landscape is stripped of much of its vegetation, causing a decrease in the amount of nutrients held in the soil and high rates of soil erosion. This process of land degradation has long term severe economic and social consequences as the land becomes increasingly difficult to farm and crop yields decrease. Despite such devastating effects the issue has been exacerbated in recent years through population increase, which has intensified agricultural practices and increased the use of firewood.

With deforestation being such a real and growing issue facing the population of Sangilo, D2D decided to implement a project tackling this problem in our local area. This cycle of the reforestation project started back in July when a small team of both British and Malawian volunteers (under the UK government funded scheme International Citizen Service) built a plant nursery at Maji Zuwa and started planting and caring for a variety of seeds. Since then we have been caring for the seedlings daily to ensure they grow successfully. Despite the challenges along the way, such as the local chickens climbing over the wall and eating many of the seedlings, we managed to successfully grow over 600 seedlings!

We spilt these seedlings between Maji Zuwa, where many of our sponsored youth live and gather as a place to study and socialize after school and during the weekends, and Sangilo primary school. In order to make the project a success and we asked a representative from the Malawi Forestry Commission to visit the primary school and hold an assembly, explaining the importance of reforestation and the devastation that cutting down trees can have on the environment. The children seemed extremely engaged and very excited to hear that the Forestry Commission had entered the school into a competition, being held for all primary schools in the district which had planted seedlings. The winning schools shall be those who successfully take care of their seedlings.

Prior to the planting we had agreed with the Head Mistress that the children from Standards 5, 6, 7, and 8 would each care for an individual plant. The children had each taken an afternoon to dig individual holes for their seedlings and brought manure from them homes to place into the dugout wholes and act as a natural fertilizer, encouraging the seedlings to adapt to the new environment. Taking such ownership over their own seedling should encourage the children to water them on those days that we have no rainfall.

It was great to see the children so engaged with the project and our collective work over the past eight months come to fruition.

Declan Sharkey 13th February 2015 Malawi, Africa

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)