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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:

Virtual Mentoring with Visa

We have missed hosting volunteers over the last 18 months. Luckily, we were able to connect with Visa’s Southern Africa office who reached out wanting to volunteer with D2D youth. Through some creativity from both D2D staff and our new friends at Visa, two virtual mentoring sessions took place in June 2021. 

The first session was with D2D’s primary age Girl’s Club as well as the primary age Residential Youth. During this first session, the youth were introduced too many Visa employees joining the video call from Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa. One of the speakers was Maurice New, MD Southern Africa who is Malawian and was able to give his presentation in Chichewa. 

The second session was geared towards the older youth and included members of the secondary Girl’s Club as well as other sponsored youth attending Saturday morning tutoring sessions. In collaboration with Pooja Vaya, Visa’s Country Manager for Malawi, supplies were prepared for a hands on demonstration and activity during the virtual session. 

These mentoring sessions were such a fun and unique way for D2D youth to connect with professionals in the southern Africa region. We are so thankful to Visa and their employees for making this such a success. We also want to give a big thank you to Visa for the accompanying grant for D2D programming.