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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:

Water for the warm heart of Africa
Water for the warm heart of Africa
Water for the warm heart of Africa 2
Water for the warm heart of AfricaWater for the warm heart of Africa 2

Water for the Warm Heart of Africa

A group of eager guests gathered around a table at the entrance; each one searching through the pile of nametags, scanning over names like, Gov. Bob Taft and President Daniel Curran. Guests began to stretch further into the room, passing table after table decorated with menus and agendas. A little blue continent of Africa appeared everywhere with a hopeful message: Water for the Warm Heart of Africa.

A benefit dinner hosted by the University of Dayton’s chapter of Determined to Develop’s goal was to raise money to equip the Sangilo Private Hospital in Chilumba, Malawi, with a water pump and tank that will provide better healthcare to over 35,000 Malawians.

The guest list was diverse with students, faculty, alumni and community guests. All seats were sold out; a total of 430 people gathered with one mission in mind. The room was filled with positive energy, with guests writing donations and bidding on auction items. By the end of the night $6,500 was raised for the project, and they are still counting.

Allison Varricchio ’13 and Stephen Crum ’14 took the stage to welcome the guests. The room filled with a sense of community, friends and strangers working together to create a better life for a similar community across an ocean. As the people of Malawi sat down to their dinner in another country, the community of UD sat down to theirs.

The meal was a traditional Malawi dinner of Masamba, a dish of greens with tomatoes, and a dessert of Mandasi, a donut-like pastry. The only beverage was a glass of water, a symbol of the water the chapter hopes to bring to Malawi. As the guests finished their meals, an introduction by Varricchio brought Matt Maroon ’06, founder of Determined to Develop, to the stage.

Maroon undertook a year of service with the Marianist brothers in Malawi, Africa. When Maroon returned to Malawi, he founded Maji Zuwa, a community hub where visitors and local residents come together to work on development projects, the next step being the nonprofit organization Determined to Develop to support the projects like Water for the Warm Heart of Africa.

“Together, we can make a difference in the warm heart of Africa,” Maroon said.

By Mickey Shuey

The people of Karonga, Malawi would like to thank the donors and volunteers of Determined To Develop for making this project possible and successful.

Tawonga chomene (We thank you)