Determined to Develop (D2D) recently hosted three different workshops with the help of visiting friends here in Malawi. One such friend, Laura Limarzi, volunteered with D2D several years ago and loved Malawi so much that, upon graduation from the Univesity of North Carolina, she returned to Malawi to work on a health research project in the capital city of Malawi. D2D was lucky enough to have her back for a short time, joined by her friend, Megan Anderson. Megan is a business development director at integrate.ai, a fast growing global Artificial Intelligence startup based in Toronto, Canada. She was formerly a consultant at McKinsey & Company where she specialized in large scale digital transformations across Canada, the UK and Australia. Passionate about diversity and inclusion both inside integrate.ai and in the broader Canadian community as the co-founder of #GoSponsorHer, Megan was voted one of the top 25 women of influence in Canada in 2017 for her work. Megan planned and delivered several workshops during her stay with us a couple weeks ago.
On Thursday, all staff members of D2D and office staff for Maji Zuwa engaged in an all-day workshop, bringing fresh energy and a renewed sense of purpose to the team. Matt facilitated the morning session and had each staff member speak to the strengths of the organization and highlight where untapped opportunities exist. Discussion also took place on organizational weaknesses and how they can be improved. Afterwards, an overview of budget information and core organizational commitments took place. The afternoon session was led by Megan, who spoke to the power of a growth mindset and detailed problem-solving strategies. The group set new organizational goals and a lot of focus was placed on the impact D2D is ready to make within education initiatives throughout 2018.
Friday was the most spirited day of all thanks to the women’s IGA business groups! The baking, sewing and chicken group partook in a day long workshop, with the end marking the official start of their journey as independent business owners, delinked from D2D. The day consisted of several sections, concentrating on resource management, strategies to generate greater profit, creative ways to appeal to customers, overall business goals and objectives, and empowerment. Together, A LOT of singing, dancing and learning took place by all who were in attendance. To close the day, the women were presented with individual and group gifts to celebrate the beginning of a new and exciting chapter! Each group received matching chitenjes, a dish set, and multiple items specific to their group needs, such as chicken feed, baking flour, and sewing materials.
Saturday was the final day in the workshop series, ending off where a lot of new investment for D2D is taking place – the sponsored secondary school girls. The girls were introduced to new games and enjoyed different energizers to start the day. Through a number of activities, the girls discussed their female role models and the impact such a figure can have on them. They also discussed how the commitments they make and positive attitudes they possess can help propel them towards achieving their short and long-term goals in life. After enjoying lunch together, the girls reviewed everything they had learned and were given the chance to ask Megan and Laura questions. Even though it was a busy weekend for D2D, the workshop series was a major success and a positive experience for everyone who partook in them!