Check out the GoAbroad Foundation’s interview with Alexandra Mendez, Assistant Executive Director of Determined to Develop (D2D). She gave us insight into what D2D is focused on and what kind of impact their projects have in Malawi.
What would you like people to know about D2D?
Our mission is to empower, through education, the people of Malawi to become agents of development for their families, communities, country, and world.
What makes you distinct from other NGOs in East Africa?
We keep it local and small on purpose. Many NGOs in the East are based in large cities, operating from a top-down approach outside of the communities they serve. It is also a general protocol for many NGOs to distribute resources and programming in numerous communities to have a greater reach. At D2D, we value quality over quantity. As the organization develops, we have intentionally restricted our operations to our immediate area of Chilumba. This has allowed us to cultivate strong and trusting relationships with community members so we can create solutions to problems together. Furthermore, it enables us to dedicate all of our resources to quality community projects.
Tell us a bit about Wasambo Technical College.
A major barrier to tertiary education in Malawi is simply the availability of institutions. There is a lack of space at existing institutions and many of them are located long distances from prospective students’ home villages. The cost of transport to other institutions prevents them from attending. In order to get Wasambo Technical College off the ground, we first need a place for these students to study! Wasambo Technical College will be a TVET college offering courses from carpentry to welding to business administration. Located near Wasambo Boys and Girls High School Campuses, it will be easily accessible to many students in the area.
When and how did the partnership between Wasambo Technical College and D2D begin? What are the outcomes of your partnership thus far?
After community meetings, assessment, and research on the surrounding area, the founder of D2D and key community stakeholders, such as village chiefs and local school administrators, came to the agreement that our community was in need of a tertiary education institution, and so the idea of the community starting their own technical college was born. This is in conjunction with the founding of Wasambo Boys High School and Girls High School.
How will building classrooms at Wasambo Technical College change the school as a whole?
There are currently no classrooms, and there are no technical colleges located in our immediate surroundings. Students from our area who previously had no access to tertiary education will have the opportunity to seek higher education and expand their opportunities for future employment.
How are the students selected for your Sponsorship Program?
Students are selected on a case-by-case basis by our External Relationships & Sponsorship Manager, who has lived in our community for 10+ years and worked with D2D since inception. Before being accepted into the School Tuition Sponsorship program, students are interviewed to assess their school performance, work ethic, and level of need.
How many children are presently sponsored?
What does the Sponsorship Program provide for a student?
- Tuition/School Fees
- School Supplies- Books, Notebooks, Pens, Testing Materials
- School Lunch
- Emergency medical fees, so they can recover and go back to school ASAP