Despite Malawi's beauty and natural resources, poverty continues to be chronic and widespread in Malawi, ranked 170 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index. Malawi’s development is hindered by a fast-growing population, limited arable land, natural disasters, food insecurity, HIV/AIDS, and a high incidence of malaria. Almost 50% of the population is under the age of 15, and a large number of these young people are living in poverty. Poverty threatens an individual’s most basic rights to survival, health, nutrition, and protection from exploitation. In addition, poverty threatens access to education. Knowing that education is both a fundamental human right and a key component of development, Determined to Develop (D2D) is successfully using education as a primary tool to break the cycle of extreme poverty in Malawi, Africa.
One of D2D's key programs is support for youth to attend school and further their education through our School Tuition Sponsorship Program. This has remained one of the most evident needs in the community, and the request we receive most often from families and young people alike. There are several barriers for youth in Malawi to complete their secondary (high school) education. A lack of infrastructure capacity, as well as large distances to schools, are two such barriers. Another large barrier for many students is the cost of attendance. While primary school is free in Malawi, secondary school is not. The added expense of school fees, coupled with associated costs of schooling, often makes it impossible for families to pay, leading to a high incidence of school dropout. In response to these issues, the School Tuition Sponsorship Program became the first of our formal education initiatives and continues to be one of our core programs. The program covers not only school fees but also associated costs, ensuring students have all the materials needed for educational success.
D2D's Residential Youth Program has been one of our longest-running and most successful programs. By providing a stable family-oriented home life, a comfortable living environment, three nutritious meals a day, and emotional support, the youth in our care are able to concentrate more fully on their academics. The youth in our care comprise mostly secondary (high school) students and a select number of especially vulnerable primary students. We have seen measurable results from our Residential Youth Program, with live-in youth being routinely at the top of their classes and recognized as leaders among their peers.
Our School Tuition Sponsorship Program, which presently offers school fee sponsorship to girls in the area, is complemented by our non-formal Girls’ Empowerment Program, which targets females at local primary and secondary schools in an attempt to tackle the inequality in access to education between males and females.
Determined to Develop’s Youth Sponsorship program, which offers school fee sponsorship to many students in the area, is complemented by our non-formal and extended learning programs offered to youth with our Extended Learning Opportunities for Youth Program.
Supporting local schools and increasing the overall standard of education in the Chilumba area is important, not just for the success of our sponsored students who attend these institutions, but also for their peers and the community as a whole. This is why we remain engaged in both the infrastructure and management of the area schools that we partner with for our Local Education Partnerships Program.
Following a large-scale survey of the educational needs of Northern Malawi, it was found that the largest barrier to educational success in the area was a lack of infrastructure and access to school facilities. It was based on these findings that D2D, in partnership with a major United States University, commissioned a new boarding school for boys, which established a national reach within its first year of operation, welcoming a class of 75 students. Wasambo Boy's High School accepts students entering Form 1 (freshman year of high school) in the effort to provide them with a quality education throughout the entirety of their secondary schooling. To learn more about Wasambo Boy's High School, please visit www.wasambo.org.
For more information about Determined to Develop, please visit www.determinedtodevelop.org