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Matt Maroon Determined to Develop Malawi

Matt Maroon – Executive Director

Matt is a 2006 graduate of the University of Dayton, USA. Before going to law school, he decided to undertake a year of service abroad. He arranged a one-year program in Malawi, with the help of the Marianist brothers from the University of Dayton. What was meant to be a one-year stay in Malawi turned into two.

During his time with the Marianists, Matt served as Chief Financial Officer and Acting Director of Miracle Technical College for Orphans. Concurrently, he taught social studies and biology at Chaminade Boarding School and was in charge of a women’s empowerment program which allocated micro-credit loans to widows and orphans. During the hunger months, which is the time in Malawi before harvests when country-wide food storages are low or emptied, Matt managed a grain distribution program which provided sustenance to over 1,500 families who would have otherwise risked starvation.

Following the completion of his graduate studies in Cultural and Applied Anthropology at the University of Cincinnati, where he also worked full-time as a residential house parent in a group home for inner-city boys, Matt returned to Malawi. He established a lodge called Maji Zuwa, which means “water and sun” in the local language of ChiTumbuka, which serves as a community hub where people can come together to work on development projects. At the same time, Matt founded the non-profit organization, Determined to Develop, to support the development work of surrounding villages and Malawi as a whole.

Matt formerly lectured at the University of Livingstonia in Malawi, where he held the post of Dean of the College of Social Sciences. In recognition of his work and collaborative spirit, Matt has been inducted by traditional leaders as a chief in the Mwakhwawa clan.

Geoff

Geoff Mzembe – Relations & Sponsorships Manager

Geoff has been with Determined to Develop since the beginning, starting with the project in 2010. Geoff has been an integral part of all projects from their inception. In the past year, Geoff has moved into a new role coordinating all external and community relations, from our surrounding villages and schools to government-level stakeholders. This means Geoff sits on the Parent Teacher Associations of our local schools, attends village meetings on issues affecting the community, and maintains partnerships with the Ministry of Social Welfare. Geoff also oversees the sponsorships of all youth under D2D programming. Geoff has a degree in Education, with a focus on Social and Development Studies as well as Geography from the University of Livingstonia. In his free time, Geoff likes to watch and play soccer.

Alex Mendez – Assistant Executive Director

Alex is a University of Colorado graduate with a B.A. in Psychological Sciences. After graduating, she joined the Peace Corps where she implemented social behavior change interventions at the grassroots level in Malawi’s health sector. She lived and worked in the northernmost region of Malawi for two years, focusing predominantly on promoting healthy behavior in primary and secondary school students, as well as advising rural hospital staff on best practices.

Hope Kondowe – Finance Officer/Accountant

Hope has a higher diploma in Business Management obtained from Lilongwe Technical College. He started working with D2D in June 2016. Hope is responsible for monitoring and carrying out the finances and accounting for D2D. Hope ensures that D2D policies and procedures are adhered to, and that financial transactions and records are in compliance with the approved accounting system. In his free time he enjoys watching movies and listening to music.

Frank Kasanda – Operations Officer

Frank has been with D2D since the organization began in 2010. He helped to lay the foundation and construct the infrastructure for the Maji Zuwa and what would eventually become the Determined to Develop campus. He enrolled in Livingstonia Technical College in 2015 and graduated with a certificate in Motor Vehicle Mechanics in 2017. He works now as D2S’s Operations Officer, overseeing construction projects, supporting operations, and continuing his work as the organization’s driver and mechanic. He enjoys fixing mechanical issues and feels the most proud once he is able to use his skills and technical work to complete a task. In his spare time he enjoys reading novels.

Chimwemwe Munthali – Girls’ Empowerment Initiatives

Chimwemwe graduated from the University of Livingstonia with a degree in Development Studies. During her studies, she interned an organization where she taught sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS education to secondary school students. As the Girls’ Empowerment Initiatives Manager, Chimwemwe conducts all Girls’ Empowerment Program Initiatives, including Girls Club and Income Generating Activities. In her free time, Chimwemwe enjoys baking, reading, and listening to music.

Ofwa Sibakwe – Special Projects Manager

Ofwa graduated from the University of Livingstonia with a degree in Development Studies. Ofwa began as an intern at D2D before becoming a full-time employee. As Special Projects Manager, Ofwa handles all operations and monitoring for D2D’s special projects and runs the Extended Learning Opportunities Program. Central to the Extended Learning Opportunities Program are the operations and maintenance of the D2D technology center, gardens, reforestation efforts, and animal husbandry efforts. In his free time, Ofwa enjoys playing and watching football and watching documentaries.

Robert Chikwezga – Residential Youth Manager

Robert earned his degree in Environmental Management from the University of Livingstonia. As Residential Youth Manager, Robert is in charge of running the on-campus residential home. He leads the residential youth, overseeing academic and personal development, and ensures adherence to policies and procedures. Robert previously held an internship in the Mzuzu City Council’s Parks and Recreation Department. In his free time, Robert enjoys watching movies, swimming, and playing beach soccer.