Dedza is a local government administrative district in the centre of Malawi. The 2008 census gave the total population as 623,789. This is an increase of 137,107 (28%) over the
1998 census figure. Average household size has remained the same at 4.3 persons, so that the number of households has increased. Average density increased from 134 to 172 persons
per sq kilometre. In a rural area this puts tremendous pressure on farming land.
53% of the population are under 18 (in UK 20% under 16). This high proportion of young people creates problems for schooling and for future employment and population growth.
The main town, Dedza Township, (pop 20,000) is 50 miles south of the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, on the main road to the second city of Blantyre. It is at a point on the
Mozambique border where a trans-African highway from Johannesburg enters the country. The town has banks, post office, supermarket, filling stations, market, numerous small shops
and some bars and restaurants.
There are other small market towns, each with post office, shops and workshops distributed around the district - Lobi, Linthipe, Mayana, Mtakataka. However, 90% of the people
live in small villages of thatched houses. They are subsistence farmers, often working less than one hectare of land. The villages a re connected to the highway by dirt roads.
There is unlikely to be an electricity supply. Most villages will have a borehole pump for clean water and there may be a primary school shared by a number of villages.