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.