Prior to intervention in Mphande, Tevel conducted a thorough baseline survey aimed at delving into the socioeconomic conditions, water use, nutrition, farming practices, and health concerns of villagers. The survey, conducted by a team of 7 enumerators, involved interviews with over 140 households and focus group discussions with more than 30 individuals. This meticulous process served as the foundational step to understand the existing challenges and dynamics within the community, providing crucial insights to tailor effective and sustainable interventions that address the specific needs and concerns of the people of Mphande.
Findings of our baseline survey revealed that the people of Mphande live in extreme poverty, with income primarily derived from small-scale maize cultivation and charcoal production. The villagers’ most prevalent concerns included access to healthcare and clean water as well as health issues, especially repeated bouts of malaria causing significant work and school absenteeism. Food insecurity and limited access to water for irrigation were further identified challenges. The survey highlighted malnutrition, stunted growth in children, and educational gaps, with 35% of children not attending school. Further, the dispersed nature of the villages in the Mphande region poses logistical challenges for concentrated efforts and access to water and training.