The Foundation works in an area known as Traditional Authority Malenga Mzoma, a collection of about 60 villages comprising 20,000 people along the shore of Lake Malawi and stretching up into the hills that rise nearby.
Located in East Africa, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and Malenga Mzoma is one of the poorest areas in Malawi.
Before starting its work in 2016, the Foundation ran a baseline survey to bench-mark the situation before it started work. The survey was extremely robust, interviewing 30% of households in Malenga Mzoma.
The full survey is available but, in brief, it identified 10 key challenges facing the people of Malenga Mzoma:
1 – Over a quarter of the households have an income of less than £20 a month.
2 – One quarter of households rely on fishing and over a fifth of households rely on farm jobs.
3 – Although nearly 90% of people have a small piece of land, it is usually of poor quality and requires investment in fertiliser etc if it is to be productive.
4 – Nearly half of people have had no formal education.
5 – The staple diet is cassava which is pounded into flour and cooked as nsima, a kind of porridge.
6 – Most households have two meals a day, but one in eight people eat only once. Nearly two-thirds still consume untreated water.
7 – A quarter of people can’t read or write in English or in the national language, Chichewa.
8 – 11% of households are affected by HIV/Aids.
9 – For 94% of households, the main source of fuel energy is firewood and charcoal.
10 – Access to health facilities invariably involves a long walk and prescription drugs are scarce.