During August and September of 2007, the baseline survey for the evaluation was administered, involving nearly 13,000 participants. A detailed summary of the findings of the survey is presented in the Baseline Survey Report. Data from the baseline survey indicates that, prior to the initiation of NSP activities, respondents in the evaluation districts face high levels of poverty and are generally poorly served by other projects. Over 80 percent of households draw water from unsafe water sources and only 14 percent have access to electricity. Access to health care was also found to be limited, with around 89 percent of respondents reporting that there was no community health worker available to treat illnesses of people in the village and 10 percent of respondents claiming that there is no source of medical treatment at all for people in the village who fall ill.
The baseline survey found that village headmen and tribal elders usually play the leading role in making decisions on behalf of the community, establishing rules, and resolving disputes. Women, however, appear to have a very limited role in village governance, with 91 percent of female respondents stating that there was no formal role by which women could participate in the village council. Respondents generally indicated a strong desire for political participation and government involvement. Nine out of ten male household respondents indicated a desire to vote in the next presidential and parliamentary elections and approximately 50 percent knew the name of a parliamentary representative for their province. When asked to which entity people earning income should pay tax, over 86 percent respondents reported that tax should be paid to the central government or a representative thereof.
In order to inform whether sub-projects implemented by NSP are reflective of the preferences of villagers, the baseline survey sought to obtain detailed information concerning which types of sub-projects respondents felt were most needed. The results indicate that male heads-of-household and female respondents believe that clean drinking water facilities are of primary importance, followed by schools, and health facilities. Projects focused on irrigation and roads and bridges were of high importance to male respondents, both at the household and focus group level, but were of lesser importance to female respondents.