Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Guest Blogger Today! Thank you Jessica :)

Jessica has blogged for us before, I borrowed this from her blog Defending The Fatherless.  Thank you Jessica.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Let's Do Some Shopping!

Well it's that time of year again when gift giving is on most people's to-do list.  It seems stores put up the Christmas decorations earlier and earlier to coax shoppers into the buying spirit.  Christmas has become so commercialized with so much  focus on stuff and sales (and I'm guilty of contributing to the frenzy).  But, I recently found out about a really great and easy way to help whole communities of people while you shop for all of those wish list items.

I've written about this amazing organization before, but I want to highlight Africa Windmill Project (AWP) again.  Africa Windmill Project was founded by good friends of ours who work with the highest level of integrity and ethical standard and with great passion and love for the people of Malawi. 

photo borrowed from AWP web page

Africa Windmiqll Project focuses on educating and supporting rural farmers as they work to feed and care for their families.  They do this by working directly with the farmers and by supporting other organizations as they work with farmers. Currently Africa Windmill Project is focused in the central region of Malawi.

photo borrowed from AWP web page

AWP is doing amazing things with farmers in Malawi and making strides towards the people of Malawi becoming food secure.  Go here to read more about AWP and follow along with their blog for regular updates here.

So how can you help AWP continue it's mission of helping Malawians become self sufficient and successful farmers?

It's simple.  Go shopping!

Amazon has created a way to easily and effortlessly contribute to Africa Windmill Project by simply buying the things that are already on your list.  

The program is called AMAZON SMILE and Amazon will donate 0.5% to AWP every time you shop via the AMAZON SMILE site and select "Africa Windmill Project" as the beneficiary.

That's it.  

Amazon Smile carries all the same items as the regular Amazon site, so you won't be missing out on anything by switching over to Amazon Smile.  You shop and families across the world in Malawi benefit! 

 Now that's Christmas giving at it's finest. And,  this program is available all year long, so remember it for all your online shopping.

Pass it on.............................................

Friday, December 6, 2013

Demo Garden Visitors

Representatives from KINDLE Orphan Outreach visited our demo garden in November. They currently have a successful irrigation project using treadle pumps, but they are looking at other options that can be more easily maintained locally.

Mziza Farmers Ready to Go

Mziza farmers are now fully prepared for the rains to fall. Each club member has been given enough seeds and fertilizer to plant 1 acre of maize. This acre will supply enough grain for their families for the entire year. They will use the surplus maize to pay for their inputs and save until the prices rise later next year.

Bua River Irrigation

Today we visited farmers in Kasungu District along the Bua River. Good Neighbors has started organizing irrigation clubs in the area and is looking to improve the harvests with better water pumps and irrigation techniques.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thanks Elyce!!

Amazon will donate 1/2% of your purchase to Africa Windmill Project just by linking through AmazonSmile.  Could you take a moment and logon to your account through this link and select Africa Windmill Project.  It really will make a difference. THANK YOU!!

Africa Windmill Project Inc

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Katsumwa farming club still going strong with irrigation, even as rainy season approaches.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chibanzi: early land preparation and beehives

Chibanzi farmers started beekeeping last week with two beehives. They also showed us their gardens, ready well in advance for the rains to come.

A good yield

Onions at Mziza and tomatoes at Katsumwa. Farmers use late season harvests to fund bigger gardens during the rainy season. The onions pictured below are worth about $100, or enough capital to plant 1 acre of corn. The basket of tomatoes sells for $10 to $20, depending on the market.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Bees take residence in a beehive. Honey is sold to raise money toward the next growing season.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mr Store does it again

While most farmers are busy preparing their upland garden to plant maize in the rainy season. Mr. Store is already planting maize, which will be irrigated for next two months until rain arrives. 
He is also harvesting and selling onions. Mr. Store is an outstanding farmer, harvesting and planting throughout the year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Farmers are ready for the rain at Mziza

Early preparation for rainy season planting is now complete at Mziza. Farmers have been trained to prepare early by making ridges and weeding their gardens. They also gather the fertilizer and seeds as soon as possible in the year.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Iterations of the piston pump

Below are three iterations of piston pumps, which we have built and used on our windmill. 

The first is a 1-1/2" PVC cylinder with a 1" PVC piston. On the bottom of the cylinder there is a 1-way valve (that only let's water into the cylinder). On the bottom of the piston, inside the cylinder, there is another 1-way valve that only allows water to enter the piston pipe. As the piston moves up and down, it alternately creates low and high pressure in the cylinder. Under low pressure, water is sucked into the cylinder through the bottom valve. Under high pressure, water is forced up, into the piston pipe. The piston pipe is connected to the water tank (via a flexible hose that accommodates the up and down movement). Performance: low output due to significant leakages between the piston valve and cylinder wall: 400 l/hr in light-moderate winds.

Next we upgraded to a treadle pump. The treadle pump is modified so that the piston can be attached to the pumping rod. Also, we do away the suction pipe typical of treadle pumps by submerging the pump in the water. We run only one cylinder, while the other cylinder is blocked so not to leak pressure during operation. This pump put out more than 10,000 liters per hour, but required strong winds to get started. Ultimately, it put too much stress on the windmill components, and would need a larger windmill to be a viable pump option.

Currently we are running the pump pictures below. This pump has some advantages. It has 4 cylinders, and can be configured to run on any combination of 3, 2, or 1 cylinder. We tested it on 4 cylinders and 2 cylinders. Due to light winds on the day of testing, 2 cylinders showed better results. It pumps in the range of 5,000-7,000 liters per hour in moderate winds.

One advantage of this pump is that the cylinders are 1-1/4" PVC and the piston seals are leather bicycle pump seals. This makes for a rather affordable pump. Each piston is made of a bolt, a nut, two metal washers, and two leather seals, the total cost for which is not more than $0.75.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Good crops at Chifuchambewa

Maize on irrigation at Chifuchambewa in Salima promises more food for the community at a time when scarcity is the norm. The primary harvest was below expectations due to sporadic rains late in the growing season. Irrigation has been limited in the village until recently when AWP began teaching farmers how to pump water from their well springs.

In the distance, deep in the valley, the Lipimbe River flows by, untapped for irrigation. Farmers are looking for ways to use their new pumps to draw water up the hillside.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nasala Farming Club

Nasala Farming Club impress with good irrigation and nursery management at their training garden, near Likuni, Lilongwe. They can't wait to expand to plant out the onions from the nursery.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Visit from Summit Church

Just going through pictures and found these from a visit by Summit Church at our demo garden in July. We really appreciate all you are doing with Africa Windmill Project. Thank you for coming out and we hope to see you again soon.