Africa Windmill Project utilizes every volunteer by asking these questions:

What do you enjoy doing? What talents and experiences do you have? How would you like to help us?

The partnerships with our volunteers range from engineering and designing solar water pasteurizers; editing grant materials, providing monthly financial support, and advocating for Africa Windmill Project. The opportunities are endless.

Because Africa Windmill Project does not employ anyone in the U.S. it truly does take an army of volunteers to enable the work that is being accomplished in Malawi.

Please consider sharing your knowledge, talents, time and resources with Africa Windmill Project to empower families in Malawi.

WW prep - solar water heater

Ok, so this weekend will be a bit busy, but I want to keep up with this, so I've decided to just finish up an item that's been halfway done for a while. For some time AWP has been trying to come up with a cheaper way to purify water.

What we've got now is a double pane of glass that is filled with water. The sun's radiation heats and purifies this water. We won't know how practical it is until we try it. So I want to get a good prototype working.

Most of the heavy lifting is complete. We'll just be putting a tank on this one and fixing up some potential leaks.

1. 1"x3" lumber - 12' long
2. 2 panes of 6mm (1/4") glass - 3'x18"
3. 2 or 3 tubes of silicone sealant
4. A 4 or 5 gallon container about 3' tall
5. Some 1/2" flexible pipe
6. Various pipe tees and ball valve
7. Assorted screws and nails

Web links make us smarter

Half of what I know I learned from the Internet; the other half I learned from someone who learned it from the Internet. Probably.

Here are some links to learn from and think about:

Ancient Irrigation: there's nothing new under the sun, really. We just come across the same old challenges for the first time again. The same old solutions should still work, right? Or just invent nano-robots to do all our work... Whichever is easier.

Soil Salinity: this ones for the super nerds out there, and just be glad it isn't an 80 page Word document about the aesthetic qualities of compost. In all seriousness, salinity is a major problem that irrigators need to understand. Many times has a farmer asked us to help him irrigate an already saline area. It just won't work with the methods available to us. A slight salt build up over the course of the irrigation season is no big deal when annual rains wipe the slate clean each year. But if the rains leave a place covered in a white dust of salts and minerals, our method of surface irrigation is not going to help (unless the farmer works very hard, year after year, to leach the root zone). But why add so much work, when farmers are not maximizing their potential on the land they've got?

And that brings us to the final link in today's chain:
Country by country corn crop yields. Malawi isn't listed there, but the trend for Sub-Saharan Africa isn't good. And Malawi is pictured here, with a a negative yield change over last year, which is pretty much what we see here on the ground.