Africa Windmill Project


Currently in its sixth year, the mission of Africa Windmill Project, founded by Summit partner John Drake, aims to equip the farmers of African villages with the knowledge to build and maintain the simple irrigation technology of wind-powered water pumps that will assist in stabilizing the food supply. In their years of teaching, empowering, and equipping, Africa Windmill Project has educated numerous farmers in Malawi, Africa, most with little or no literacy. The farmers are taught the skills to build, plant, irrigate, and maintain gardens year- round.

Africa Windmill Project has partnered with several organizations such as World Relief, Good Neighbors International, and National Association for People living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi, yet John still credits Summit for being the organization’s principal partner. “The ministry team at Summit has been our biggest champion,” John says. “They have asked hard questions, given great counsel, they have visited our sites in Malawi, and they have given. They didn't just say, ‘I will pray for you.’ They said, ‘Let’s pray together, let’s do this together’—and we have.”

Africa Windmill Project was conceived after Summit sent a team to Malawi in 2007. John anticipated walking away from the trip with the goal to make medications more widely available to the African people, but God had another plan for him. While talking to village farmers, John realized the Malawians had access to medication but were too malnourished for them to take effect.

“Since that trip I have come to understand when taking a mission trip I need to have a goal for a trip, but I must hold it very loosely and be flexible for God to do the work,” John says. “God speaks boldly and I have to say, it is never what I think I am going to hear.”

When God challenged John to design a simple windmill that would pump water, John assumed that once built, he could open source it for Malawian universities to implement, and that would be where his service would end. Yet again, God had another plan. He was asking John, an architect, to assimilate this simple technology into a basic framework for Malawi.

“I didn't know very much about Malawi or Africa for that matter and I definitely didn't realize that this wasn't a ‘to-do’ to check off my list,” John says. “God was changing me and my family.”

Posts“Malnutrition, HIV, abuse, oppression, and injustice aren’t someone else’s problem,” he continues. “They are the result of a fallen world—a world that God, throughout the pages of scripture, asks His people to respond to. We are God’s hands and His feet, and He uses us to bind the broken and help the hurting. We are His Plan A, His light in a dark world. Understanding that changes every part about our day. It gives us a purpose unlike any other.”

Follow the Africa Windmill Project journey at

Guest blogger Angie Kline is a Communications volunteer and frequent writer for SUMMIT MAGAZINE. 

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