Monday in Wilmington, NC

After breakfast at Chappy’s favorite coffee house, a walk around town, and lunch with the local United Methodist pastor who was interested in expanding his church’s mission in Africa, we visited The Full Belly Project—a nonprofit group that designs and distributes simple technology for income-generating agricultural devices to improve life in developing countries.

Founder Jock Brandis is the inventor of the Universal Peanut Sheller which was featured on CNN after it won the Civic Ventures 2008 Purpose Prize of $100,000.

Jock gave us a tour his facilities and we watched how his team are literally engineering answers to problems in food production, sanitation and potable water supply specifically for application in third world situations.

For example, Full Belly developed a simple hand washing station that uses very little water but would do so much to curb the spread of disease within the villages. It is constructed of an old truck tire, several empty two-litre bottles, a few nuts and bolts and some cement. Every village could have one and it would save lives by reducing the spread of disease. I hope to introduce the concept and deliver instructions to staff of CitiHope Malawi and the United Methodist HopeHome program in May.

Full Belly now wants to engineer a simple technology for digging bore holes and easy-to-use foot pumps to draw the fresh water to the surface for safe drinking. The idea being to find a more cost-effective way to develop safe, local and sustainable community wells that won’t break down so easily, and that does not rely on expensive heavy equipment brought in from afar. The real beauty of their core concept has to do with using materials that are available in Africa, mostly in adaptive re-use applications and only require some training and relational support.

See the CNN video profile of the work on YouTube:

It is my hope that WorldHope Corps, Communities of Shalom, and The Full Belly Project can become partners in Malawi to help villagers to dig their own community wells in the years ahead, without the need for external resources of heavy equipment and expensive well rigs.