William Kamkwamba (Malawi Windmill Boy) Inventor

William Kamkwamba Demographics:
  • Born - 1987
  • Age - 22 years old (2009).
  • Residence - village of Masitala, a hamlet in Kasungu District, Central Region, Malawi.
  • Parents - Farmers.
William Kamkwamba Facts:
  • True story of a Malawian teenager who transformed his village by building electric windmills out of junk.
  • Had a dream of bringing electricity & running water to his village.
  • Considered a a good example of the youthful African 'Cheetah generation', who embrace education and technology.
  • His story is told in the book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, written by himself & journalist Bryan Mealer.
William Kamkwamba Education:
  • Self-taught applied technologist / inventor.
  • Forced to quit school aged 14 because his family could no longer afford the $80-a-year (£50) school fees following a drought in Malawi.
  • Unable to attend school so he kept up his education he started using the local library.
  • William was fascinated by science, and his life changed one day when he found a tattered textbook and saw a picture of a windmill.
  • "I was very interested when I saw the windmill could make electricity and pump water."
  • "I thought: 'That could be a defence against hunger. Maybe I should build one for myself'."
  • William did just that and more. (see video below)
  • He is now on a scholarship at the elite African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Kamkwamba Windmill:
  • He made a turbine from spare bicycle parts, a tractor fan blade and an old shock absorber.
  • He then produced windmill blades from plastic pipes, flattened by heating over a fire.
  • "I got a few electric shocks climbing that [windmill]," said William.
  • The finished windmill - a 5-m (16-ft) tall was made with a blue-gum-tree wood tower.
  • William has recently built a new windmill, 'the Green Machine', which is used to turn a water pump to irrigate his family's field.
William Kamkwamba Political Impact:
  • Feted by climate change campaigners (i.e. Al Gore) & business leaders the world over.
  • Invited in mid-2007 to the prestigious Technology Entertainment Design conference in Arusha, Tanzania, where he recounted his story to the audience and received a standing ovation. (video from conference below)
  • The Wall Street Journal, covered by Sarah Childress, wrote an article about him with a front page portrait.
  • Mr Kamkwamba has since been flown to conferences around the globe to recount his life-story.
  • William has also recently appeared on The Daily Show on October 7, 2009.
William Kamkwamba Time Line:
  • 2002 - Drought strikes in Malawi, William leaves school & builds a 5m high windmill.
  • 2006 - Daily Times writes article on William; a 12m windmill is built.
  • 2007 - Attends TED Conference.
  • 2007 - William brings solar power to his village and installs a solar pump.
  • 2008 - William builds the 'Green Machine' windmill which pumps well water on his family farm.
  • 2008 - September - William attends inaugural African Leadership Academy class.
  • 2009 - William builds a replica of his original 5m windmill.
  • 2009 - Appears on The Daily Show, with Jon Stewart (October 7).

William Kamkwamba: How I built my family a windmill (TED Conference 2007):

Image Credit - by whiteafrican (cc)

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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