William Kamkwamba – TED Interview (Video)

To power his family’s home, young William Kamkwamba built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap. [It powered] four lights and two radios in his family home.

After reading about Kamkwamba on a blog (which picked up the story from a local Malawi newspaper), TEDGlobal Conference Director Emeka Okafor spent several weeks tracking him down (though his home has electricity, William’s family had neither a phone nor email access) and invited him to attend TEDGlobal on a fellowship. Invited to the stage, Kamkwamba talked about his invention, and shared his dreams: To build a larger windmill to help with irrigation for his entire village, and to go back to school.

Following Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his modest but hugely promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his power system (by incorporating solar energy), and further his education through school and mentorships. You can read the ongoing details on his blog (which he keeps with help from his mentor).

via Good Magazine:

William’s matter-of-fact explanation of how he realized this amazing project generated a spontaneous burst of applause from TED’s academics and business leaders: “I went to library and I read a book titled Using Energy and I get information about windmill and I try, and I made it.”

William’s Blog

One of my favorite entries: Hacking my windmill: Inspiration from MAKE magazine via Baobab Health