William Kamkwamba, a born inventor, became a Local Hero in Malawi at the young age of 14. Trapped in poverty and unable to afford school, William found a rough plan in a library book and taught himself to build a windmill, which he modified to be of use to his family. The windmill ultimately powered his family’s home and generated income for his family and his village.
William’s out-of-the-box thinking and talents did not go unnoticed. In recognition for his ingenuity, he became a TED Africa Fellow, won a scholarship to the African Leadership Academy in South Africa and has garnered great media attention. You can read William’s inspiring story in his best-selling book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope and watch the documentary about his life, called Moving Windmills, which has won several awards.
A champion of “social entrepreneurs”, William dedicates himself to rural economic development and education projects in Malawi that foster economic independence and self-sustainability. He continues to develop his skills as an inventor dedicated to making affordable products using readily available materials and powered by alternative energy sources that people in Malawi and other countries can adopt to improve their quality of life. Some of his recent inventions include solar power lighting for homes, a solar powered pump to extract clean water, and a drip irrigation system. Read more about William’s project with GO below.