Keeping up with this year’s theme of Dismantling the Digital Caste System, there have been some exciting developments in the life of William Kamkwamba, a young Malawian who built a power-generating windmill and solar panels out of junk parts to help his family and community out of poverty. Kamkwamba has no engineering training; in fact, he actually dropped out of school due to lack of funds and learned how to build the windmill using a library book he read. His work instantly gained international attention, which resulted in his attendance at the TED Global Conference in Tanzania in 2009 and writing his inspiring book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
Kamkwamba’s experience gives reason for why there should be more global investment in alternate natural energy sources to help reduce poverty worldwide. His power plan could support economic independence, self-sustainability; food, water and health security, and educational success in many communities throughout the developing world.
“My dream is to finish my education and in the future start my own company about the windmills,” Kamkwamba said in the short film featured above. “Most people want technology, but they can not use the Internet technology without electricity. That’s what I am planning to do, to come up with the reliable electricity.”
The filmmakers behind the short film – Ben Nabors and Tom Rielly – went to Kickstarter to raise funds to make a longer version of the film and made thrice the asking amount – $US 111,545. Now there are reports that British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor will adapt the book for a feature film. No word on where the film project stands currently, but we are sure it will be great since Ejiofor is involved with it.
With all the bad news these days, it is a breath of fresh air to hear good news happening to great people like Kamkwamba!