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William Kamkwamba    

Innovator, Engineer & Co-Author of “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”

When William Kamkwamba was 14, Malawi suffered severe famine. His family could no longer pay his school fees, and he was forced to drop out of high school. While staying home, Kamkwamba worked with the village librarian to remain engaged with his studies, especially science. Working from a photo in a high school textbook, “Using Energy,” Kamkwamba reasoned out how to build an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, despite having no instructions.

Kamkwamba’s inspiring story is told in his New York Times bestselling memoir “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” co-authored with Bryan Mealer, and in the Netflix film adaptation, directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, which was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the Sundance Film festival. Since its debut, Kamkwamba’s book has been published in two additional editions, a young readers version and a children’s book. The autobiography has sold more than 1 million copies and has been translated into nearly twenty languages worldwide. He has been featured on The Wall Street Journal, Nyasa Times, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer.

After graduating from Dartmouth College in Environmental Studies, Kamkwamba began work as a Global Fellow for the design firm IDEO.org. He is an entrepreneur, TED Fellow, and has worked with the WiderNet Project to develop appropriate technologies curriculums focused on bridging the gap between “knowing” and “doing” for young people in Malawi and across the world.

Currently, Kamkwamba works with Moving Windmills to create innovative solutions to African problems using recycled materials, appropriate technology, and human-centered design. Kamkwamba is currently working to bring the Moving Windmills Innovation Center to life in Kasungu, a space where young people will find the tools and mentorship to co-create simple solutions to everyday agricultural challenges.


William Kamkwamba | TIME 30 Under 30: World Changers | TIME.com

At 14, William Kamkwamba designed and built a windmill using scrap metal that brought electricity and water to his home in a Malawian village. The attention his  ...

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