Sarit Center, Nairobi
Oct 9-12, 2024

William Kamkwamba

William Kamkwamba: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

William Kamkwamba’s story is one of the best about overcoming challenges and emerging victorious. The movie ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ tells how he built a windmill for his family. He was born in Malawi and has since written a book that has sold over a million copies.

William Kamkwamba came from poor beginnings. He was born and raised in a corn-farming family and relied completely on corn sales to survive. When he was 14, a major drought struck, making their farm obsolete. Due to a poor harvest, William was forced to drop out of school because his family could not afford his tuition.

Willam, eager to learn, continued to visit the local libraries, attempting to absorb as much information as possible. William, who is interested in physics, began researching wind generators. And this was the start of his entrepreneurial journey.

William began collecting scrap metal and wood for his windmill. He built a prototype using a tractor fan and scrap metal, following the instructions in the books he read. Despite being ridiculed by his family, he persisted and got it operating. The electricity was used to charge mobile phones in his village.

William was featured in numerous interviews and articles to discuss his experience. He was then able to complete his secondary school education and later earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences.

William Kamkwamba’s story exemplifies Africa’s inventive spirit. African entrepreneurs, with their brilliant ideas, create low-cost, widely available solutions to help Africans improve their lives. William Kamkwamba is one of the entrepreneurs driving change on the continent.

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