Thursday, October 8, 2009

William Kamkwamba (The Boy who harnessed the wind) on the Daily Show

This is a quickie. William Kamkwamba is a Malawian who at age 14, built a windmill to provide power/electricity for his household in his Malawian village. Since then, he's built a couple more and gained a lot of publicity for his courage and ingenuity. He was on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart yesterday and I wanted to post the video of that segment. This is one of Africa's shining stars and it's nice to see him go places.

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William Kamkwamba
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He's also spoken at a couple of TED conferences. At TEDGlobal 2007 in Arusha, he told his story. A couple of my friends who attended the conference in Tanzania met him too. I was actually put in touch with him so he could help provide and get Malawian content for The move never materialized though. Here are a couple of his TED talks.

He's now at the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in Johannesburg. The ALA was founded by Fred Swaniker, who I finally met last weekend at TANCON USA 2009, held right here at Stanford. Fred Swaniker is an inspiration and his work on ALA must receive more press. He's a Ghanaian as well and a Stanford MBA graduate. ALA seeks to educate the next generation of leaders for Africa and they have students from all over the continent. Two of my friends are teaching fellows there as well. Back to William, he's in his final year at ALA (two year program) and is writing his SATs, hoping to get into an American university. The library through which he learnt to build the windmill, was funded by the US government.

Here are the TEDtalks

He's also co-written a book - The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind - which is also doing well. Like Jon Stewart said, if all goes according to plan, he'll be part of the first result for a Google Search about windmills soon. Go William, go!
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