Self-educated Malawi windmill boy’s battle for water and energy

In 2002, Malawi faced a severe drought that killed thousands and teenager William Kamkwamba’s family, like many others, were threatened with starvation. Unable to afford fees any more, he ended schooling at 14 but his dream lived on – the dream of bringing electricity and running water to his village. For education, he turned to the local library, where he came across a tattered text book with a wind mill. Soon, using waste such as plastic pipes and a tractor fan blade, he built a 5-metre windmill, bringing electricity to his community. In 2006, he built a more powerful windmill to pump water for irrigation. Eventually, he became the subject of a book published in the US, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Today, in twenties, William aims to bring power, not just to the rest of his village, but to his nation, where only 2% have access to electricity.



Original story:

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind


HEC Global Learning London Web suite

Central platform |

Teachers’ and Global Citizens’ website | Global Footprints

Young people’s website | East End Talking

Organisational/training website | HEC Global Learning website


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