The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:11pm

Meet William Kamkwamba, author of the new book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," written with Bryan Mealer.

At the age of 14, William Kamkwamba was a poor farmer in Malawi, a country blighted by years of drought and famine. After he was forced to drop out of school because his family could not afford to pay the fees, William was left to his own devices. With a passion to learn, William took regular visits to the library to read up on physics, electricity, and finally, wind-generated power.

Using nothing more than diagrams to formulate his understanding of batteries, dynamos, and windmills, William set off into his village to collect the necessary supplies to build his contraption. Using old tractor parts, heaps of scrap metal, and a bicycle frame, William built his first windmill, which could power a small bulb or charge cell phones. Years later, William has built another windmill to pump water for his family and is now back in school after a worldwide tour to help spread his message of hard work, innovation, and a fight against all odds.

After school, he plans to start a company that will help supply affordable electricity to his village and surrounding area using windmills.

Enough talk, go ahead and watch the video. Then go buy his book.

Have any comments or questions about our Thursday video editions of IMPO Insider? Or do you have a video you'd like to see featured in one of our deployments? Email me at


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