Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tilting Windmills

Social media don't just help ignite collaboration and innovation for social change. Sometimes, their ability to spread word of a single person or idea from a remote part of the world can help to keep either alive. Consider the oft-told story of William Kamkwamba, a Malawi youth who, at 14, built a windmill for his family after seeing a picture of one in an old textbook. Now 20, Kamkwamba is still building windmills, and he's planning to build a larger one for his village.

This short video about him, below, was shown at last week's Feast conference on social innovation in Manhattan. So far, it has gotten over a million hits on YouTube and other Web networks, and the attention it has brought Kamkwamba continues to change his life. According to the Wall Street Journal, a group of investors who met Kamkwamba at the TED conference last year are now putting him through school so he can make good on his desire to build more windmills for other villages across his country. Here's his story:

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