Through Moving Windmills Project foundation, I have worked extensively in Kasungu district, particularly my own home village, Wimbe. We have been able to build three classroom blocks with two classes each for the local primary school, Wimbe primary school. These new classrooms have solar panel installations that allow the students to study late into the night. We have also introduced a one-laptop-per-child initiative, which enables us to expose these youngsters on how to use computers at an early age. Our local high school too has been a beneficiary of your generous support. We have also installed solar panels and systems in Kachokolo high school, which allow the students to use computers for their studies. In fact, we have created a local network through the use of egranary, a box that stores academic information within a local network. It is like a digital library. This means that students don’t need to be online to access academic material. They simply need to access the local network using a router!
Apart from working in schools, we have also sought ways to improve the livelihoods of the residents of Kasungu district. Last summer I piloted a biogas digester project in Masitala village. This digester uses cow dung to generate gas for cooking, thus providing an alternative energy source to firewood. Additionally, the processed manure can be used as fertilizer for crops, resulting in a win-win situation for the women. The project also reduces overreliance on firewood and overall deforestation. We hope to continue expanding this project into the neighboring villages. Along with the bio-gas project, we have also taught people how to fix and maintain water pumps for water wells. Indeed, most individuals contract water borne diseases because they lack someone who can repair and keep the water pumps in good condition. With such training having taken place in the villages surrounding Kasungu, we hope to see a reduction in the incidences of water-borne related illnesses.
While working with the community, we also saw it fit to create a soccer team for both girls and boys to provide a space for school drop outs to engage in meaningful activity, rather than remaining idle. The matches also create small business opportunities for women and families in the area, who bring food items to sell to the spectators. My younger sister, Doris Kamwamba, runs the female soccer team, while my friend, Binali Jamu, manages the male soccer team.
Away from Malawi, I have continued to participate in speaking engagements at various universities, colleges, high schools, and conferences around the US. Now I not only speak about my experiences building the windmill, but I also inform audiences about the work that we are doing as we seek to bring development to different rural areas in Malawi.
As mentioned earlier, I have wrapped up my studies at Dartmouth College. I graduate last June. Coming to the US for college was a great experience. I had to learn how to balance my own cultural values while learning about other people’s cultures, and to recognize what I can take from the US and apply to my own culture. I noticed how we often take things for granted in our culture. Indeed, when you go out and learn other things, you come to appreciate your own culture and the other people’s cultures. I have also really enjoyed my classes, particularly how to solve challenges and come up with solutions. Such experiences taught me to think outside the box. Of course, there were challenging classes, but overall I enjoyed them. I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my time at Dartmouth, my professors—particularly Andrew Friedland, John Collier, Karen Gocsik, Peter Robbie, Terry Osborne, John Wilson, Mark Reed, and Brian Reed—my friends, and mentors who have treated me as a family member, in particular, Tom Reilly, Andrea Barthello, Bill Ritchie, Jackie and Mike Bezos, Jay and Ellen Walker and Bryan Mealer, and the countless others I have not mentioned but to whom I am continuously grateful. Thank you.
As I look into the future, I intend to return to Malawi and use the knowledge I have acquired through my studies and interactions to continue solving the problems facing people in the my community and Malawi in general. I would like to create an innovation center where students from different universities and high schools can work together to develop ideas that help solve problems that people face in different communities. Many young people are talented and have brilliant ideas, yet they don’t exploit the full potential of these ideas because of a dearth of organizations that can incubate them. In addition to establishing this innovation center, I also intend to continue working on renewable energies such as wind, solar, and biogas, based on my commitment to help people get the energy they need for daily use.
Thanks for reading this very long update, and I look forward to connecting more!
"New School Blocks at Wimbe Primary School 2010-2013"
"Installing Solar Panels at Kachokolo Community Day Secondary School"
"Biogas digester in Wimbe"
"Wimbe United getting ready to take on Kasunga Medicals"