Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How do we help other William Kamkwamba's in Africa?

Myself and others have paid a lot of attention to William Kamkwamba's Windmill. William deserves all this attention, and I'm sure his family is grateful to him and all the support they are getting. However, how do we spurn grassroots education and risk-taking across Africa? You can ask the same question in another way. How do we spurn millions of Williams to also be risk-takers and inventors?

One of my favorite two invention type of magazines I've been reading for years is Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. These two magazines show how to make and repair almost everything. Next time I go back to Africa or my own country Ghana, I will be giving away all old magazines: business, technology, and others.

We as Africans need to look at small tipping points that make a big difference. I want anyone reading this blog to think about your own respective countries and think of ways you can make a difference by sending old textbooks or computers you don't use anymore.


  1. Nii,

    In the process of helping William, I'm hoping we will begin to discover how to spot the next Williams, budding innovators, inventors, engineers, scientist and entrepreneurs while they are still in grammar school and high school and help them BEFORE they have to leave school. William's mentor, Dr. Hartford Mchazime has made such a difference in recognizing, nuturing and advocating for William and his gifts. I know there are thousands of other girls and boys, young women and young men across Africa and the rest of the developing world with the "I can do it" mindset, and I'm very interested having a conversation about helping them.

    Tom Rielly

  2. Hello Tom,

    Well put, let's continue to spread the experience of TED so others can reap our resources.

    Nii Simmonds

  3. Nii, these are some good thoughts. And Tom, I'm right with you on the need for identification of budding inventors, innovators and micro-entrepreneurs. There is this wealth of untapped potential in Africa that needs just a small nudge before it can really take off.

    I'm hoping we'll get closer to that with


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