AIR Hosts Event Celebrating Malawi Youth Who “Harnessed the Wind” for His Village

Washington, D.C. – William Kamkwamba was able to bring free electricity to his village in Malawi by building a windmill that was based on information from a donated book sent to a local library by the Malawi Teacher Training Activity (MTTA), a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and operated by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

The young boy used a science book to teach himself to build a windmill to provide electricity for his village. The windmill (the first of his many inventions) has gained him widespread media attention in Africa and worldwide.

He has co-authored a book on his experience, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, published by Harper Collins. AIR, in cooperation with the International Book Bank, is hosting an event celebrating the youth’s accomplishments.

Ambassador Hawa Olga Ndilowe of Malawi will participate in the event.

When: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM ET

Where: 1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.


  • William Kamkwamba, co-author, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
  • Bryan Mealer, co-author, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and author, All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo

They will deliver brief remarks and answer questions.

The USAID-funded Malawi Teacher Training Activity, implemented by AIR with other partners, sponsored the shipment of 25,000 books from the International Book Bank (IBB) to districts in Malawi. All of the books were donated by North American publishers and have been published in recent years.

Kamkwamba’s experience is an important example of the transformative power of books, and the catalytic potential of donor-funded development assistance to improve the lives of children and communities worldwide.

About the International Book Bank: The International Book Bank (IBB) works with not-for-profit educational organizations and charities in countries with critical needs outside the U.S. to meet their needs for books and other educational materials. IBB increases literacy and advances education by procuring and shipping books and other educational materials to developing countries. All the books, donated by North American publishers, are new and published in recent years.

About AIR

Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and workforce productivity. For more information, visit

Event Information

October 13, 2009
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM ET