… My heart’s in Accra Ethan Zuckerman’s online home, since 2003

June 7, 2007

Christmas at TED?

Filed under: Africa,TEDGlobal — Ethan @ 4:04 am

TED and the sponsors behind the conference made an amazing commitment to including innovative young African leaders, thinkers and entrepreneurs into the TED Global conference. Of the 450 attendees at the conference, 100 are “fellows”, here through the generosity of GE, Google and AMD. That generosity took an unexpected extra step this morning, when TED staffer Tom Rielly announced to the assembled fellows that Google and AMD would be donating a new Mac or PC laptop to all fellows, and that Noah Samara from Worldspace would be giving each fellow a satellite radio and an annual subscription.

This isn’t the only generous effort coming out of the TED Global conference. William Kamkwamba, the amazing young Malawian engineer who built his first windmill at age 14, has captured the imagination of many of the people in the crowd. A number of TED attendees have banded together to support him fiscally to complete his high school education and go onto university. A TED staffer is travelling to Malawi next week to start working on finding tutors for William to help prepare him to attend a top high school in Malawi.

Some members of my blogging community, including Ndesanjo Macha, have committed to coaching William… and critically, in coaching TED on how to provide William with help and support without overwhelming him or uprooting him from his family or community. Friends like Ndesanjo have had the experience of growing up in rural communities and moving to huge cities to pursue their education – I hope that he can help TED support William in a way that’s as constructive as possible.

While today has felt a bit like Christmas, especially for everyone who’s currently dreaming of their new radios and laptops, it’s important to remember that the real value of this conference has been bringing everyone together here in Arusha. It’s rare that we get a chance to hear from this many amazing African voices at any one event. It’s even more rare that these voices get heard by an audience of global decisionmakers, people with the power to help bring some of the amazing ideas shared here to scale. Thanks to everyone who’s made it possible for TED to be in Africa and for a hundred amazing fellows to be here.

18 Comments

  1. This is good news for entire Malawi. I wish the young man all the best as he completes his high school studies.

    Comment by Clement Nyirenda — June 7, 2007 @ 8:22 am

  2. Thanks Ethan. Keep me posted on efforts to support William. Supporting him to further develop his ideas would seem to be an ideal TED community project. all best, Brad

    Comment by Brad Perkins — June 8, 2007 @ 4:32 pm

  3. […] You may have heard that due to the generosity of the Google and AMD each of the TED Global Fellows will soon be getting a new Mac or PC laptop. What you may not have heard is that due to generosity of Noah Samara from Worldspace each fellow is also getting a satellite radio and an annual Worldspace subscription. As you can imagine we went, as a famous Kenyan blogger would put it, bananas. But I quickly realised I was going bananas for a different reason from everyone else. All the other fellows are going nuts over the Macs (is anyone seriously choosing a PC?) But me, I was going bananas over the radio. Walalala. Satellite radio, for one year. Yani I can wake up at 3am and tune into what the good people of Papua New Guinea are up to? And I’ve always wondered what the theme music for radio news in Peru sounds like. Now I’ll know. On News Year Eve I’ll start listening from Time Zone 1 and check out how each time zone celebrates the New Year! Imagine how many countdowns I will catch! Yeah ok, Macs are cool, very very cool. Lakini, you guy, a radio with a ka small satellite dish, come on now, what is cooler than that! Seriously! […]

    Pingback by Mentalacrobatics » TEDGlobal - The X Files — June 25, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

  4. […] 1. TED Africa: the recent TED conference which took place in Arusha, Tanzania, June 4-7, 2007 I observed so many connections and conversations at the conference that felt like they were changing lives. Like William Kamkwamba, the kid who built his family a windmill. Tom Rielly showed him the Internet for the first time. He’d never seen it. Tom typed his name and “windmill” and said, “Look, this is all the information that’s on the web about *you*.” (As Ethan Zuckerman reports, the TEDGlobal community is getting together to help Kamkwamba get further education.) […]

    Pingback by Giladon-line » Blog Archive » Africa in our Eyes — July 1, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

  5. […] hearing about the windmill engineered by Malawian teenager William Kamkwamba, a group of TED members have volunteered to support William and his family in a constructive manner. Harinjaka wrote: “William, if you read this entry, just […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Malagasy bloggers rally for Madagascar's children — August 17, 2007 @ 7:51 am

  6. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his modest but hugely promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help […]

    Pingback by Vered’s Blog » Blog Archive » TED - A World Leadership group — August 22, 2007 @ 4:18 am

  7. My name is Bill Ammells, I saw the video of William Kamkwamba and the wind mill that he built.I want to send him money for his schooling and for more wind mills to be built.Please give me the address to send the money,it will not use my credit card over the internet.I will join the TED community as a free member.I would like TED to have a million members.If you had 1 million members and each member gave $10 dollars that would be $10 million dollars, that TED could raise for different causes.We could raise 10 million dollars monthly.Of course beside money TED needs volunteers.

    Sincerely,

    Bill Ammells

    Comment by Bill Ammells — February 26, 2008 @ 3:05 am

  8. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his modest but hugely promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help […]

    Pingback by Meet the attendees (4): William Deed, Tom Reilly & William Kamkwamba « BarCamp Africa — October 6, 2008 @ 1:39 am

  9. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his modest but hugely promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help […]

    Pingback by Cheetah blog » The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind — September 10, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

  10. […] and two radios in his family home….Following Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his […]

    Pingback by Education Breeds Innovation « My Blog — September 26, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

  11. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was anoutpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his […]

    Pingback by William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind – The Culturalite kids / inspiration pinboard — May 10, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  12. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his […]

    Pingback by The Bluevine Collective » Follow the Leader — November 1, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

  13. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his […]

    Pingback by William Kamkwamba: Inventor @ Young Africa — August 5, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  14. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his […]

    Pingback by William Kamkwamba: How I built a windmill | Lugen Family Office — October 24, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  15. […] sau bài nói chuyện của Kamkwamba là một loạt sự hỗ trợ dành cho công việc đầy triển vọng của anh ấy. Nhiều thành […]

    Pingback by William Kamkwamba: Tôi đã sử dụng gió như thế nào - TEDvn Channel — April 20, 2013 @ 3:36 am

  16. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his […]

    Pingback by William Kamkwamba: How I built a windmill | POWER WORLD — April 26, 2013 @ 1:20 am

  17. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his […]

    Pingback by The boy who harnessed the wind — January 12, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

  18. […] Kamkwamba’s moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his […]

    Pingback by William Kamkwamba | godsendsmoses — April 30, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

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