“It is unbelievable how someone with limited resources and unfavorable environment can achieve huge impact and transform an entire community….” said one ANLPer after watching an emotional and inspirational video of William Kamkwamba, a poor Malawian village boy who invented a windmill to generate power for his home and eventually his village.
“Imagine what we ANLPers are capable of achieving with the all rich resources we have!”
As I heard this, I could not help but shed tears. Tears of joy. Although William is a secondary school dropout, he did not just sit and complain. Neither did he blame the government for the crisis experienced in his community nor did he play victim of not being educated (external locus of control). He took actions to challenge his situation and work within the limitations of his circumstances. He is a great example of leading from where you stand by doing what you can, with what you have and thus having a great impact!
What an amazing young man and what a deep conviction he awakened in me. His determination was more than just something he did for himself; he helped his community with his invention. It’s not that he had a lot support, he did not even have that from his own mom who at some point said he was crazy. Yet he, soldiered on driven by his passion for physics.
William’s story made me ask myself whether the education I acquired in reputable universities, experience acquired for so many years, knowledge and pool of facts and information that I boast to have, have in any way contributed to transforming my organization, society and country.
What have I really done for my community? What significant change have I contributed? Have I given back from what I have received?
As young African leaders who are the next generation, we should really be reflecting soberly on these questions.
With an example like William, I have no excuse for failing to make a change no matter how small it is. I should not wait for someone else to initiate the changes I want to see. Change should start with me!
Change will start with me. That I promise. And I urge you to join me on the journey.
Neema Shosho (as part of the Strategic Communication Committee)