In Yobe Nkosi, a remote village in northern Malawi with limited to no electricity, when the sun sets, the only lighting for children to do homework is by candlelight. However, that changed in 2006, when Colrerd Nkosi finished secondary school in Mzimba, and returned to his hometown and discovered living without power was no longer acceptable.
Age 23 at the time, Nkosi created a makeshift dynamo generator that brought power into his home. As word spread of his invention, his home became popularly known as the village cell phone charging station.
“I started getting requests for electricity (and) decided to upgrade,” said Nkosi, now 38.
With no formal training, Nkosi turned an old refrigerator compressor into a water-powered turbine and put it in a nearby river, generating electricity for six households. Scaling over time, the village is now supplied by a bigger turbine, built from the motor of a disused maize sheller and can supply more than 15 homes with electricity.
Teaching others how to build the generators, other local towns on the outskirts of his village now have access to electricity and electrical lines can be run through tree trunks and stretch over a distance of a mile.
Users pay no fee for the power but many give Nkosi money for the maintenance of the lines at roughly $1 per household per month.
Nkosi said, “The electricity is basically free.”
Admitting that the maintenance income was too small to cover repairs, he has used his own funds to help expand his grid. Emphasizing the importance of education, he noted that access to power will allow students “a lot more time to study,” he said.
Source: Africa News