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How a self-taught electrician in Malawi brought electricity to his village

According to UN-backed Sustainable Energy for All, only 11 percent of Malawi’s population of 19 million people have access to electricity, making it one of the least electrified nations in the world.

The people of the Yobe Nkosi village are part of the 96 percent of the country’s rural population who are not connected to power. Thanks to one of its inhabitants, however, that’s about to change.

After getting an education 40km away, Colred Nkosi came back to his village and made it his goal to bring electricity to his community. He did this by tapping into the fast-flowing river that ran past his house. After putting his bicycle into the stream, he discovered that the force of the water was strong enough to turn the pedals.

Not long after that, Colred began experimenting with dynamos and also figured out a way to create a powerful turbine out of an old maize sheller (a piece of machinery that shells corn kernels off the cob). He then used metal cables strung between trees to transmit the generated power.

As reported by euronews, the self-taught electrician charges his neighbors only €1 a month for maintenance costs, while the renewable electricity itself is free for all. Being connected to electricity means that the children of the village don’t have to study by candlelight, as Colred did when he was a child.

What’s more, this access to power also benefits the environment: “Once villages and schools have electricity…people will no longer cut down trees [for] charcoal,” says Colrerd, noting that he hopes to replicate his system in nearby villages too.

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