Building to Change Lives
We are proud to present our latest initiative: a new community hub for innovators and inventors in Kasungu, Malawi, called the the Moving Windmills Innovation Center. Kasungu, a town two hours north of the capital, Lilongwe, is near William’s family home, and the district trading center for this region of Malawi. The economy is made up of family farming, tobacco cultivation, other agriculture and light business. As of today is no access to tools that facilitate innovation.
The Moving Windmills Innovation Center (MWIC) envisions a future where talented youth design and create products and services for Malawian youth and farmers based on real-word needs. The center is a stand-alone building that serves these young people with tools, learning, and support unavailable elsewhere in the country.
Through the use of machinery and mentoring, participants in our Center will experience the spirit of innovation. From brainstorm to prototype, we involve local youth working on human-centered design to create affordable tools that lighten workloads, increase crop yields for greater food security and economic freedom, for example designing and selling a water well drilling tool at a fraction of the current price.
How the MWIC Works
In the tradition of Gear Box and iHub in Kenya and IDEO in San Francisco, MWIC will serve as a magnet for personal growth, practical creativity and economic progress in Kasungu, and throughout Malawi. Employing a small staff of local women and men working as welders, metal craftspeople, woodworkers, teachers and farmers, the MWIC will mentor, train, and support local apprentices. The typical clients will be high school students as well as those young people who have already left school.
The MWIC will have the latest machine tools such a drill press, a laser cutter, a milling machine and a lathe which nearly impossible for ordinary citizens to access. With these tools MWP members not only build tools like water pumps and seed planters, but teach students how to maintain and repair their designs. MWIC tools also don’t use expensive consumables, and cost a fraction of available commercial options. As much as possible, all materials we use will be sourced locally or from recycled materials.
Creating a Community of Problem Solvers
Through courses, office hours, and apprentice programs, a MWIC education will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on local youth. We emphasize hands-on skill-building, collaboration, and problem-solving as the keys to sustainable self-empowerment. Once through the program, our students may open their own shops or obtain jobs to become economically self-sufficient.
Growing the MW legacy
Moving Windmills Project has supported numerous projects for youth and community in Malawi and Kasungu since its inception in 2008. The MWIC is a continuation of the past 10 years of learning with and from communities and is a direct outgrowth of what has been observed as one of the communities greatest needs–a space for mentorship and community that supports practical ideas.
Sustenance farming is the #1 occupation of Malawians. Kasungu has been hard hit by climate change, deforestation, and the decline of tobacco as a staple crop. Low cost solutions that make farming less labor intensive while increasing crop yields mean greater food security, more stable families, and a generation of do-ers where they are needed most.
Students and community members will pay a nominal fee to help support MWIC and incentivize consistent attendance. The majority of ongoing support will be sourced from renting the MWIC meeting space to NGOs and private corporations and hosting trainings and events in Kasungu. There is a consistent need for large, reliable event halls and spaces outside of Lilongwe . MWIC will be accessible to organizations with staff in the lake region, northern Malawi, and rural areas of the central region.
Construction & Maintenance Budget
Our aim is to have the Moving Windmills Innovation Center fully operational by Spring 2021. Land procurement and appropriate permits have already begun and the building design is taking shape. What remains are the most crucial inputs for ensuring lasting impact in Kasungu and throughout Malawi–the tools and materials that will young people will use to create and modify their inventions.
Our production equipment costs reflect our mission to ensure that MWIC supports and motivates students and mentors that are dedicated to creating and maintaining solutions for impact with the most efficient tools.
The construction costs ensure a sustainable building and business model which will later generate revenue from renting the space to development organizations and private corporations which remain in need of well-equipped event spaces for staff retreats and national/regional trainings. MWIC fills a gap for these organizations whose options outside of Lilongwe are currently limited. MWIC will be a space where NGO’s can gather while witnessing the power and impact of human centered design and youth will. Additional revenue will come from Foundations, NGOs private donors and international government agencies.
Budget overview (subject to change)
Equipment & Materials: $100, 000
Machine & Tools: $90,000
Insurance & Fees: $5,000