Terry Woychowski, GM Vice President of Global Vehicle Program Management, asked a group of young engineers “How do we help?”
He asked the question while showing pictures of Solomoni Mafuta, a ten year-old boy from the village of Senzani in Malawi, Africa that he sponsored. The group found out that Solomoni failed the second grade because he had to walk several days to a mill to get his family’s corn grinded for nshima, a type of cornmeal that’s a staple of African diets. Solomoni’s family is one of many that cannot afford a mill and have to either walk or grind it themselves.
Focusing on the issue of grinding the corn, Woychowski – one of GM’s top GM engineers – turned to his family, volunteers at GM, and students at Michigan Technological University to help out.
The group has found a solution that uses an old bicycle to power a mill. The design was taken down to Malawi last summer and was well-received. Since then, the group has focused on improving the design that includes the possibility of a motor to run on indigenous fuel.
Students from Michigan Technological University will be in Ghana to test the improved model in July and come back to school in the fall to perfect it. Woychowski is hoping that the improved mill can be sponsored for only $100.[Source: Detroit News]