9-year-old boy builds hand washing machine, wins presidential award | Inquirer Technology

9-year-old boy builds hand washing machine, wins presidential award

/ 05:20 PM June 08, 2020
Hand washing

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A 9-year-old boy was honored with a presidential award for inventing a homemade hand washing machine amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephen Wamukota, from Bungoma County in Kenya, received the inaugural Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo Award, last Monday, June 1. He was among 68 people to be conferred with the honor, as per Citizen Digital on the same day.


Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta noted that the award recognizes distinguished and outstanding service in helping the country beat the pandemic.

The machine is made with wood and is operated with a person’s foot to avoid spreading the coronavirus. One simply needs to step on the invention’s pedal to release soap and water from dispensers. A person then washes his/her hands above a basin attached to the invention while the water and soap pour down.


Stephen created the machine with the help of his father, James, and 3,000 Kenyan shillings (about $28 or P1,400), as per the Daily Nation on May 13. The nine-year-old came up with the idea for his machine after watching people struggle to wash their hands during the health crisis.

“I have always desired to be an engineer in [the] future and I am happy to see I am trying my best with the help of my family,” Stephen was quoted as saying.

Following his invention, Bungoma Gov. Wycliffe Wangamati and Sen. Cleophas Malala have promised to look for a school that will enhance Stephen’s skills. BungomaDigital posted photos of the government officials looking at the child’s invention on Twitter last month.

There are over 6.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, as of June 7. According to the World Health Organization, more than 397,000 have already died from the disease. Ryan Arcadio/JB


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TOPICS: Children, coronavirus, COVID-19, hand washing, Kenya
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