9-year-old Kenyan wins presidential award for building wooden handwashing machine

Stephen Wamukota, from Bungoma County in western Kenya, was the youngest of 68 people to receive the award from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Wamukota built a semi-automatic machine to help curb Covid-19 in Kenya, which has reported more than 2,000 confirmed cases.

Wamukota gathered wood, nails and a small water tank to create the hand washing machine.

James, who repairs electronics for a living, says he came home one day and realized his son had built the machine with some leftover wood he planned to use to make a window.

“I saw that what he built wasn’t stable so I helped him make some adjustments.

The hand washing machine is held together by wood and has two feet pedals, one to release soap and the other to release water.

It allows users to hit the pedals without touching surfaces with their hands, thereby reducing the possibility of contracting the coronavirus.

According to James his son grasped the idea thanks to Kenya’s school curriculum, which teaches young children how to assemble and construct things.

A scholarship promise
Wycliffe Wangamati, the governor of Bungoma County where Wamukota lives, promised him a scholarship to complete his primary and secondary education.

James says scholarship details are still being ironed out because Kenyan schools remain closed amid the pandemic.

“We are waiting for school to open to contact him about his promise. He (the governor) told me that once school opens, he will give him a scholarship to a school that can match his talents,” James said.

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9-year-old Kenyan wins presidential award for building wooden handwashing machine

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- Studied Mass Communication from the University of Jos. He is a Media Consultant, Journalist, a blogger, public relations practitioner and an advocate for social justice.