Stephen Wamukota, a nine-year-old boy from Kenya, has received the Presidential Order of Service award for his invention of a wooden hand washing machine which helps prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Stephen lives with his family in Mukwa village, western Kenya. He says he was inspired to make the contraption after listening to government safety advice on coronavirus. And after watching a program on TV about making cars.
His cleverly engineered machine resembles a car in that it is foot-operated with a lever similar to that of a motor vehicle accelerator.
It dispenses hand sanitizer as well as water, all without the need to touch any of the device’s surfaces.
To build the contraption, Stephen ‘borrowed’ some wood from his father, James. James is himself a repairman of electrical appliances.
“I had bought some pieces of wood to make a window frame, but I when I came back home after work one day I found that Stephen had made the machine,” Mr Wamukota told the BBC.
“One of the heroes fighting coronavirus”
Mr Wamukota then posted the invention on Facebook – which is how it came to the attention of the government. Earlier this week, Stephen was one of 68 Kenyans presented with the Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo (Patriotic) Award.
“I was very touched when I realized my young boy could reason to that extent,” said James. “And I’m so proud to say that he is amongst the heroes which are fighting against the infection of this virus across the world.”
Stephen has also been promised a scholarship to study engineering one day by the county governor.
“This device can be used in Kenya and all over the world, because the disease is everywhere,” Stephen said.
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Image credit: Agnes Kagure