9-Year-Old Boy Wins Presidential Award for Inventing Hand-Washing Machine

9-Year-Old Boy Wins Presidential Award for Inventing Hand-Washing Machine

A 9-year-old Kenyan received a presidential award early this June after inventing a wooden hand-washing machine that aims to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country. 

Stephen Wamukota said he came up with the idea of inventing the machine after learning some ways from a television program of not catching the virus. He said he initially aimed to propose the use of his invention in Mukwa village in Western Kenya where he lives. 

The semi-automatic machine uses woods, nails, and a small water tank. It has two foot pedals, one for releasing soap while the other is for releasing water. The machine aims to let people wash their hands in public spaces without touching any surface. 

James Wamukota, Stephen’s father, repairs electronic goods for a living. He said his son’s ability to work with the materials came up from the kid’s eagerness to learn and assist his father in his work. The father also shared that the invention is solely Stephen’s concept. He just helped his child in tightening the machine’s screws. 

Photo / James Wamukota

Stephen was among 68 Kenyans given the Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo (Patriotic) Award last 1 June 2020. Further, the governor of Bungoma County promised to provide him a scholarship for his primary and secondary education. 

As of June, Kenya reported more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases with 69 fatalities. While the East African country’s infection and mortality rate is lower than its neighboring nations, Kenya still has been gravely affected due to massive unemployment during the country’s lockdown.


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