Nine-Year-Old Kenyan Boy Builds Hand Sanitizing Station To Help Fight COVID-19

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Stepehn Wamukota designed a hand washing station to help stem the spread of COVID-19 in his village (Credit: YouTube screen capture)

Stephen Wamukota, a nine-year-old from Mukwa village in Western Kenya, is making headlines worldwide for his ingenious hand washing machine. The young boy came up with the idea after watching village residents, who do not have easy access to running water, struggle to find an effective way to wash their hands to avoid spreading and contracting COVID-19.

Using the few resources at his disposal — wood scraps, nails, and a bucket — Stephen designed and built a simple, but functional, cleansing station. The clever creation, which comprises two pedals — one to release soap and the other to release water — enables villagers to wash their hands contact-free, thereby reducing the likelihood of catching the dreaded infectious disease.

"I had bought some pieces of wood to make a window frame, but when I came back home after work one day, I found that Stephen had made the machine," his father, James, told the BBC. "The concept was his, and I helped tighten the machine. I'm very proud." James credits Stephen's building prowess to the village school's curriculum, which teaches children to assemble and construct items from a very young age.

Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati (middle) promised Stephen (right) a full scholarship to help develop his creative talent (Credit: Bungoma Digital/Twitter)

The invention, which went viral after James posted a photo on Facebook, has made Stephen an instant celebrity in Kenya. In early June 2020, the country's leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta, bestowed the nine-year-old with the Uzalendo Award. The newly-created presidential honor is designed to acknowledge civilians who are making significant contributions towards the nation's fight against COVID-19.

Stephen has also been promised a full scholarship to a school that can nurture his creative talent, by Bungoma County Governor Wycliffe Wangamati. "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 told CNN.

Though thrilled at the unexpected fame and success, Stephen is not resting on his laurels. The young boy has already built another hand washing machine and plans on adding several more, so that the village, which has no reported cases of the infectious disease, can remain COVID-19 free!

Resources: goodnewsnetwork.org, BBC.com, Independent.co.UK,

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238 Comments
  • 22hy
    22hyFriday, September 25, 2020 at 6:27 am
    i am so proud of that little boy
    • winter_wolf101
      winter_wolf101Friday, September 25, 2020 at 6:10 am
      Thats too cool
      • fornitegamer0
        fornitegamer0Friday, September 25, 2020 at 5:30 am
        im soo proud
        • super321
          super321Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 12:20 pm
          cool
          • sirenhead123
            sirenhead123Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 9:41 am
            how sweet look at that big smile
            • mulasume-160073862517
              mulasume-160073862517Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 8:41 am
              Texas is also having a hard time in quarantine so far we could definitely use one of those,especially Houston!
              • mulasume-160073862517
                mulasume-160073862517Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 8:38 am
                now thats how u do it!
                • zymovase-160094337034
                  zymovase-160094337034Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 6:54 am
                  wow this is amazing him! make that! wow kenyan is an amazing child
                  • zymovase-160094337034
                    zymovase-160094337034Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 6:40 am
                    this is cool
                    • 22hy
                      22hyFriday, September 25, 2020 at 6:28 am
                      cool
                    • otis1067
                      otis1067Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 11:43 am
                      cool