A 9-year-old Kenyan boy was given an award by the country’s president for inventing a wooden hand-washing machine designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Stephen Wamukota was the youngest of 68 people named on Monday by President Uhuru Kenyatta as a recipient of the first Uzalendo Award in recognition of service to Kenya amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The boy’s invention is operated with a foot pedal that causes water and soap to be dispensed, saving users from having to touch any pieces of the machine that could be contaminated by the virus.

Kenya has reported at least 2,021 cases of COVID-19, resulting in 69 deaths.

Wamukota, who is from Bungoma County in western Kenya, said he was inspired by watching people struggle to wash their hands without having to touch objects that might be contaminated.

“I now have two machines and I want to make more,” he told the BBC.

He said the machine, which he built with help from his father, cost less than $30 in materials to build.

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

“He is always saying he wants to build factories and become an engineer,” James said. “I hope he does, that he becomes a great person.”


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