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Kenyan boy, 9, receives award for hand-washing machine invention

June 4 (UPI) -- A 9-year-old Kenyan boy was given an award by the country's president for inventing a hand-washing machine designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Stephen Wamukota, 9, was among 68 people to receive the The Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo Award, this week in recognition of service to Kenya amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta said Wamukota was chosen in recognition of his innovative touch-free hand-washing machine.

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.

The Bungoma County youth said he was inspired by watching people struggle to wash their hands without having to touch objects that were previously touched by unwashed hands.

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

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