A 9-year-old Kenyan boy has received a prestigious state commendation for building a unique hand-washing machine to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Stephen Wamukota was named by Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta as a recipient of the Uzalendo (patriotism award) award for his creative invention which had gone viral just days before the award.
The hand-washing machine is meant to help users clean their hands without touching it, thereby minimizing any possible contact with the disease during the process. It is equipped with a pedal-like lever which users step on to release water for hand wash.
“I had the idea of developing this machine and after I started, I ran out of materials and approached my father who assisted me complete it,” said Stephen as quoted by the local newspaper Daily Nation
This comes as Kenya records a total of 2,021 infections and 69 deaths as of Monday 1st June 2020, while the continent-wide tally (Africa) stood at 144702 confirmed cases and over 4149 deaths on Monday 1st June 2020.
Recognition of such efforts by children clearly shows gallant children participation in the fight against Covid-19. Such participation is encouraged and grounded in global instruments like the Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC). This is also an indication of listening to children’s voices and paying attention to their actions as exemplified by Stephen’s father and Kenya’s president among other leaders and stakeholders.
At Arigatou International, we believe that children participation in matters affecting them is key. In our work, we endeavor to involve and listen to children in implementing programs meant to benefit them especially concerning reducing poverty and violence affecting them. Our current Covid-19 response campaign is an example of such programs where we have put the voices of children not just inclusive but at the fore front of the campaign.