UN Gifts Kenyan Ksh3M for Hand Washing Innovation

  • An image of Boniface Ndegwa
    Boniface Ndegwa (left) and Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu (centre) being interviewed by a reporter.
    File
  • Boniface Ndegwa from Nyeri County was awarded Ksh3 million by the United Nations Habitat for his Covid-19 innovation. 

    Ndegwa innovated a handsfree hand washing system to be used in the fight of Coronavirus by slum dwellers from Nyeri.

    The UN-Habitat pledged to partner with the young man not only for the handwashing machine but also for other environmental assessment tests.

    An image of Boniface Ndegwa
    Boniface Ndegwa (left) speaking to the media in Nyeri on Friday, May 15.
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    The 27-year old from Witemere, around Majengo Slums in Nyeri came up with the handwashing system that does not need the user to touch the tap or soap dispensing machine.

    The water and soap are controlled by foot pedals placed at the bottom of the handwashing point hence limiting the risk of Covid-19 infection through touch.

    Ndegwa is a man of many hats as he is also the Director of a program dubbed Turning Trash into Treasure that helps in reclaiming polluted land and also makes briquettes from papers and feeds street families. 

    The business management graduate from Kenya Institute of Management spoke to Kenyans.co.ke and revealed how he came up with the idea to innovate the handwashing point.

    "When the Coronavirus pandemic hit the slums, I thought it wise to start an initiative which will help the people who live where I'm from.

    "The help would counter the Covid-19 issue because we have water issues, we have social distancing issues and observing government directives is a challenge," said Ndegwa.

    He shared his handwashing system with Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu who linked him up with the UN.

    Ndegwa noted that of the Ksh3 million, Ksh 800,000 will be used for building handwashing systems which will be situated in Kiawara, Majengo, Junea and Witemere.

    The other 2.2 million will be used by the deputy governor to reach out to persons with chronic diseases, buying of sanitizers, food and face masks.

    Apart from the handwashing point, Ndegwa revealed that he has managed to come up with other innovations such as a pyrolysis machine used to turn polythene paper to crude oil and an incinerator for proper disposal of face masks.

    Since the pandemic hit the country there has been a rise of young innovators who have offered to bridge the gap in communities.

    An image of Nyeri Governor
    Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu speaking to the media on Friday, May 15.
    File