Hippo Roller

The Hippo Roller is a drum designed to transport up to 90 liters of water more easily.

Water & Sanitation South Africa
image/svg+xml

Key Facts

  • The Hippo Roller is designed to cope with tough rural conditions.
  • The drum is made for long distance transport with an average life-span of 5-7 years, and often much longer.
  • The wide rolling surface makes it easier to roll through mud and soft sand while reducing the wear and tear.
  • The Hippo Roller frees up many hours each day for other important tasks in the home.
  • Some 60,000 units have been distributed in 51 countries (predominantly sub-Saharan Africa), directly impacting hundreds of thousands of people and many more indirectly.
The Hippo Roller is a flexible solution that allows users to access multiple water sites more easily.

Key Features

The Hippo Roller is a simple and appropriate technology designed to transport 90 liters of water much more easily than by carrying heavy 20-liter buckets or jerry cans. 

The drum is designed to cope with tough rural conditions while rolling a heavy weight of water over sandy and rocky footpaths, which have broken glass and barbed wire, for long distances with an average life-span of 5-7 years, and often much longer.

The weight is spread across the wide rolling surface making it easier to roll through mud and soft sand while reducing the wear and tear. Grains of sand embedded on the rolling surface add an additional layer of protection.

The steel handle clips into recesses at each end of the large drum enabling people to simply roll it along the ground. The drum can be pushed or pulled depending on the terrain and two people can pull the same drum up steep hills if need be. 

The large opening allows the drum to be cleaned properly and yet is small enough to prevent toddlers from falling inside. There is a mini-cap inside the large cap for simple irrigation of agriculture and the hygienic withdrawal of water. 

The Hippo Roller also provides a flexible infrastructure for accessing multiple water points which often change throughout the year.

Social Impact

The UN says 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe water in their homes forcing them to collect and carry all the water they need back home. This task falls mainly to women and children who are the primary water carriers in the household. The elderly are often forced to rely on the goodwill of neighbors as they are unable to carry heavy containers of water.

To date, some 60,000 units have been distributed in 51 countries, directly impacting hundreds of thousands of people and many more indirectly.

Apart from the obvious alleviation of the daily struggle to carry water, perhaps the biggest benefit the Hippo Roller brings is more time. The Hippo Roller frees up many hours each day for other important tasks in the home. Time spent at water collection point queues is reduced.

Children who need to collect water in the mornings are able to attend school on time resulting in an improved level of education, increasing employment opportunities to break free of the poverty cycle.

Mothers have more time to tend to their children’s needs and maintain their homes.

More water means a better quality of life and empowers households to improve their hygiene and health, grow small-scale food gardens, and generate an income from the sale of excess crops and water delivery services. 

Future Plans

Hippo Roller is based in South Africa and plans to scale up by appointing distributors in other regions to achieve a lower landed cost. Appointed distributors would import in bulk reducing the shipping costs and, once a sufficient demand is established, local manufacturing of the bulky drum will be considered. This will further reduce the landed cost by removing most of the shipping costs and customs duties.

The mobile Hippo Spaza is an attachment which clips on to the standard 90-liter Hippo Roller providing both a trolley mode for moving 100kg of goods and products to market and then folds out into a display stand for informal traders.

Main Target Group

Predominantly rural and peri-urban households that do not have water delivery infrastructure. Many urban households struggle too.

Main User

Water supply agencies, remote villages, private entities, hotels, research stations.

Price (in USD)

$125

© Hippo Roller
© Hippo Roller
© Hippo Roller
© Hippo Roller
© Hippo Roller
© Hippo Roller
© Hippo Roller
vimeo-image

Play Video

In this place, an external content of Vimeo / YouTube can be displayed.
Yes, I would like to access content from Vimeo / YouTube and agree that data may subsequently be transmitted to Vimeo / Google and cookies may be set by Vimeo / Google. By clicking the “Play” button, you also consent to data processing outside the EEA such as in the USA (Art. 49 Para. 1 lit. a) GDPR), where the high European level of data protection does not exist, so that data may be subject to access by authorities for control and monitoring purposes, against which neither effective legal remedies nor data subject rights may be enforceable. You can withdraw your consent at any time. More about this in our privacy policy.

Hippo Roller (trading as Imvubu Projects Pty Ltd)
Hippo Roller (trading as Imvubu Projects Pty Ltd)

Hippo Roller (trading as Imvubu Projects Pty Ltd) Grant Gibbs, Founder & Executive Director hipporoller.org
Share this page
Profile last edited on: May 25, 2021