Updated Apr 04, 2018

Hr logo secondary colour

Hippo Roller

The Hippo Roller unlocks time by enabling women, children & communities across the world to move 5 times more water than normal, from source to home, with ease. It improves access to water through last-mile, mobile infrastructure.

Image 0

Grant Gibbs

Send Message

Stage 5: Scaling

Hippo Roller has distributed 55,000 Hippo Rollers over the last 25 years, to more than 45 countries around the world.It seeks to transition to scale through replicating its proven business model, in regional manufacturing hubs across the world.

Registered as a For-Profit in South Africa.

Focus Areas:

Water Supply/Quality, Agriculture Water Management, Agriculture and 3 MoreSEE ALL

Water Supply/Quality, Agriculture Water Management, Agriculture, Gender Equity, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change and ResilienceSEE LESS

Lives Impacted to Date
Key Partners


2.1 billion people lack access to safe water in the home, spending a disproportionately high percentage of their day simply collecting water. Time which can be better spent on education, health, work & play. 



The Hippo Roller has impacted the lives of millions of people in rural communities, who struggle with the daily chore of fetching water. Whilst the Hippo Roller eases this burden, its real value stems from it saving time,which profoundly improves the lives of its users. Small-scale farmers, in particular, get the benefit of more water to irrigate vegetable gardens and crops, supporting their move from subsistence to commercial sustainability.

Target Beneficiaries

The Hippo Roller directly benefits people living on less than the equivalent of $5 PPP* per day in developing countries, and more often than not, people living on less than $2 PPP per day … the poorest of the poor. Hippo Roller’s beneficiaries are typically rural communities which lack established water infrastructure, and where the burden of collecting water falls mainly on women and children.

Mission and Vision

Hippo Roller is all about "Simple Ideas. Changing lives."
This is our "Why?"
Turning time spent into time saved.
Turning problems into potential.
Unlocking education, food security, independence and improved health around the world.

Improving access to water for women, children and farming communities through last mile, mobile infrastructure, moving from dependence to self-sufficiency.

Innovation Description

The Hippo Roller has been proven over 25 years, to be an appropriate technology for communities where pipes & taps to every home are simply not a reality. The Hippo Roller, often combined with boreholes and other water resources, offers a complimentary, flexible ‘last mile’ infrastructure.

1: It is a self-regulating solution (people only collect what they really need) which means minimal waste.

2: It is entirely appropriate for modern ‘climate-smart’ agricultural programs, designed to increase farming productivity and efficiency (in the process moving communities from subsistence to commercial sustainability).

3: When used in small-scale farming initiatives, it also solves household water storage and distribution needs, at the same time, with the same tool.

4: The Hippo Roller’s total cost of ownership runs to as little as ‘cents per day per person’ over its lifetime. There are few better returns on investment.

Competitive Advantage

The Hippo Roller makes collecting water:

1:easier(it rolls, supporting the weight of water on the ground, not on young heads, necks and shoulders),

2:faster(it transports 5 times more water than can be carried using buckets or traditional containers),

3:less costly(it is built to last in rugged rural conditions, is low/zero maintenance and serves entire families, not just single users), and

4:more feasible(building physical infrastructure in remote, rural communities can take years. Hippo Rollers offer an immediate,appropriate solution).

Finally, the Hippo Roller has an impact on community behaviour. Traditionally seen as a menial task for women & children, more men are playing a role in water collection and distribution, the ‘innovative’ approach of Hippo Rollers bringing prestige and ease-of-use with it, positively breaking down cultural norms.

Planned Goals and Milestones

The Hippo Roller has the potential to scale, enormously. It has done so within South Africa, primarily via existing partners:

· Private sector, Corporate Social Responsibility,

· Government,

· Donors and NGOs,

· Micro-financing partners.

The Hippo Roller has evolved from a small-scale project to an established social enterprise, which now needs to scale its proven intervention to new regions.

Funding Goal1,000,000
New Implemented CountriesGhana, Colombia, Australia, United States, Mozambique, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Zambia
RecruitBoard of Directors, Advisors, Global Business Development Executive, Supply Chain Executive, Operations Executive, Administrative Assistants
New FeatureComplementary water purification features


Mar 2018
Lives Impacted
Sep 2012
Key Partnership
ORGANIZATIONUnited NationsUnited Nations
as part of
United Nations World Food Program
Jan 1992
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
as part of
SABS Design Excellence Awards
Jan 1991

Supporting Materials