The Hippo roller is another one of those ideas that is incredibly simple yet can make untold difference to millions of lives. Imagine waking up long before sunrise and then walking for more than two hours to the nearest river or borehole and then carrying a bucket full of water on your head all the way home - every day for the rest of your life. This hell-on-earth scenario is faced by millions every day, causing extensive personal injury and suffering with no respite.
The Hippo Water Roller is a barrel-shaped container designed to transport 90 liters (20 gallons) of water – four times the water that one person can carry via a 20 liter bucket (5 gallons weighs nearly 42 pounds or 18.9 kilograms) – and it does so without placing undue stress on the neck, arms or spine.
It comprises of a drum with a large screw-on cap and a clip-on steel handle. The drum is manufactured from UV stabilized polyethylene and has been designed to withstand typical rural conditions such as uneven footpaths, rocks and even broken bottles. The large opening (135 mm / 5.3 in diameter) allows for easy filling and cleaning of the interior. The sealed lid ensures hygienic storage of water and the steel handle provides firm control over difficult terrain while pushing or pulling the roller.
The innovative design allows water to be placed inside the "wheel" rather than carried above the wheel. The 90kg (200 pound) weight of water is borne on the ground resulting in an effective weight of just 10kg (22 pounds) on level ground. Children and the elderly can easily manage a full roller over most types of terrain. Extensive field tests over many years and various awards have proven the effectiveness of the Hippo Water Roller. Approximately five times the normal amount of water can now be collected in less time with far less effort.
The Hippo roller can also be used in conjunction with an ingenious irrigation system.
The humanitarian project is woefully under-resourced, so if you fancy doing your bit for your fellow humans at this time-of-plenty in the Western world, you can support the Hippo Water Roller project via the Africa Foundation which is registered in the USA as a charitable organization with 501(c)3 status and hence qualifies as tax deductible.
More information can be found at Hipporoller.org