A shipping container loaded with 175 Hippo Water Rollers, arrived in Maleng-Agok in the South Sudan in April 2010. These had been sponsored by some generous donors from Sydney, Australia, who wish to remain anonymous.
The Hippo Water Rollers were handed out under the supervision of the Lakes States Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Eli Magok, along with the local chief and other senior government officials.
Approximately $33,000 was sponsored covering both the cost of rollers and the shipping container plus delivery of the rollers right up to the destination: Maleng-Agok; an expense that nearly doubled the original cost of the rollers.
The shipping container was paid for so that it could remain at Maleng-Agok. The sponsors provided architectural drawings to convert the container into a medical clinic.
The rural community of Maleng-Agok near Rumbek is centrally located in South Sudan. Maleng-Agok is very typical of most rural communities and has approximately 20,000 inhabitants with 7 to 10 members per household.
Intellectuals, community leaders and government officials from GOSS (Government of South Sudan) held meetings in Juba, the new capital of South Sudan, to decide how to go about distributing the sponsored Hippo Water Rollers.
It was decided to give 30 of the rollers free of charge to some of the more elderly community members and the rest were sold at $40 each. These contributions will be used to convert the shipping container into a medical clinic for the benefit of all, and also serves to promote a sense of ownership and value resulting in a longer life-span of the roller.
In December 2010, during preparations for the successful referendum to separate South Sudan from the rest of the country, we travelled to Rumbek in South Sudan.
We went to evaluate what impact the Hippo Water Rollers had made on the community of Maleng-Agok after 8 months of use.
We arrived on the 1st of December to an incredibly warm reception under the “Arrivals” tree including many government officials and community leaders.
We met again with the Minister of Water Affairs & Agriculture, Mr. Eli Magok Manyol. The following day we had the honour of meeting with the Lakes State Governor, Mr. Chol Tong Mayay.
We then spent a lot of time travelling to rural villages including Maleng-Agok to experience for ourselves the living conditions and issues relating to water collection, and to interview recipients of Hippo rollers.
When you see how rural and spread out the homes are, it’s easy to understand why it would be so difficult and costly to install piped water all over South Sudan.
Most water points in South Sudan are manual boreholes which have to be pumped up and down to extract water from below. Once again, women and children are faced with the burden of having to fetch and carry water every day of their lives which is extremely tedious and taxing.
The Hippo Water Roller is by far the most appropriate technology for this region. At home, the roller is positioned upright under a tree to keep the water cool. One roller is used by a number of families in the enclosure.
Apart from the obvious benefits, three new positive outcomes were identified:
1. Boosting Local Businesses - Clay brick manufacturers said that their production rate had almost doubled because they were able to spend less me and effort collecting water which was good for business.
2. Social Events - The Hippo roller now formed an integral part of any social event or gathering and was often loaned out for the purpose of being able to make more water available - rather like a status symbol.
3. Personal Dignity - Possibly the most striking and unexpected benefit was how young girls (age 14) felt that they could now look like “city-girls”. Carrying heavy loads of water on their heads makes it impossible to braid their hair and even causes hair-loss. Now they could make themselves look attractive and stand a much better chance of meeting a partner.
There is no question that the Hippo Water Roller project has made a significant impact and contribution to the people of South Sudan. Government, community leaders and the local population have expressed their sincere desire to expand the project and include local production in Maleng-Agok.
The Hippo roller is not a permanent solution, but will buy time for government to address other important needs of the country.
Depending on available funds and demand for Hippo rollers, additional manufacturing plants could be set up at distant locations to reduce local transport costs and to provide backup manufacturing facilities in the event of breakdowns.
The Hippo Water Roller brings much more than improved access to water!
South Sudan Evaluation Report Format: PDF | Size: 4.0 MB | Date: 2010