hippo roller

+ 0
Hippo Rollers
0 Billion
Liters water

Based on conservative UN estimates of 20L per person/day with up to 7 members per household and a duration of at least 5 years.


Hippo Roller is a successful 25-year social enterprise that has changed millions of lives in 48 countries with appropriate technology in water-stressed communities by improving access to water with the Hippo Roller, a device used to carry 90L of water more easily and efficiently than traditional methods.

  • Multiple award-winning product design and organization
  • Immediate impact & appropriate response to issues surrounding water
  • Unlocks time for education, economic prosperity & improved health
  • Low maintenance sustainable design, lasting 5-7 years in tough rural conditions
  • Empowers rural farmers to grow from subsistence to sustainable small-scale farming to generate income

Water Crisis

0 billion
Lack water access
0 hrs / day
Collecting water
0 km / day
Carrying heavy water
0 kg
Water hauled daily


Developing nations lack water delivery infrastructure. In 2015 663 Million lacked access to safe water within 1 kilometre (fairobserver.com). Water is not easy to keep clean if it must be transported from a shared source. Globally it causes the deaths of over 1,000 children every day. The Hippo Roller was specifically designed to alleviate the suffering incurred and time consumed collecting water in tough rural conditions. This appropriate technology rolls 90-litres of water on the ground and has been deployed since 1993.

More water means a better quality of life, children are enabled to get to school and gain better employment opportunities. Families can irrigate, generating income and rising above subsistence levels. Time given back is valuable and a benefit that Hippo Rollers bring.

“2,1 billion people lack access to safe readily available water at home” WHO & UNICEF (12 Jul ’17) implying that it must be collected. 55,000+ Hippo Rollers have already been distributed to 48 countries over the past 25 years. It is our plan to distribute another 75,000, ending misery for millions by scaling distribution and through local manufacture.

We plan to achieve a lower “landed cost” so NGOs, governments, sponsors and donors are able to purchase more cost effectively from local distributors and this will provide access to new markets for additional water related technology products.


“For us at Hippo Roller, ‘changing lives’ is not a cliché, it is what gets us up in the morning and motivates us to help the millions of rural and impoverished communities. Our reward is seeing communities lift themselves beyond poverty to a sustainable lifestyle.”

Hippo Roller is managed by a family including Grant Gibbs (Founder) with 25 years of Hippo Roller social enterprise, NGO and CSI experience and Warrick & Ryan Gibbs who grew up with Hippo Roller. They manage both sponsor & beneficiary engagements, site visits and logistics. Outsourcing wherever possible, other staff include Pierre le Roux – social media & website development, Laura Rigby – sales coordination & administration, Darren Smith – marketing, communications & strategy with 25 years experience, Laurie Gibbs – supply chain management, distribution & project administration and Isaac Nleya – logistics, assembly & order preparation.

Mark Wilkes holds a BEng & an MBA. His 30+ year experience includes directorships with Samsung, VC backed SiConnect & Enmodus in the IOT sector, and at Fine Group.

Adele Tomasin holds a BSc in business & technology and an MSc in psychosocial studies.

A welcome addition to our team, Amie is an experienced Business Development professional with an accomplished track record of international funding acquisition, income generation and project management.


View and Download our presentation for your convenience

Map of Hippo Roller distribution (2018)
We provide appropriate technology

The Hippo Roller is an immediate and appropriate response to the issues surrounding water access and food security with broad social impact. It is widely accepted in many countries by water-stressed communities.

We improve access to water

Our innovation makes more water and time available for education, household tasks and food production, enabling people to transport up to 5 x more water to their homes and food gardens.

We promote social investment

We provide social investment and fundraising opportunities for NGO’s, government, corporations, and individuals to purchase Hippo Rollers for those who need them most, but typically cannot afford them.

We grow a sustainable business

Hippo Roller is a social enterprise that works with water-stressed communities to distribute its products, while addressing the challenge of end-user affordability.


Its international reputation has enabled the business to attract corporate sponsorship, as the Hippo Roller can be branded with company logos and the drum can be colour matched to the organisations brand.


The business outsources its primary manufacturing in South Africa and has a local manufacturing strategy for other countries to avoid high shipping costs and achieve a lower “landed cost” in these countries.


An agile last-mile distribution strategy involves NGOs to identify the communities and households most in need of Hippo Water Rollers. This enhances the project’s reach into rural communities.

Retail Sector

We recognise that many households are unable to purchase Hippo Rollers as the upfront expense is often beyond their means. We invite retailers to join us and offer micro-finance to their customers.



  • Rotary Club
  • Africa Foundation USA
  • Cargill Inc.
  • UN World Food Programme
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • Roll-A-Hippo
  • Operation Hunger
  • YouthZones
  • The Missing piece
Cargill sponsored farmer with hippo roller
Farmer in Mozambique with a Hippo Roller sponsored by Cargill.
  • President Nelson Mandela
  • King Goodwill Zwelithini
  • Hashem Al-Ghaili
  • Carlos Santana - Milagro Foundation
  • David Barnard – Big Red Run
  • Bonny Raitt
  • David Wolfe
David Barnard running with his campaign beneficiaries
David Barnard running with his campaign beneficiarie near Pretoria.

Corporate Social Investment

Helping communities improve access to water with the Hippo Roller is a proven way to fulfil social responsibility objectives.


Hippo Roller runs fundraising campaigns with water-stressed communities who approach us for assistance.


Donate to improve access to water with Hippo Rollers, with the assurance that your contribution has maximum impact.

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“Through this world-class service solution, Frost & Sullivan firmly believes that the Hippo Water Roller Project is set to reduce the suffering associated with water scarcity and lack of sanitation, while making positive strides to improve lives across Africa.”

Frost & Sullivan,



“The introduction of Hippo rollers in WFP supported primary schools significantly reduced the daily burden on women and children…”

UN World Food Program



2018 Global SDG Awards
Clean Water & Sanitation

2016 Frost & Sullivan
African Rural Portable Water Solutions Product Leadership Award

2005 INDEX Denmark
Top Nominee

1997 SABS Design Institute
Design for Development

1992 SABS
Cullinan Design Award


2019 - Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival
Triennale Milano, Italy

2016 - Designing the World
Cube Design Museum, Netherlands

2016 - 'Inventos Solidarios'
Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Spain

2014 - Design for Social Impact
Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)

2013 - AIDF Washington DC

2013 - Water for Thought: Life-Changing Design
Roca London Gallery

2012 - Village of Solutions
6th World Water Forum in Marseille

2007 - Design Indaba Conference
Cape Town, South Africa

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