About us

The “Hippo Water Roller Project” was established in 1994 in response to the unique needs and constraints in terms of access to water of rural women and children across Africa.

Now simply referred to as “Hippo Roller”, the broad social impact of this social enterprise has been felt in more than 20 countries, with a total distribution of 50,000 Hippo Water Rollers, and a reach of close to half a million people.

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Core Values


Hippo Roller works with rural and impoverished communities to help 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

To make a durable and maintenance free solution for daily use in tough rural terrain is costly. We provide social investment and fundraising opportunities for NGO’s, government, corporations, and individuals to purchase Hippo Water Rollers for those who need them most, but typically cannot afford them.

We grow a Sustainable

Hippo Roller is a social enterprise that facilitates the distribution of its products to water-stressed communities, while addressing the challenge of end-user affordability. It has a hybrid business model to ensure its economic and social sustainability.

We provide Appropriate

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.

“A personal appeal is made to your organization to actively support a national project which will positively change the lives of millions of our fellow South Africans.” Nelson Mandela

An excerpt from a CNN International report by Mike Hanna, filmed in 1996.

Hippo Roller

Hippo Roller is a social enterprise which has established itself in more than two decades as a sustainable initiative that provides African communities with immediate and winning water solutions.

We distribute our solutions to water-scarce communities through strategic working relationships with NGOs, with financial backing by corporate sponsors and donor funding.


  • Sponsorship

    Its international reputation has enabled the business to attract corporate sponsorship, as the Hippo Roller can be branded with a company logo and manufactured in a matching drum colour.

  • Distribution

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

  • Manufacturing

    The business outsources its primary manufacturing and has a local manufacturing strategy for other countries to avoid high operational costs, including overhead costs and the cost of labour.

  • Retail Sector

    To enhance its growth potential, the business is in the process of extending its business model to include the retail of Hippo Rollers. The aim of this strategy is to improve affordability for end-users.


  • Corporate

    Africa Foundation, USA
    Cargill Incorporated
    Frost & Sullivan, 2016
    Siemens Stiftung
    UN World Food Programme

  • Exhibitions

    AIDF, Washington DC
    Cubes of Good Ideas, Barcelona
    Museum of Design Atlanta
    Roca London Gallery
    World Water Forum, Marseille

  • Media

    CNN International News
    CBS Innovation TV
    CCTV News, Africa
    GOOD News, USA
    ZDF Heute, Germany

  • People

    President Nelson Mandela
    King Goodwill Zwelithini (Traditional Leader)
    David Wolfe (Nutritionist)
    Hashem Al-Ghaili (Scientist)

  • Publications

    365 Ways To Change the World
    Design Like You Give A Damn
    Design Revolution, USA
    The Economist, 2003
    RotoWorld® Magazine

  • Social Media

    Interesting Engineering
    Science Nature Page
    Tech Insider