KADA Marshall Islands Hippo Rollers boat to Bikeej beach

Photo story: Rolling safe water the Marshall Islands way!

We received fascinating pictures this morning from our friends at Kwajalein Atoll Development Authority (KADA) in the Marshall Islands! They recently received 400 x Hippo Rollers and are now distributing them to the small islets.

They are first filling each drum with fresh water and then toss them off the boat into the sea and swim them to the beach. Yes the Hippo Rollers float even when full of water. Then they attach the handle even while in the water and roll them out on to the beach.

We are sure this is the first time in Hippo Roller history that rollers have been delivered like this!

KADA reported the delivery on their Facebook page today:

Improving Water Security on Kwajalein Atoll with Hippo Water Rollers!!! Today the first 8 Hippo Water Rollers were…

Posted by Kwajalein Atoll Development Authority – KADA on Tuesday, 31 October 2017

vingerkraal bela-bela rotary clubs

Rotary Clubs improve water access for rural village in Limpopo

Rotary Clubs recently collaborated with Hippo Roller to provide Vingerkraal Village with an easy solution to their problems of collecting water.

Situated 40km west of Bela-Bela in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, residents of Vingerkraal Village lived with the ongoing battle of inadequate water supplies which forced them to travel long distances to collect water for their daily needs.

Rotary Clubs from near and far worked together to bring relief to the situation. The Gibsons Rotary Club in Canada provided the funding for the project, while the Rotary Club of Benoni Van Ryn together with Warmbaths Rotary worked with the Vingerkraal community to identify suitable recipients.

This all required careful planning and preparation and although it took two years to complete the long term benefits of the Hippo Rollers will have lasting effects on the community for many years to come.

148 Hippo Rollers were delivered to the Vingerkraal Village on 23 October 2017.  Enough rollers were donated so that one Hippo Roller could be shared between two households and service approximately 20 people per day.  The Hippo Rollers will have the most impact on women and children in the community as they are usually the ones responsible for water collection.
The Rotary District 9400 governor Jankees Sligcher attended the handover and presented the members of the community with certificates commemorating the event.
Rotary is changing lives one village at a time with Hippo Roller.

Water and Poverty: How Access to Safe Water Reduces Poverty

“Water and poverty are inextricably linked. Lack of safe water and poverty are mutually reinforcing; access to consistent sources of clean water is crucial to poverty reduction.”

As we prepare to launch our crowdfunding campaign to ship 200 Hippo Rollers to Haiti, we discovered an informative article by Lifewater.org which explains how improved access to safe water reduces poverty.

The article includes references to valuable resources with facts and more in-depth information about the relationship between water and poverty.


When we talk about poverty, we primarily refer to the economically disadvantaged groups of people across wide swaths of the globe, mainly in Africa and Asia, that survive on subsistence farming or incomes of less than $2 per day. There were 2.4 billion people living in this situation in 2010.

The global rate of extreme poverty, defined as the percentage of those living on less than $1.25 per day, was halved between 1990 and 2010. [1]

Access to water

In that same twenty-year period, the global proportion of people living without access to clean water was halved as well, with 2.3 billion people gaining access to improved drinking water between 1990 and 2012. [2]

Currently, 748 million people live without access to safe water and 2.5 billion live without adequate sanitation. [3]


For those who live without safe water, adequate sanitation, and effective hygiene practices, water-borne disease is a constant threat to health, keeping people out of the work force and in poverty. Over 40 billion productive hours are lost each year to fetching water in sub-Saharan Africa. [4]

About half of the developing world’s hospital beds are occupied by people with water-related illness. [5]


Water and poverty are linked in education; preventable, water-borne disease keep children out of school. An estimated 443 million school days are lost each year from water-related illness. [6]

In many cases, children are too sick with diarrhea and other water-borne diseases like typhoid, cholera, or dysentery to go to school or must care for sick family members instead of going to class.

Children also must help their families retrieve safe water from long distances if it is not available nearby.

When the school does not have sanitation facilities, even a simple latrine, children must defecate in the open or miss class while they find someplace to go to the bathroom. This not only makes them miss class, it facilitates the further spread of disease.


When there is no safe water and sanitation, people are more vulnerable to powerful or wealthy individuals and groups that threaten their security and resources.

On the other hand when the community members are equipped and empowered to help themselves get access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene often lead to more productive collaboration in other areas, like education, ecological stewardship, and small business. Community achievement is contagious and transformative.


Women bear the heaviest burden when there is no safe water and sanitation. In most places that lack these resources, women and children are responsible for retrieving water for their families, often spending several hours each day traveling and waiting at a water point. This often puts them at risk of assault and injury. The women and girls often stay home from work and school to care for family members that are sick with water-related diseases. They do most of the cooking and cleaning for the family.

The cycle of water and poverty continue where women must endure these experiences, as they are often excluded from productive or income-earning labor. Where women have access to a nearby source of clean drinking water, a toilet or latrine, and knowledge about good hygiene practices like handwashing, they and their families thrive. They can use the time saved to work in home-based businesses and agriculture as well as employment outside the home. More girls can attend school, and for longer. They can break the cycle of poverty and water-borne disease.


Communities affected by disaster, either natural or man-made, are more resilient if they have access to safe water and sanitation. Communities with safe water have healthier members, whose bodies are more resistant to illnesses that come with disaster and displacement.

When clean drinking water, latrines or toilets, and good hygiene practices are present, people can recover from disaster more quickly.

Invest in safe water

Investment in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) promises one of the highest rates of return of any development relating to water and poverty. [7]

A $1 investment in WASH yields $3-$34 in economic return. [8] but lack of WASH can cost up to 5% of a country’s GDP. [9]

“In fact, no single intervention is more likely to have a significant impact on global poverty than the provision of safe water.” [11]

1.“Poverty Overview,” World Bank, last updated Apr 7, 2014, http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview.

2. WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2014 Update (Geneva: WHO Press, 2014), 12.

3. WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2014 Update (Geneva: WHO Press, 2014), 8.

4. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 47, available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/human-development-report-2006.

5. United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: power poverty and the global water crisis (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 45, available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/human-development-report-2006.

6. United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: power poverty and the global water crisis (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 45, available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/human-development-report-2006.

7. In 2012, development economists ranked getting clean water to rural villages as number one in greatest estimated impact among strategies to fight global poverty. Bruce Wydick, “Cost-Effective Compassion,” Christianity Today, February 2012, 24.

8. Schuster-Wallace et al., Safe Water as the Key to Global Health, United Nations University (UNU-INWEH) (2008), 6, available at http://inweh.unu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/SafeWater_Web_version.pdf. When operation and maintenance costs are included, a more conservative estimate is $2-$5.50 in return (globally) for water and sanitation investments, respectively. Guy Hutton, Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage (WHO: 2012), available at http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/2012/globalcosts.pdf.

9. UN Water, The UN World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World (UN Water: 2009), 8, available at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr3-2009.

11. Schuster-Wallace et al., Safe Water as the Key to Global Health, United Nations University (UNU-INWEH) (2008), 8, available at http://inweh.unu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/SafeWater_Web_version.pdf.


Slideshow: #Rolling #Safewater to #Haiti – this 2017 Giving Season

This Giving Season we are rolling safe water to Haiti with the Hippo Roller… We have plans in place and already 40% funding to send 200 Hippo Rollers with water filters to Cite-Soleil, Port-au-Prince…

Create your own fundraising page in under 7 minutes and get your friends rolling safe drinking water to Haiti. The Hippo Roller is a simple technology that’s changing lives all over the world. Visit the campaign at hipporoller.org/haiti.


hippo rollers york timbers women

Brand South Africa: Water, dignity and the Hippo Roller Project

Brand South Africa writer Melissa Javan talked to Darren Smith and Grant Gibbs about the Hippo Roller Project. Darren, who handles the donor and media engagement for Hippo Roller, and Grant, executive director, are both Play Your Part ambassadors. Play Your Part is a national movement by Brand South Africa to encourage active citizenship and social cohesion.

Excerpts from the interview:

Melissa Javan: Why did you get involved in this project?

Darren Smith: I have followed Grant’s journey with the Hippo Roller almost since its inception more than 20 years ago. When the opportunity arose to join the team, I jumped at it. Personally and professionally the whole reason to be of the Hippo Roller energised me. “Simple ideas. Changing lives.” This is our “why”. This gets us up in the mornings.

MJ: Who are the beneficiaries?

DS: Millions of women and children struggle daily to collect water. It is for this group that the Hippo Roller has an immediate and profound impact. It significantly improves their ability to collect more water, more efficiently, and empowers them to spend more time on education and other important tasks in the home and community.

MJ: How do you choose beneficiaries?

DS: There are seldom enough to go around in any given community, and so they are diligently allocated and distributed to the neediest first (women, child-headed homes, the elderly or frail) by the local community leaders.

We have discovered too, that a Hippo Roller is never idle. Often it is shared widely, and works hard, each Hippo Roller potentially meeting the needs of dozens of people. In a recent project in Mozambique, for example, 30 Hippo Rollers are serving the needs of nearly 4,000 people.

MJ: How do they benefit?

DS: Time is our most precious resource. By addressing the difficulty of retrieving water, the Hippo Roller simply buys more time. In turn, that time can be put to more productive use for education, social development and local entrepreneurship.

MJ: How can people get involved?

DS: Many current community development initiatives around the world, with a completely different focus from water, can be more effective in the communities they serve just by improving access to water.

Even NGOs that install wells and boreholes could serve a wider territory by including Hippo Rollers from the same borehole. Water is something that most of us just don’t think about. But for millions, it’s all they think about, every single day.

A first step then, would be to visit HippoRoller.org. Even if you can’t donate, sharing the knowledge and spreading the word goes a long way to keeping the visibility of the water crisis high.

In a conversation with a teenage girl, Grant realised that the basic human need for dignity could be easily overlooked. He describes the conversation with this girl as one of his highlights of the project.

Grant Gibbs: “In South Sudan, where I interviewed a teenage girl, I asked why she liked the Hippo Roller so much and she responded without hesitation: ‘Because now I can look like a city girl.’ She explained that she could not braid her hair to look attractive when carrying heavy buckets of water on her head,” he says.

hippo roller food garden

Innovation: This simple solution rolls a long way in ensuring water access – Bizcommunity.com

Sindy Peters is the Managing Editor of Bizcommunity.com and interviewed Grant Gibbs, Executive Director of Hippo Roller, to find out more about the inspiration behind the innovation, what sort of reach it has, and the extent of its social impact.

More than 20 years since its inception, the low-tech Hippo Roller continues to have a profound impact on communities facing water insecurity. The award-winning innovation entails a 90-litre, durable barrel-shaped container that can be pushed or pulled by a steel handle, enabling rural communities to transport water more easily, saving time, and ensuring access to water.

Below are abstracts from the interview:

What inspired the idea to launch the Hippo Roller?

  • The Hippo Roller was conceptualised in 1991 by Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker, two South Africans who grew up on farms, experiencing the national water crisis first-hand and witnessing local communities carrying heavy buckets of water on their heads for kilometres every day.

How has the Hippo Roller evolved over the last 20 years?

  • Whilst a few solutions were proffered, none really improved on the original design, which is still in use today, 25 years after its inception. Still, we have introduced some minor improvements and have added some optional extras including the “Utility/Irrigation Cap” for small-scale farmers and the “Hippo Spaza” for the more entrepreneurial informal traders.

What sort of reach does the Hippo Roller have?

  • More than ​55,000 Hippo Rollers have been distributed in more than 29 ​countries to date, changing the lives of millions of people. But this is just the beginning. Projects supporting small-scale farmers across the continent would impact millions more, with hundreds of thousands of small-scale farmers participating in initiatives aimed at moving them from subsistence to sustainable commercial “agripreneurs”.

What is the broader social impact of the Hippo Roller?

  • With hundreds of millions of women and children struggling daily for access to water, the Hippo Roller innovation makes an immediate, and profound impact, significantly improving their ability to collect more water, more efficiently, and empowering them to spend more time on education and other important tasks in the home, and community.


Why do you believe the Hippo Roller makes for good CSI?

  • On September 25th 2015, the world adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. And for the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society. Water is one of these specific goals (access to water and sanitation for all) and the Hippo Roller is an effective and appropriate solution to achieving it.

Are there any expansion plans for the social enterprise you’d like to share with us?

“Leveraging its relationships with sponsors, corporate partners, and NGOs, the Hippo Water Roller Project has established itself as a sustainable initiative that provides African communities with an immediate and winning water and sanitation solution.”