Help Us Roll 1000 Hippos

A simple tool. A massive need.

For many, clean water comes with the twist of a tap. But in rural Africa, access to water requires hours of walking, waiting in line and heavy lifting.  

On average, a woman spends six hours a day collecting and transporting water to supply her family’s daily needs. The time spent on this basic necessity keeps many children out of school and prevents women from engaging in more empowering activities and income-generating work.

The simple design of the hippo water roller allows the transport of water more easily and efficiently by placing the water inside its “wheel.” A full hippo roller holds 200 lbs of water – five times the amount possible using traditional methods. But because the weight is borne on the ground, it has an effective weight of just 22 pounds allowing even children to easily manage a full roller over most types of terrain.

This simple tool will change the lives of millions of women and children in rural communities. A single hippo roller carries enough water to meet the basic needs of five people per day. Fewer trips to collect water means women and children can spend their time on productive educational and economic opportunities. It gives them access to better hygiene and living conditions. In addition, it's now possible for families and schools to collect enough water to grow their own vegetables using the drip irrigation cap.

Help Us Roll 1000 Hippos

The goal of our fundraising campaign is to put a hippo water roller into the hands of 1000 women in rural South Africa. While it barely scratches the surface of the need, our mission is to start the momentum that will create a paradigm shift on how this daily chore is done.

Each $150 provides one family with a hippo water roller that will last 5-7 years.  And it will change her life forever!

In January 2015, we had raised $5,000 and purchased 35 hippo water rollers for the community of Kguatswane, South Africa. A video recording of the Community Handover so moved the club that one of the members made a passionate plea for the club to, "Be the spark that will ignite a global project."

We set up a challenge to the 52 clubs in District 5040; Help Us Roll 1000 Hippos. Twenty six clubs and four Interact groups rose to the challenge and raised over $25,000. With grants from the District and Rotary International -- and a partnership with the Benoni van Ryn Rotary Club in South Africa -- we're ready to roll over 400 hippo rollers to rural communities in drought-stricken South Africa.

But we're just beginning!

Rotary Clubs from as far away as Sydney Australia heard about our project and have jumped on board. Our club is now preparing a public relations campaign to invite clubs from across Canada, the USA and Europe to join in this amazing project. We see the challenge growing to fund raise for 2000, 5000 and even 10,000 hippo rollers over the next 2-3 years.

Join us in funding this social revolution by bringing this life-changing tool to those who need it! If a hippo roller can save a woman 30+ hours of work per week, imagine what a group of women -- or a nation of women -- could do with that time.


South Africa

Project Type: 

  • Water



# of people benefited directly: 


# of people benefited indirectly: 


Total Budget Needed: 

$150 000.00

Amount Raised so Far: 

$24 450.00

Local Language(s) Spoken: 

This Project was last updated on: Friday Mar 18th, 2016