In many rural African communities carrying water for long distances is a difficult, time consuming and laboring task, done by women in small, but heavy buckets on their heads. This method has been the cause of many serious health problems, particularly spinal and back injuries. This hard, exhausting task also simply does not provide enough clean water to support their families.
Enter the Hippo Roller, originally invented by two South African engineers Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker back in 1991. The Hippo Roller was designed to alleviate this laboring problem. The barrel-shaped container holds, transports and stores 90 litres of water and is so easy to use that even children and the elderly are able to operate a full roller over any terrain. Approximately five times the normal amount of water can be collected in much less time and with far less effort, transforming water collection from a daily chore to an easier task performed only a few times a week. This translates into more time for other important household tasks and women are often empowered to start vegetable gardens and generate an income. Children also have more time to attend more school, improving their chances for employment.
This Hippo Roller invention is still in production today and is becoming a prominent solution for the needs of farmers and families in the South African communities. The Hippo Roller received its first design award in 1992 – the “Cullinan Design Award” from the South African Bureau of Standards Design Institute. It received another award from the SABS Design Institute in 1997 as the “Design for Development Award”.
Since 1993, Grant Gibbs has worked on pushing the Hippo Roller project into the light, as his business entity became know as Imvubu Projects, manufacturing and marketing the product into an increased popularity of sponsorship and free publicity, including by word of mouth.
Since it’s innovation, the Hippo Water Roller project has gained visibility, gathering many sponsors interested in having their branding endorsed onto the labeling of the product. The permanent labeling of choice came from Mold In Graphic Systems teaming up with ACD Rotoflo, and the use of the Mold In Graphics to provide the enhanced visuals on the Hippo Roller. Mold In Graphics have helped bring more exposure to the Hippo Roller project and also to the association of the donors and ongoing exposure. Visit www.hipporoller.org to read more on the Hippo Roller and it’s support for African and other communities around the world.
(This content is an excerpt from the full story, which can be found in RotoWorld magazine – January-February issue – 2010)