Projects | The Hippo Roller

A woman using the Hippo Roller in transporting water

The Hippo Roller aims in reducing the amount of time and physical strain of transporting water from a source to the home. Many women and children spend a lot of labouring hours to transport large amount of water over vast distances; the Hippo Roller allows them to roll their water instead of carrying it on their back and heads. Many people in the developing areas have no access to clean water and have to travel very far to get access to clean water. Many hours are wasted transporting water, with the Hippo Roller, the task can be sped up and the leftover time can be reallocated for another activity like education. The Hippo Roller can last many years, anywhere from 5-7 years, and has a design that requires little to no maintenance. It has won multiple awards and continues to be produced and distributed in Africa.

The Hippo Roller was first designed in South Africa and sparked international interests. It caught the attention of one person in particular, Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H. Project H aims to design WITH instead of FOR people. They mainly focus on design cases for the developing worlds. Emily PIlloton offered her company’s design skills free of charge in optimizing the Hippo Roller. There were a lot of tradeoffs in creating a newer and better version of the past Hippo Roller. Together, they managed to get a high yield from the molding process by modifying the roller. They also wanted to optimize its sustainability but by using recycled plastic, it damaged the structural integrity of the Hippo Roller so they had to sacrifice using a recycled material for a UV coated plastic which can withstand the repeated abuse and demanding environment. It has been a long road to bring the Hippo Roller to where it is today and it continues to be critically reviewed for improvements. 

The one drawback of the Hippo Roller is that is has been said to be too expensive as explained here. There are still many challenges the Hippo Roller faces before it can be truly accessible to all those in need in developing countries. 

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