HIPPO ROLLER: when you didn’t need great innovations to make life easier

HIPPO ROLLER is the perfect example of product not so innovative about the technological aspect that can make life easier. As you can see on product’s website, the company is the first to consider it a simple innovation.

Let’s start observing where this product was born. In my opinion, it isn’t a case that is an idea from two south-african guys, because the water crisis is a recurring problem in Africa. African people (generally women and children) spend a lot of time to provide themselves water since that they have to do many travels up to the springs. So this product is a brilliant idea since that now they can do less travels and take more water than before. In this way they have more time to spend in other things like go to school, work or farm.

Now, the first question is: what is Hippo Roller and how does it work?
Hippo Roller is a device for carrying water more easily and efficiently than traditional methods, particularly in the developing world. It consists of a barrel-shaped container which holds the water and can roll along the ground, and a handle attached to the axis of the barrel.
Hippo Roller makes it extremely easy to collect water in tough rural conditions – up to 5x more water than a single bucket, by simply rolling it along the ground. Then, this product has a filter to have cleaner water.

CIF Malawi - Nov 2016


Most benefits enjoyed are experienced immediately: The Hippo Roller improves health and hygiene and makes more water and time available for education, household tasks and food production.


  • time savings (fetching water can be very time consuming in some poor rural environments);
  • reduced effort;
  • reduced strain (carrying heavy weights on the head every day for years puts strain on the body, particularly the vertebral column);
  • increased water availability, with benefits for health and perhaps even enabling vegetables to be grown;
  • hygienic storage due to the sealed lid on the roller.


  • the biggest problem is financial. A Hippo Water Roller costs $100 plus shipping costs. That’s a pretty steep price for a South African or for a charity that wants to buy a large amount. Most use donated money to buy them. In other cases, corporations will buy some and donate them to a nongovernmental organization or a village.

To conclude, I want to use company’s mantra because lets you understand their philosophy and my opinion in this case:”Simple ideas. Changing lives.”


  • https://www.hipporoller.org
  • http://www.businessinsider.com/hippo-roller-carrying-water-easy-africa-2016-5?IR=T
  • http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/07/12/ost.hippo.water.roller/
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/hipporoller/31153771236/in/photostream/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippo_water_roller
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Enrico Di Stefano

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One thought on “HIPPO ROLLER: when you didn’t need great innovations to make life easier

  1. Dominika Mularska says:

    I know this innovation, I did project about it for the one of my subject at Uni, the idea is brilliant and helpful, these could prevent African women from body damages and would save time in bringing water to the villages, i hope this idea would be spread and would be implemented in many African villages

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