If you have ever been to a developing country you've probably seen women and children, and its almost always women and children, carrying huge buckets of water from a local well or pump back to their homes, often many kilometers away. It's hard work which can cause injury, stunt development and takes a lot of time.
So I was pretty excited when I read about the Hippo Water Roler courtesy of Anita Roddick. Designed to make it easier and safer for women in developing countries to fetch large quanities of water in these very situations the Hippo Water Roller is an amazing development which deserves lots of support.
The Hippo Water Roller is so simple, one wonders why no one thought of it before. It's simply a tough plastic barrel with a rudimentary axle through the middle connected to a handle. It can be pushed in front of the user, eliminating the physical strain of carrying water containers on the head or back.
The ability to have access to larger amounts of water has amazing potential, and opens up new worlds for these communities. It eliminates the temptation to use potentially contaminated surface water which may be more accessible, but present serious health risks. It allows these communities to cultivate crops in otherwise desert areas, leading to self-sufficiency and a reduction in hunger and malnourishment.
The project has been lauded by international media, and even hs the endorsement of Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel.
It's unintended consequence are pretty impressive too: the water roller also helps protect women from landmines! When the device rolls over a landmine, the water-filled barrel has been found to absorb most of the impact.
The scale on which such a social invention can improve the lives of those who use it is almost unimaginable. Very exciting stuff.
Find out more about the Hippo Water Roller!