In the 1600s, when the Europeans first explored Africa, they were met by men brandishing spears and women carrying buckets of water on their heads. It's now 2022 and the men carry cell phones and laptops, but the women are still carrying buckets of water on their heads. To liberate women to some extent in these communities where this practice continues, the hippo water roller was developed.  The innovative hippo water roller provides a simple solution to this global problem. Basically, the hippo roller is a re-invented wheelbarrow designed to transport 90-liters of water by placing the water inside its “wheel.” This simple design allows an arduous chore to be done easier, faster, and more efficiently. Luke Vorstermans, of the Rotary Club of Gibsons, helped his club launch the “Help Us Roll 1000 Hippos” campaign that quickly rolled out across Canada and the USA.
A full roller holds 90 litres (24 gallons) of water, weighing 200 lbs. That's 5x the amount possible using the traditional ‘bucket-on-the-head’ method. But because the weight is borne on the ground, even a young child can manage a full roller. A single roller carries enough water to meet the basic daily needs of a family of seven. To date, 80,000 hippo rollers are used in 51 countries— a mere drop in the bucket!
One trip to the water source using a hippo roller equals five trips with a bucket or one person vs five for the same amount. Fewer trips to collect water means women and children can spend their time on more productive educational and economic opportunities, a key component to alleviating poverty. Additionally, easier access to water is essential for growing vegetables and helping create food security. This simple shift in activity opens doors to better health and hygiene, increased food production, enhanced nutrition, and economic and educational opportunities. 
The roller is made from one solid piece of UV-safe polystrene by rotational extruding. There are no seams or welds making it extremely durable. The weight is distributed over a large surface area so it does not create wheel ruts which leads to erosion. The roller’s bevelled ends allow it to be easily tilted to an upright position for access, cleaning and storage. The handle bearings are made from virtually indestructible polyurethane. The large fill cap allows for easy filling and cleaning. It does not require spare parts or maintenance and has a life span of between 5 -7 years. Using a hippo roller requires no training and the benefits are immediate. It’s made from chemically-inert polystyrene making it safe for water and food storage.
Over the following five years since Luke and Gibsons Rotary launched their international campaign, Luke has actively sought participation from clubs in Rotary Districts 5040, 5060, 5080, and 5550, and grants from those Districts. Over 145 Rotary clubs became involved in fundraising, coordinating, and delivering 1400+ hippo rollers to impoverished women in Southern Africa. In response to the COVID pandemic, he initiated a collaboration of Canadian, American and South African Rotary clubs to join forces and deliver 1000 Survival Garden Kits to assist vulnerable women start vegetable gardens and create food security. 
Working closely with their international partners, the Rotary clubs of Winnipeg and of Hillcrest, South Africa, over 520 rollers and garden kits have been delivered to women in South Africa.