Hippo rollers for Gokwe in Midlands, Zimbabwe, sponsored by Cargill & Chireya Garden Project

Richtersveld Wildrun, De Hoop to Sendelingsdrif, Northern Cape, South Africa on 6th June 2014

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In June 2014, Cargill employee Brendon de Boer ran in a 4-day marathon in The Richtersveld, a desert in north-western South Africa. The marathon entailed running through a rough and dry terrain of both desert and mountains. The purpose was to raise funds to provide a water-stressed community with Hippo Water Rollers, a 90-liter (24 gal) container specifically designed for tough rural conditions, which enables women and children to collect and store more water more easily.

With additional support from Cargill, Brendon managed to raise $10,000 for delivering 63 x Hippo Water Rollers to a rural Zimbabwean community.

Critically Dry Conditions

Not a blade of grass in sight indicates just how tough and dry the living conditions are for these people living near Gokwe – a major cotton producing area of Zimbabwe. This man-made dam is completely dry and so the Chireya nutritional garden project ladies are saving their meager funds to hire equipment to dig the dam deeper in order to sustain vegetable production for longer periods.

Handover ceremony

On 24 October 2014, Grant Gibbs (Executive Director, Hippo Water Roller Project) and members of Cargill’s Social Responsibility team travelled the arduous journey to Gokwe to demonstrate and hand over the Hippo Rollers. The ceremony, facilitated by local community leaders, was held at Frank Chidawa’s homestead, the main champion behind the Chireya Garden Project. After demonstrating the Hippo roller to the ladies who were surprised by its efficiency and ease of use, the community expressed their profound appreciation for the donation of Hippo rollers by people unknown to them towards the enhancement of their welfare and attributed this phenomenon to the exemplary work done by Frank and the garden project women.

Chireya Garden Project

Lead farmer Frank Chidawa, mobilized the women of his Village (mainly spouses of the male members from his cotton production group and other interested women) to start a nutritional Garden Project to resolve health, nutritional and food security issues of their families. The women cleared a one hectare piece of land that was donated to them by their village head and approached Cargill Zimbabwe for assistance in fencing the area to protect the garden crops from livestock such as cattle and goats.


It is always humbling to personally experience the sincere joy and appreciation expressed by beneficiaries of the Hippo Water Roller Project. This simple and appropriate technology resolves an incredible difficulty they endure on a daily basis and brings such relief and hope into their lives. This would not be possible without the support of sponsors such as Brendon de Boer and Cargill.

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Hippo Roller: A Story of Impact

In the remote corners of our rural communities, there are many whose daily lives are marked by challenges most of us could scarcely imagine. Brenda,