The Story

Recently, a group of us from the Daraja GC, along with two others, participated in the life challenge: a competition where teams have to create a campaign or social enterprise to tackle one of the sustainable development goals. We chose to focus on SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and created the Rollaid project.


One of us who had been on the recent Daraja trip was able to experience first-hand the struggles of obtaining clean water in Kenya. Upon witnessing the mode of transportation and quality of the water that the people were using, we were shocked and decided we needed to do something. We then found out about the Q drum, and it seemed to be the perfect solution, except for the fact that the water still wasn’t clean/drinkable.


Not long after, we heard about the 2017 TGELF Life Challenge and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take this idea one step further. By combining the idea of the original Q drum and the newly discovered nanofiltration technology, we created the Yellow Wheel: a portable, rollable and durable yellow water barrel with a inbuilt filter to transport clean drinking water. The barrel would allow for water to be transported faster and with less strain on the body, while simultaneously filtering water as it rolls.  


This idea seemed great in theory. When we actually began planning the design and the prototype, we realised there were many aspects we had not considered and we encountered several difficulties. Our idea had taken inspiration from previous inventions such as the Q drum and the Hippo Roller, but our value addition was the filter. However, the filter we had originally designed was not feasible. Still, we went ahead with the initial idea and built marketing material around it.

After attending the workshops at Dover and meeting with our mentor, we knew we had a lot more work to do. Aside from our group, there were four other teams working on water-related projects and two of them were designing a purifying system. Our idea was not enough; we needed a more innovative approach, as well as a model and strategy for the project’s financing, promotion and implementation.


Since our members were spread across the four grades, it was quite difficult to find a common time to meet and we encountered a huge obstacle. We had limited time left before the final presentation and almost nothing to show for it.


In our lunchtime meetings, we quickly began planning what our booth would look like, hoping that would improve our final score. We had many products from the Daraja trip, as well as many photos encapsulating our experiences that we intended to use to make the booth more colourful and vibrant. We also had a miniature prototype of the barrel. Surprisingly, we even ended up changing our brand name!


The night before the presentation was a hectic scramble to deliver all our posters and information to the Life Challenge team, for fear that the printer at school wouldn’t work. Our website was almost complete, but we had no financial plan, no campaign strategy and no video. We had very little hope for the day ahead.


Two of us met early at school the next morning, hoping to pull together a cohesive idea. The next five hours after that for me was a complete blur. Both of us mapped out our campaign; possible awareness-raising events; what the booth would look like and redesigned the product, completely changing the filtration system in the span of two hours. The two of us soon grew to three, and with more brains working together, we rapidly set up a page on a kickstarter website as a source of funding.


It was almost noon, so we transferred all our materials down to the main hall, where our small group of three grew to five. Each of us started working on the booth: one went to collect the products from the service office; another drew out the design; a third completed the video (which thankfully did exist); a fourth completed the financial spreadsheet and the last decorated the booth.


The other two arrived in the nick of time, bringing with them two interactive activities to enhance our booth. The last-minute touches were taking place and we had a brilliant idea to decorate our boards with photos from the Daraja trips. As some finished sticking those up, others scribbled out a pitch. The booth finally looked complete. The judges, too, had arrived.


Our presentation went much better than we expected. Even though we did not have a script planned out, each of us knew the component we were responsible for. We were not as unprepared as we thought, as we believed in our idea and were able to use our knowledge and discussions to clearly explain our concepts. The judges looked engaged and were nodding along to our presentation. I think the biggest merit our idea had was the connection we held with our NGO and our ability to direct and measure the impact we would have.


All in all, it was a frenzy to the finish line, but I think I speak for all of us when I say we are proud of what we accomplished.


Next Steps


After this success, we definitely do not want this idea to wither away and we plan to produce a functioning prototype to see the practicality of our idea. We will keep you updated on any further advances in this project. Additionally, please visit Rollaid’s website for more information.


Here is the link to our video