Yinka Babalola on ShelterBox and Rotary’s partnership 

ShelterBox trustee and former Rotary International Director Yinka Babalola shares his thoughts on the partnership between ShelterBox and Rotary International.

31 May 2024

Man smiling at camera standing on top of a building

Yinka Babalola served as Rotary International Director on the Joint Partnerships Committee. After acting as RI Director he was asked by Rotary President to serve as Rotary’s representative on the ShelterBox Board of Trustees. Here he shares his thoughts on ShelterBox, and the importance of their partnership with Rotary. 

Rotary International and ShelterBox are partners in disaster relief. Together we have been supporting communities with emergency shelter since ShelterBox began in the year 2000. 

In my role as a trustee, I have learned just how extensively the organisation has evolved and developed. It continuously learns from the communities it serves.  

The evolution has been across the whole organisation as it has become an internationally recognised expert in emergency shelter after disaster. That expertise has led to improvements in the ways of supporting communities after disaster. There have been adaptations to the aid items and the training that ShelterBox provides, their approach to local procurement and prepositioning aid through to the way they seek to work with local partners, Rotary entities and civil societies. 

ShelterBox listens to people facing disasters, conflict and climate crisis. And, working with a combination of Rotary clubs, local partners and civil society, they create innovative and tailored support to meet these complex situations. 

In July I was invited by a Rotary entity in Las Palmas to come and address a Peace Camp they had organised. Every year they bring about 50 young people from around the world together for a seven day Peace Camp. I gave a talk about the causal links between the climate crisis and conflict and the role that ShelterBox is playing in intervention by providing shelter for those displaced by conflict. Additionally, when ShelterBox intervenes in climate related situations we are helping to reduce growing tensions and conflict. I was also able to share with this group of young people the work ShelterBox is doing to help protect the environment. This includes cutting thousands of single use plastics and reducing their carbon footprint in their logistics supply chain. 

There is great alignment between Rotary’s action plan and ShelterBox’s strategic objectives. Through working together, we’re strengthening our response and creating a tangible and positive impact that spans the globe. It is important that Rotary around the world is aware of the evolution of ShelterBox to ensure that we can, through partnership, take action, reach more people and have greater impact.