ShelterBox Empowering Response Teams to Lead In a Disasters Innovation in the Non-Profit Sector
Home is a place we can rely on for comfort. Much more than an address, our house acts as the headquarters to all activities that make up our personal lives. In most of the world the home provides security from the outside world, enjoyment, and a place that calls for our constant care and attention. It demonstrates to society that the residents are plugged into the community and its services. Unfortunately this essential part of life can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Every year significant natural disasters destroy entire communities within seconds, leaving thousands of people stranded in their own town without safety, shelter, or clean water. The ShelterBox Mission Helping provide shelter and life saving equipment for survivors of natural and manmade disasters is the sole purpose of ShelterBox. For over 10 years they have orchestrated a global effort that involves hundreds of volunteers with the mission to deliver “emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide”. This non-profit organization recruits and trains hundreds of proactive volunteers from all parts of the world. In March 2011 Shelterbox deployed 200 green boxes to the victims of the Bolivia Floods helping over 2,000 people. In the photo A camp of ShelterBox Core Values tents. Photo from shelterbox.org Helping Others Giving ShelterShelterBox,, MBD Business Innovation 2011 Project by Sandra Magana What is in the ShelterBox? Providing Comfort The iconic “ShelterBox” is a green plastic chest weighing Giving Safety approximately 50 kg that is waterproof and durable and can be carried Clean Water by hand. The boxes have been carried by people wading through water, A dry home on boats, personal vehicles, and even by camels. Each box contains Relief from distress essential supplies needed to create a temporary, comfortable, safe home. The contents are essential home and safety items for people who have lost everything. The items will vary slightly by region but one box can provide 10 people with necessary supplies. In The Box o Custom tents that sleeps up to 10 persons o Serving Dishes o Portable Stove o Building Tool Set o Water purification system o Mosquito Nets o Children’s activity pack / play kit o Blankets A look inside the box. Photo from shelterbox.org o First aid kit 1
The delivery of the ShelterBoxes would not be possible without the group of volunteers known as the ShelterBox Response Team or SRT. Not everyone can bear the challenges of navigating through rugged areas where infrastructure is damaged and human suffering is prevalent. For these reasons the organization has adopted a simple yet rigorous screening process that allows only the most resourceful, hard working leaders to fulfill the mission of ShelterBox. Volunteers responding to a disaster need to figure out on the spot how to get the supplies to victims quickly. This is why creativity and innovative thinking are important qualities for response teams. Additionally Shelterbox Scout Experience May 2011. Photo from shelterbox.org SRT’s are given the autonomy necessary to go out into the field and create a new delivery strategy that is unique to each situation. “Keep it Simple, Do It Now” the SRT moto SRT’s learn about disasters by monitoring media outlets around “Innovation does not always have the world and within their surrounding areas. Once a member is to be linked with technology. Encouraging autonomy and made aware of the disaster they begin to assess whether the event flexibility to first response teams requires the deployment of ShelterBoxes to help the victims. in a disaster is what makes Once the decision is made to send help, one of the 6 ShelterBox Innovative” prepositioned ShelterBox warehouses worldwide willShelterBox, MBD, Business Innovation 2011 Project by Sandra Magana release their supplies to SRT’s who will travel with the boxes and deliver them to the victims directly. Creating Networks When it comes to delivering the much needed supplies to victims, efficiency and the creative use of resources outside of the ShelterBox organization is key. A part of the SRT’s job while in a disaster area is to invent ways of delivering boxes to their destination. For example on a recent Haiti Earthquake relief mission SRT’s teamed up with the 80 second airborne of the U.S. military to deliver ShelterBoxes to thousands of victims. Another SRT may need to build a relationship with a local tribal leader in order to deliver In August 2005 a Category 1 Hurricane devastated parts of New Orleans relief supplies to the tribe. Louisiana. Shelterbox deployed and deliver 1,320 boxes helping over 13,200 disaster victims obtain temporary shelter and supplies. In 2010 Virgin Atlantic Airlines flew aid into Haiti in support of ShelterBox’s efforts in the country. Members of stricken communities have helped efforts by transporting the boxes using their own boats, animals, rickshaws, and trucks. Building connections with local authorities and aid organizations is crucial to the success of every mission. Giving ground volunteers the freedom to 2 make new connects is a sustainable core value that encourages success.
Sources of Funding ShelterBox depends on donations from businesses, schools, rotary clubs, and individuals to sponsor every ShelterBox. Each green box comes with a unique ID number that can be tracked on the website so donors know where the box is being delivered. People can visit shelterbox.org and start their own “Justgiving” charity fundraising webpage. Additionally the organization hosts fundraising challenges that can inspire people to participate in a fun and creative way like the “The Splinter Bike Challenge”. An important contributor to ShelterBox success is its parent organization, the International Rotary Club. A nonprofit organization with 1.2 million members worldwide and a commitment “to Service Above Self”. Started in 1905 by a group of visionary men in Chicago, Illinois, it has become an important international advocacy group supporting today’s most pressing global causes. ShelterBox USA is currently the largest Rotary Club Project in the USA. November 2010 ShelterBox deployed 700 green boxes to the victims of the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami helping Over 107,400 ShelterBoxes have been deployed since 7,700 people. Photo of a family inside one of the ShelterBox the charity was started by Tom Henderson in 2000. tents. Photo from shelterbox.org This means approximately 1,074,000 people’s lives have been touched by the Organization’s efforts.ShelterBox,, MBD Business Innovation 2011 Project by Sandra Magana ShelterBox currently has 18 affiliates worldwide including A need was met by ShelterBox USA. The organization has managed to develop a system ShelterBox: Find a simple of recruiting, training, and deploying volunteers in a manner simple way to get emergency enough for its leaders to execute in any part of the world under extreme conditions. Much of the operational success has been the temporary homes to result of giving ground volunteers the freedom to react to their victims in need of disaster current situation without having to follow a strict manual for relief. directions. The design, size and weight of the ShelterBox has also allowed aid to arrive to even the most remote areas. ShelterBox has distinguished itself as the only charity organization to offer both shelter and supplies. Through the ShelterBox kids training, disaster awareness programs hosted by grade school teachers and, by teaming up with the Scouts Organization, the next generation of strong volunteers will emerge. The core value to “ deliver emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide” is sustainable and is meant to overcome new challenges that will come in the way of the Shelter Box Response Teams. Resources: ShelterBox USA, www.shelterboxusa.org The Rotary Club, www.rotary.org Personal Phone Interview with Emily Sperling, President ShelterBox USA, Monday June 27, 2011. Presenter: email@example.com 3