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Kiwi charities use technology to change young people’s lives

12 Sep 2018

Three charities from Taupō, Kerikeri and Palmerston North are on a mission to use technology in ways that will benefit New Zealand’s young people.

They are all part of the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation’s Change Accelerator, which kicked off last week. Until October 5, the teams will tackle issues such as mental health, domestic violence and goal-setting.

The teams are also taking their ideas and using technology to create tools that will improve the lives of youth. The three charities include Anamata Café YOSS, Mid North Family Support, and Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance Charitable Trust.

Anamata Cafe YOSS (based in Taupō):  Is focused on creating a digital, youth-friendly HEADSS (Home, Education, Activities, Drugs (substances), Sex & sexuality, Safety & mental health assessment tool for professionals to use with young people.  Broadly, the HEEADSS framework identifies areas that are going well for the young person as well as areas that pose potential risk.  

Mid North Family Support (based in Kerikeri):  Is exploring development of a domestic violence education app for professionals to use to engage rangatahi, and assist them in developing their own keep safe strategies. 

Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance Charitable Trust (based in Palmerston North):  Is working on the next prototype iteration of their gamified programme for families to collaborate on reaching for personal and whānau-based goals and dreams. 

All three charities will receive funding, mentoring, workshops, expertise from tech and prototype teams, and access to the Vodafone xone Innovation Lab.

According to Vodafone New Zealand Foundation chair Antony Welton, the teams’ passion and commitment towards New Zealand youth is inspiring.

“We believe the combination of their deep knowledge of the issues facing youth, their innovative ideas for solving them, and the power of our technology will drive meaningful social change. Together, we hope to level the playing field for excluded and disadvantaged young people and transform lives.”

The Foundation aims to ensure all Rangatahi have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. 

The Change Accelerator programme is also part of the Vodafone Foundation’s ten-year strategy to halve the number of excluded and disadvantaged young people in Aotearoa.

Each charity receives a grant of $20,000 to cover their expenses during the five-week Change Accelerator programme based at Vodafone’s Christchurch Innov8 centre, and contribute to their organisation’s kaupapa. 

They will also be invited to apply for the Vodafone Foundation’s Innovation Fund at the end of the accelerator.

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