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Vodafone accelerator supporting solutions making a difference for vulnerable youth

20 Sep 2017

The Vodafone Foundation’s newest programme has been unveiled as part of a ten-year strategy to halve the number of disadvantaged young people in Aotearoa. 

Five community organisations from around the country have been selected for the Vodafone Foundation’s inaugural Change Accelerator programme, which will support them to take a technology-based game-changing idea from concept to reality, using technology from the Vodafone xone Innovation lab. 

Antony Welton, Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, chair says, “We are committed to using technology for good, we know that online platforms and apps can create positive social change, and we’re excited to help these amazing community organisations take great ideas and turn them into reality.

“Each of these projects has the power to change the lives of a vast number of young people living in Aotearoa today."

Innovations include an app from the East Cape’s sole primary health provider, Ngati Porou Hauora.

The app will provide Fly-buys style incentives to encourage young parents to regularly engage with health and education services, and childcare support systems.

Taumaranui-based Thrive Trust will explore an original youth-led “Tiny House” building microbusiness incubator that could utilise panelised technology to both employ and house, young people.

It’s a solution the Trust believes would address issues around affordable accommodation, and provide education and employment pathways for young people.

Bay of Plenty’s Sexual Assault Services organisation will develop an app for young people who’ve found themselves in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation.

The app, based on the Easy Rescue App, originally developed by Vodafone Turkey, can immediately send an alert and geo-tagged location message to a trusted network of family and friends.

Auckland based Ngā Rangatahi Toa, an arts-mentoring and transition programme for rangatahi who have been excluded from mainstream education will expand its reach nationwide via online content facilitated video-conferencing sessions to provide interactive education to all.  

And current Vodafone Foundation community partner, Central Otago’s Sticks n Stones, will take its work to stop bullying to the next level, to help young people who are based rurally around New Zealand and feel isolated, connect with their peers.

Sticks n Stones aims to offer everything from distance learning opportunities to youth-led supportive communication networks.  

Welton says technology has a big part to play in levelling the playing field for excluded and disadvantaged young people.

“We’ll provide funding, mentoring, and technology experts to help breathe life into their ideas, and we know our community partners are prepared to roll their sleeves up to make it happen,” Welton adds.

Each of the participating community organisations will receive grants of $15,000 to cover their expenses during the six-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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