World of Difference

The Vodafone Foundation World of Difference Programme finds passionate people who want to make a difference in the community, supports them financially and professionally while they work for a NZ youth charity for one year.

Watch Peter’s World of Difference Story


What’s it all about?

The World of Difference Programme launched in November 2002. The Vodafone NZ Foundation finds passionate people who want to make a difference in the community. We support them financially and professionally while they work for a New Zealand charity for one year. The aim is to grow the leadership and capacity of individuals as well as strengthen the organisation’s ability to work in the community both now and in the future – all for the purpose of achieving our vision: to see all young people in Aotearoa engaged in meaningful learning. 73 inspiring individuals have taken part in World of Difference – check out the blogs of our current and past recipients below.

What are we looking for?

There are three important elements to finding the ideal World of Difference recipient – we are looking for the right person, project and organisation. As a high engagement programme, both the recipient and organisation must be committed to engaging with the Foundation through hui, its programme of leadership development and capacity building and other support it provides.

The people – we look for passionate people who have an ambition to make a difference for our youth and the skills to lead a step change.

The project – we want to hear about ambitious and innovative projects that focus on getting more young people (aged 12-24 years) engaged in meaningful learning (see definition below). Projects should have clearly defined outcomes, build the capacity of the organisation (there should be a plan for sustainability of the project following the World of Difference year) and include evaluation. The project must have potential for greater scale (ie. having greater impact). We’re interested in projects where the expertise, capabilities and resources of Vodafone as a communications company can enhance outcomes.

The organisation – the host organisation should embrace the principles of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa including using a strengths-based approach, ensuring young people are involved in decision making, working holistically with young people, basing work on good information (evaluation, research) and enabling young people to make positive connections with their community, family, school, peers and networks. The organisation must be committed to continuous learning.

What does ‘engaged in meaningful learning’ mean?

Our vision is to see all young people in Aotearoa engaged in meaningful learning, thereby enabling young people to reach their full potential.

At the Vodafone NZ Foundation, we want to support young people who are not currently engaged in learning or at risk of not being engaged; in particular those young people who are Y-NEET (youth not in education, employment or training) or at risk of being Y-NEET who have experiences of intergenerational disadvantage (which is more prevalent in Maori and Pacific Island communities).

When we talk about learning we define this broadly and include: engagement in mainstream school, alternative education, other training (eg. tertiary, life skills, work and job readiness), internships, apprenticeships and employment.

We recognise that holistic wellbeing of young people is required for engagement.  Projects might relate directly to learning or target factors that stop young people from learning.

What is capacity building?

Capacity building is about growing and supporting organisations to develop, strengthen and organise their systems, resources (including people) and knowledge; increasing their ability to fulfil their mission. It’s about continuous improvement and forward motion.

Some examples of capacity building are:

  • Growing leadership
  • Planning (eg. strategic, fundraising, marketing)
  • Research and evaluation
  • Reviewing structure and processes (eg. governance, management, financial)
  • System improvement (eg. IT, operational)
  • Piloting of new projects (including evaluating success and areas for improvement)
  • Team training and development

Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

By the end of the World of Difference year, there should be a strategy and evaluation framework in place and a plan for further investment and sustainability.

Application criteria

You must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must be 18 years old or over and a New Zealand citizen or resident.
  • Your organisation must be a New Zealand charity and should embrace the principles of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa.
  • You must have obtained the approval and support of the CEO (or if one does not exist, the Chair) of the organisation before applying.
  • Outcomes must relate to getting Y-NEET or those at risk of becoming Y-NEET engaged in meaningful learning. The cause must be youth-focussed (defined as individuals between 12 to 24 years of age) and the project must focus on capacity building.
  • Your project will begin between the 1st of January and the 31st of March 2015 and you are able to commit to working full-time for 12 months.

Application process

Applications for the 2014 are now closed and will reopen in 2015. To be added to our call for entries database, please email VFNZF@vodafone.com. The application form will be available online when we call for entries next.

Get with the programme

If you’d like updates or more information on the World of Difference programme email us your details so you can be added to our mailing list or check out the Vodafone NZ Foundation Facebook page.

Celebrating 10 years of World of Difference – Evaluation

In 2012, to mark the 10 year anniversary of the World of Difference Programme, the Vodafone Foundation commissioned Point Research to evaluate the programme to better understand the difference this programme is making and to capture some of the rich stories of past recipients

The Evaluation (PDF 52MB)


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World of Difference recipients 2014

These amazing people have been selected to participate in the World of Difference programme in 2014. Find out how they’re making a difference to Kiwi youth.


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