Lani Evans, Head of the Foundation, explains why this new name embodies the vision of an Aotearoa where all rangatahi thrive
Yesterday, as part of our Matariki celebrations, we proudly announced the Vodafone Foundation’s brand new name: Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation.
It’s a beautiful new name, and one that we believe reflects where we are, who we are and who we are striving to be. It’s a name that will help us embody the spirit and the intention of our vision – to create a more equitable Aotearoa for rangatahi.
The first part of our name, Te Rourou, comes from the rourou, a woven basket that is used to store or carry food. The Foundation has chosen to adopt this name as we liken the work we do to providing a resource that ‘nourishes the people’. Te Rourou also refers to a well-known whakataukī (proverb) that speaks of collaboration and shared contribution:
“Näu te rourou, näku te rourou, ka ora te iwi.”
With your food basket and mine, the people will thrive.
Symbolically, by adopting the name Te Rourou, we are drawing parallels to our Mäori development strategy, Whärikihia. The goal of Whärikihia is to weave Vodafone closer to Aotearoa, and the imagery of weaving is synonymous with a whäriki (a tapestry or mat) and rourou (a food basket).
March 28, 2017 Murupara, New Zealand. A woman learns the ancient craft of weaving bracelets from palm leaves at New Zealand’s Lake Aniwhenua.
The second part of our name change shifts us from New Zealand to Aotearoa. There are many reasons for this shift. It celebrates Te Reo Mäori, one of our three official languages and it aligns with where we have moved as Vodafone. But for me, what resonates most strongly, is a statement made by lawyer and activist Tina Ngata, who said that the shift from New Zealand to Aotearoa “…is a healing act of anti-racism, affirming the story that there were people living here before colonisation happens.”
Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation is a name that represents both who we are, and more importantly, who we strive to become. Join us in celebrating this new era in the Foundation’s long history.
In life, not everyone starts on an even playing field. Differences in opportunity, resources, community and upbringing can put us on remarkably different pathways, and in New Zealand, that means that 20% of rangatahi (young people) aged 12-25 are experiencing disadvantage or exclusion, locked out of opportunity by systems and situations they can’t control.
For Invercargill, this number is even higher – 30%. Incredible work is already happening locally to try and address the challenges young people are facing, and the Vodafone Foundation is so excited to join the mission, working together with the community to build a brighter future for these rangatahi and fast track their aspirations.
The Vodafone Foundation has chosen to invest significantly in Invercargill over the next six years, intending to improve areas such as grant funding, digital and network investment, connectivity, employment pathways, connection to culture, and supporting the work of the community – things that will have a phenomenal ripple effect. This will be a collaborative approach, working together with philanthropy, iwi, government, community and business.
The Vodafone Foundation is working to build strong community relationships, deepen our partnership agreement with Ngäi Tahu, and will also take advantage of the 5G rollout that will happen there.
About the Vodafone Foundation
“Vodafone is extraordinary in this space,” says Lani Evans, Head of Foundation and Sustainability.
“We are one of the most generous corporate philanthropic organisations in Aotearoa and we have been building our skills and increasing our contribution over the last 19 years. When it’s possible for us to create better opportunities and a more equitable world for our young people, why would we not do everything we can to make that possible?”
“We have a goal of halving the number of excluded and disadvantaged people in Aoteaora, and it’s possible. Our work in Invercargill is a way of eating the elephant one bite at a time. We want to focus all of our energy, invest in one place and see how much we can really turn up the dial for young people down there. We can then use our learnings and success as a model for scale.”
About our work in Invercargill
To kick-start Vodafone’s project, the Foundation will spend six months immersed in the community, building relationships in the region, listening to local perspectives on what is needed, and gathering insights into the dreams and realities of young people – what they want for themselves, their whänau and their communities, and what obstacles are getting in the way.
“These young people are overburdened and under-resourced. They don’t have access to the resources and opportunities that many of us take for granted, and our current systems and structures are not set up to welcome them and support them to succeed. These are young people who are not being served by the current state of the world,” Lani explains. Her team is passionate and positive about the amazing possibilities that lie ahead.
“It’s not our job to tell people what their lives should look like, it’s our job to listen and support people to live whatever life they envision for themselves and make sure they have the opportunities to do that.”
“The work we’re supporting has the power to not only change the life of a young person, but change the lives of their whänau and their community as well. It means better access to housing, better health, more plentiful resources, and so many more opportunities for themselves and their children. It impacts everything.”
Over the coming months, keep your eyes out for videos about the wonderful work the Foundation is doing to create brighter futures for our rangatahi.
The Foundation wants to hear from you!
Did you grow up in Invercargill, have a personal connection to the place, or know someone who does? The Foundation would love to hear your story and learn about your experience! To share your story, please get in touch with Lani Evans at email@example.com.
Data-driven perspectives to contribute to a more equitable Aotearoa
We are pleased to release Thriving Rangatahi: Data-driven perspectives to contribute to a more equitable Aotearoa. We hope this paper will offer new insights that will help us collectively create a more equitable, thriving society for our tamariki and rangatahi.
To develop this paper, the Vodafone Foundation, in partnership with The Centre for Social Impact, Nicholsons Consulting and Deloitte, conducted an extensive literature review, engaged with community practitioners around Aotearoa and brought together a broad collection of government datasets that paint a picture of young people’s lives around the country. This process has provided us with a clear picture of what is happening now – how advantage and disadvantage is being experienced by tamariki and rangatahi people in different regions. It has also revealed the protective factors that are required for rangatahi to live great lives.
We don’t need to fix our young people. We need to fix the systems that view them through a deficit lens – systems which consistently exclude them from opportunities.
This paper aims to highlight the findings of our work to date and make recommendations that will help us move collectively towards a brighter Aotearoa. Our intention is not to prescribe actions – no one set of actions will get us to the changes we need. Instead, our goal is to influence a multitude of small and large decisions made by government, funders and community members each day; decisions that can collectively lead us to a more equitable and aspirational future.
We urge you to read the paper and reflect on the findings, to engage your sense of urgency, and to consider your role in creating the conditions for change.
Thriving Rangatahi Data-driven Perspectives Report
By Lani Evans, Head of Foundation & Sustainability
By Juliet Jones, Chair of Vodafone Foundation Board
We listened; we united; we sacrificed and we were kind. Against many metrics, you could also say we won. Covid-19 captivated the team of 5 million, joining us against an intangible force, which we hope we will one day overcome.
And when we do, is it possible that “Unite against Covid-19” could become “Unite for our rangatahi”?
One in five young people in Aotearoa experience exclusion and disadvantage. As I write this, close to 180,000 young people will be experiencing material deprivation, struggling to find employment, engage with education, and navigate the justice system and protective services. These young people are over-burdened and under-resourced. The data tells us this year after year. Yet this state of affairs persists and those at the frontline who witness the inequitable effects of Covid-19 know too well that, left as they are, things are likely to worsen.
We are a proud country and we have good reason to be. We are in the top five rankings for the world’s most democratic countries; we have been rated first for handling the pandemic more effectively than any other country; we are one of the least corrupt countries in the world, high in political and press freedom. Yet of the 41 developed countries in the latest Unicef report card we rank a dismal 35th for child and youth wellbeing. Where’s the pride in that?
At the Vodafone Foundation we have a vision of an Aotearoa New Zealand where all young people have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. Our goal is to halve the number of young people experiencing disadvantage and exclusion by 2027. Like many others, we are committed to creating an equitable Aotearoa and a brighter future for our rangatahi. Our mahi involves partnering with community and leveraging the best of digital technology, but we can’t change these entrenched statistics on our own. To be successful the team of 5 million must work together – we must make current levels of inequity culturally unacceptable.
A year ago, some pandemic predictions had 80,000 New Zealanders losing their lives if things had continued without Government intervention. That eventuality wasn’t accepted by us and neither should it have been. But neither should we accept that a large group of our young people live in material deprivation, struggle to find employment, experience racism and suffer from bias in our justice system. I know none of us want that.
As the Prime Minister said in her first lockdown speech on 23 March 2020, “Together we must stop that happening, and we can…. We’re in this together and must unite against Covid-19.” This is not about replicating daily press conferences or contact tracing apps, but about the collective might and the power of a nation when it comes together for a common humanitarian cause.
At the Vodafone Foundation, we will continue our mahi and I look forward to sharing more of that with you soon. In the meantime, does this team of 5 million have it in us?
 Vodafone Foundation Thriving Rangatahi Population Explorer 2020 data
 The Economist’s annual Democracy Index, 2 February 2021
 Lowy Institute, 9 January 2021
 2020 Corruptions Perception Index, Transparency International
 Unicef Report Card, published 3 September 2020
By Lani Evans, Vodafone Foundation and Sustainability Manager
COVID-19 and the rahui o te motu (national lockdown) is hard on us all. The current situation is also exacerbating some of the existing inequalities in Aotearoa. So if, like me, you’re in a position of relative security and privilege, you might be thinking about ways you can help community organisations.
Here are five easy ways you can support.
1. Donate Money: Donate money to an organisation that has a connection to you and your hapori (community). Cash donations allow organisations to set their own priorities – paying staff, keeping their doors open, moving their services online or purchasing the goods and services they need. At the Vodafone Foundation we’ve chosen to prioritise giving to community organisations that we already have a relationship with, and those who are providing essential and critical services to our rangatahi.
2. Spread your Social Capital: Now is a great time to use your social channels for social good. Amplify the voices of community organisations – help to celebrate their wins, help them connect to people and resources they need, and share stories of their work. It’s particularly important to get behind community organisations when they’re advocating for policy changes that will positively impact the most vulnerable members of our communities.
3. Volunteer: Some folks are busier than usual right now, and others have unexpected time on their hands. If you’re in the latter category, think about what unique skills you can contribute to community organisations. This might look like tech support, grant writing, mentoring, risk analysis, or helping organisations pivot to navigate our current reality. Contact intermediary organisations, like your local Volunteer Centre, HelpTank or the Student Volunteer Army. They’ll help connect you to organisations who can make use of your skills, without burdening frontline workers with your very well-intentioned queries.
4. Give blood: Giving blood is an essential service and the blood bank is in need, so if you are willing and able, this is a practical, tangible and (relatively) easy way to contribute.
5. Donate goods: If you’ve got goods to giveaway that’s great! But make sure those items can be of use to organisations right now. With no face-to-face contact and strictly limited distribution channels, community organisations may struggle to pass goods on to the people they work with, so approach with caution.
Finally, connect with the people in your immediate neighbourhood. There is an opportunity to the lockdown to flex your hapori development muscles: put a teddy bear in your window; set up a WhatsApp group for your street; wave enthusiastically as you pass people from a distance, or simply practice being generous with yourself.
Stay safe and kia kaha whanau!
By Lani Evans, Vodafone Foundation and Sustainability Manager
The Vodafone Foundation’s overarching goal is to create an Aotearoa, New Zealand where all young people have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. In times of uncertainty like this, we want to do everything we can to support community organisations on the front line, to provide them with what they need to get on with the mahi.
We’re heard that emergency funding is the most pressing need, so we’re releasing $120,000 in funds immediately to provide untagged, non-contestable donations to 12 of our current community partners.
These partners* provide young people with a wide range of essential services, including access to safe shelter, social connection, medical and mental health support and digital inclusion– and they are all doing remarkable work to help our communities throughout this incredibly challenging time.
We’re pleased to hear responses from these partners that the support is welcomed.
Brook Turner from Vision West explained “COVID-19 has had huge impacts on our most vulnerable. While many of us have stocked our shelves for the lockdown, those trapped by poverty, illness, disability, addictions and mental health have become isolated. Our homeless whanau remain homeless. To support whanau, Vision West in partnership with Vodafone Foundation are doing emergency food deliveries to the most vulnerable. We are also continuing to provide housing support to the homeless. Vodafone remains a steadfast friend for us at this time.”
Tracie Shipton said “VOYCE Whakarongo mai will be working hard to connect young people in foster care and keeping them connected with each other wherever we can, and thank Vodafone for the assistance in making this happen.”
We’re also looking at whether we can offer additional funds to support medium and long-term needs, and working with the Vodafone business to provide essential internet and mobile connectivity services and device donations when and where we can.
In addition, we’re working with Vodafone to look at safe and effective opportunities for staff to volunteer and donate to non-profit organisations, as well as examining avenues to support broader digital inclusion in our vulnerable and disconnected communities.
Our focus is firmly on wrapping around our current community partners and making sure they’re able to continue to serve the needs of young people, support their staff and keep their physical and/or digital doors open during this difficult time.
We’ll get through this together with kindness, generosity and community.
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.
*Vodafone Foundation community partners include:
· Vision West
· Anamata Cafe
· VIBE Hutt Valley
· VOYCE Whakarongo Mai
· Te Ora Hou Otautahi
· Tamaki Community Development
By Linn Araboglos, Manager, Vodafone NZ Foundation
As New Zealand grapples with the impacts of COVID-19 we are aware of the increased pressure this may be having on our community partners on the wellbeing of the rangatahi we serve.
We’re hearing that demand for services has increased as our community partners continue to support our most disadvantaged young people, those who are sleeping rough or don’t have a safe place to go to.
We understand that things are changing quickly, for example, people may need to work remotely, may have reduced staff capacity, fundraising events may be cancelled and community partners may be experiencing other unexpected costs or disruptions. We’ve been thinking about what we can do to support our community partners during these rapidly changing times.
In response, here is what the Vodafone NZ Foundation has been doing as COVID-19 continues to evolve:
- We are checking in with and listening to our community partners to understand their needs right now and exploring additional avenues where we can provide support.
- We are mobilising additional resources for the community partners we work with to support them to continue serving and responding to rangatahi in their community – this includes providing additional and emergency funding for our currently funded community partners to support them with costs and resilience so that they can continue to deliver key services for young people.
- We are making practical changes to the way we support our partners – such as exploring flexible arrangements with current funding, reporting requirements and re-prioritising funds to meet community need.
More broadly, Vodafone New Zealand is offering a COVID-19 Care plan to customers. The plan includes:
- Broadband data certainty. The removal of data caps from data-capped Broadband plans for consumers and small to medium sized businesses until at least the end of June 2020
- Mobile data certainty. Eligible Consumer Pay Monthly mobile customers with data-caps to be actively encouraged towards Endless Data plans (which also include endless texts and minutes to AU and NZ numbers)
- No Covid-19 related disconnections or late fees. Temporary measures to protect customers in financial hardship from Covid-19 over at least the next six months.
- Worry-free remote learning for all. Helping families by zero rating Government guided education and health sites to support responses to Covid-19.
- Ensuring capacity. Vodafone NZ has added extra capacity to fixed, broadband and mobile networks to cope with the extra demand as more people work from home and we will actively monitor network performance
With most – if not all – organisations implementing working from home at mass-scale, here’s some guidance from Vodafone NZ HR Director, Katie Williams, on how to set your organisation up for remote working.
For further support and information on Vodafone’s response to COVID-19, please head to https://www.vodafone.co.nz/covid19
Kia kaha everyone.
Open Letter to Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
26 September 2019
Kei te rangatira, tēnā koe Prime Minister,
New Zealand Driver Licencing System
Studies show that 70,000 – 90,000 young people face major barriers to progressing to a full licence. A driver licence currently holds many functions beyond a licence to drive. It’s a prerequisite to many jobs, independence, a formal means of legal identification, and a positive step to participate in our economy.
Families and children will benefit when the drivers in their lives are able to drive legally, safely and confidently. Communities, especially rural and remote communities, will benefit when more of their people are able to access education opportunities, contribute to the care of their whanau, participate in employment and generally take an active part in the life of the community. All of us will benefit when fewer of our young people are caught up in the criminal justice system and more of our young people are able to drive with confidence, access all the opportunities that come with driving, and contribute to our country through their paid and unpaid work, including family care.
Tangata whenua Māori, those in low socio-economic circumstances, those in isolated rural communities, and those currently in the care of the state, face disproportionate barriers to accessing a driver’s licence and the benefits that come with it. Today, those who the graduated licensing system fails choose to drive regardless, risk social and economic isolation, face large fines and often a journey into the criminal justice system. These failures prompted us to assemble a diverse and passionate group of New Zealanders spanning business, iwi, community, local government, central government, philanthropic and non-government organisations. Together we formed the Driving Change Network.
Our mission is to promote a driver licensing system where licences are recognised for the social and public good they provide. We want New Zealand to be a country where everyone is able to access the benefits of a driver’s licence.
While there are a large number of community programmes addressing these challenges, they struggle to meet demand, are not universal nor coordinated across New Zealand, are often restricted to serving a particular demographic, and are underfunded.
The Driving Change Network believe that with a more coordinated, inclusive and accessible driver licensing system, we can take another step towards a thriving, just and prosperous Aotearoa. At a recent hui, we identified the common challenges, and worked on some practical solutions to close the current gaps.
Given its significance to all New Zealanders, the Driving Change Network would like to meet with you to discuss how we can work together to ensure every New Zealander has the same opportunity to access the benefits of a driver’s licence. Given over 7 different Ministries are funding programmes independently, and 11 Ministries are involved in this system, we believe a cross-agency approach is required.
Ngā mihi nui,
The Driving Change Network
Signatories to this letter:
Blue Light; COMET Auckland; Connecting for Youth Employment; Gareth Parry, Partner, PwC Consulting; Got Drive Community Trust; HMS Trust and their projects Passport 2 Drive and Open Road; J R McKenzie Trust; JustSpeak; Keran Tsering, The Salvation Army Driver Programmes Manager; Lynda Murray, parent; Mayors Taskforce for Jobs; Manakau Urban Māori Authority; Partners Porirua; Philanthropy New Zealand; Taranaki Futures; The Southern Initiative; Todd Foundation; Vodafone New Zealand Foundation
Responses to or enquiries regarding this letter can be addressed to Noa Woolloff (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Open Letter to Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern from the Driving Change Network
The Vodafone Foundation Innovation Fund has been set up to support innovative work that aims to create better outcomes for our most excluded and disadvantaged youth.
We are looking for proven or promising ideas, projects and programmes that align with our strategy, generate outcomes in one or more of our five keys areas, and that utilise technology in their implementation or dissemination.
We thought we’d share a few examples of the projects we’re funding, so potential applicants have a better idea of what we’re looking for.
In our most recent round, in early 2018, we funded the following projects. These are just short descriptions of the projects, for more detail we’d recommend contacting our amazing community partners directly.
At our seed funding level (up to $10,000 to scope out a project, or test it’s feasibility) we’re funding:
- MYRIVR Trust. Building from the success of their MYRIVR app (a free nationwide app that provides a location-based database of community health and social services), we’re funding this awesome team to engage with young people to co-design a potential ‘Youth Voices Portal’ or ‘Virtual Youth Council’.
- Vibe (Hutt based Youth One Stop Shop), in collaboration with Spyre. We’re funding Vibe to conduct a feasibility study of a business model and app that provides a means of support for a young person to achieve their goals by way of reminders, communication with key support people, and an incentives system. The funding will also be used to support the next steps in the development of the Spyre mobile application and website.
- Christchurch Early Intervention Trust. This amazing group are developing an early intervention smart-phone based app to deliver training in managing challenging behaviour in children to parents, teachers, social workers and others. Our funding will be used to develop the first batch of materials; scope the feasibility of delivery by smart phone to parents, teachers and others; and begin to test the market for this service with parents.
At our pilot funding level (up to $50,000 to pilot an innovative idea) we’re funding:
- Maoriland Charitable Trust. We’re providing funding support for the establishment of M.A.T.C.H – The Maoriland Tech Creative Hub at the Maoriland Hub in Otaki. Through M.A.T.C.H, Otaki based rangatahi will have access to mentors, workshops, hackathons, creative challenges and creative free-play in a youth centred space. With a focus on rangatahi Maori, this project will help prepare young people for the future of work.
- Youthline Central South Island. We renewed pilot funding for this group to continue to test and develop a digital mentoring programme. In their programme young skilled mentors connect with disadvantaged and excluded young people through the use of mobile phones and existing smart phone applications. Mentors receive mentoring training to support them in their new digital role, and greater geographic reach is enabled through the programme.
- Tokona te Raki Maori Futures Collective. Tokona te Raki have developed an online data tool using predictive analytics to show where Maori are in the workforce, where jobs will be in the future, and to map the vocational pathways to take rangatahi to the meaningful jobs for the future. This project is to enable a rangatahi co-design process and the digital development of a careers tool based on this data.
- Tāmaki Community Development Trust. The Tamaki Youth Wellbeing Project will see eight ideas, put forward by the community, move into their second testing phase. These eight ideas aim to grow youth wellbeing, and reduce the high numbers of youth suicides in the Tamaki community.
- Rotorua Community Youth Centre. This project will enable customisation of an innovative IT digital platform for connecting and exchanging information between a young person and the agencies and community organisations that are supporting them to achieve their positive goals. The platform will include the development of a common framework to allow youth services and organisations to support rangatahi collectively and consistently.
We have also got a few projects underway at our scale funding level, but this round we are not opening the scale funding for public applications.
We’re really excited to have begun our funding relationship with each of these groups, and look forward to receiving more applications in our upcoming round.
Grants Lead, Vodafone New Zealand Foundation
The Vodafone NZ Foundation today announced their largest ever charitable grant of $700,000. The grant, along with significant wrap-around support, will enable Zeal to scale their programme supporting young people disclosing mental health crises online.
The grant will be used to scale up Zeal’s Online Crisis Intervention programme which will allow them to save more lives.
This is part of the Vodafone Foundation’s commitment to halving the number of excluded and disadvantaged youth by 2027.
Head of the Vodafone NZ Foundation, Lani Evans, says this partnership is even more important at a time when the latest mental health research reveals shocking statistics for Kiwi youth.
“New Zealand’s suicide rate is the worst in the developed world, with the highest number of suicides in the 20-24 year old group . It’s absolutely tragic, and we want to do everything we can to help our rangatahi.
“The latest research shows one in four young people are online almost constantly and often see others post about mental health crises online. In 2016, we began a partnership with Zeal to test an innovative idea that provides support to young people in crisis in a format that is relevant to them. Since the inception of this idea, we’ve provided Zeal with financial support, as well as technical expertise and volunteer time,” said Lani.
Zeal’s solution, which is called Online Crisis Intervention, reaches out to young people in crisis online and provides meaningful, interpersonal support, helping them get to a better place and in some occasions has even saved lives. The partnership also plays an important role in the Vodafone Foundation’s 10 year strategy to use technology to create better outcomes for rangatahi and save lives through innovative, scalable solutions.
General Manager of Zeal and Director of Online Crisis Intervention, Elliot Taylor, explains how the grant will help save more lives.
“The Online Crisis Intervention programme is a global first. Our vision is to get help to every young person in crisis online. Thanks to the Vodafone Foundation’s support, we have the opportunity to turn this dream into a reality and to ensure all young people receive support when and where they need it.
“Our team of volunteers is trained to respond to young people and offer care and support. They are currently live 21 hours a week and have 8 conversations a day. Our aspiration is to provide a 24 hour service and respond to all young people within 5 minutes,” Elliot said.
The team at Zeal and the Vodafone Foundation share the vision to see more young people in New Zealand living lives they value.
The Vodafone Foundation goes beyond funding. It leverages Vodafone’s technology, power, and business support and will also use its global reach to help spread awareness of this programme to positively impact the lives of more young people around the world.
 Statistics from Ministry of Justice