Rising inflation; rising demand: a call to action for Philanthropy

Philanthropy is here to create positive change. So how do we respond when things get hard? Because let’s be clear – right now, things are hard, for whānau, communities, and the organisations that support them.

Inflation is above 7%, the highest level in three decades. Whānau are facing significant jumps in the price of food, petrol and housing. Illness, whether covid, influenza, or just plain exhaustion is disrupting work, schooling, and supply chains. And community organisations, particularly those that provide essential services and support our most vulnerable, are facing significant increases in service demand.

For many community organisations, that increased demand is combined with increased costs in service provision, but no corresponding increase in income. This is placing stress on operating budgets with already tight margins and few reserves to draw on. The impacts are not just from inflationary pressures. Staff retention is also becoming an issue as charities struggle to remain competitive in a jobseeker’s market.

The current situation is not financially sustainable, nor is it sustainable for staff who bear the well-being impacts of consistent under-resourcing.

Philanthropy’s role in the for-purpose ecosystem is to provide resourcing and support. We are in the unique and privileged position of being, for the most part, financially secure. Now is the time for us to engage our generosity. Let’s dig into our reserves, and ensure the organisations we care about survive, thrive and continue to meet the outcomes we are working towards.

Te Rourou is taking action by providing a one-off, untagged support payment to all current community partners. We hope that these funds, the equivalent of 10% of the original grant, will help organisations retain staff, cover increasing costs and meet their goals. And as grant contracts renew, we will be talking to organisations about the true cost of their mahi, and looking for ways that we can provide adequate support – through funds, advocacy, access to networks and volunteer time.

It is vitally important that charities continue to deliver services to communities – and at the moment some of these services hang by a thread. How we choose to respond is up to us. We’re laying down the wero (challenge) – how will your organisation respond to a changing economic environment?

– Lani Evans, Head of Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation

New data shows one in five young people are experiencing exclusion or disadvantage in New Zealand

OHI Data Navigator reveals rangatahi are experiencing exclusion and disadvantage at high rates, and some communities are disproportionately affected.

21 June 2022

This week, Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation has released the 2021 data refresh for the OHI Data Navigator (formerly the Thriving Rangatahi Population Explorer), a free interactive tool that provides insights into the experiences of young people in Aotearoa. The updated data, from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), shows that one in five young people are experiencing exclusion or disadvantage in New Zealand, with some communities that are disproportionately affected.

Ta’ase Vaoga, Rangatahi Insights Lead explains, “We found some changes in government administrative definitions and processes which impacted what the data was telling us. In 2021, we were seeing things getting worse year on year for young people, however, with this data refresh, the numbers seem to be getting better or plateauing.”

“While this is great for our rangatahi, the numbers still highlight a serious problem with 20% of young people in Aotearoa experiencing exclusion and disadvantage.”

The Data Navigator now allows users to drill down one geographical level further than before.

Lani Evans, Head of Te Rourou explains, “We can now see how exclusion and disadvantage is playing out in specific suburbs or rural communities. Insights at a community level will help those working locally to understand the specific experiences of young people and will help local organisations target support where it is most needed.”

Te Rouroru has committed to a long-term investment and partnership with community in Invercargill to address the disproportionate number of young people in the area that are experiencing exclusion and disadvantage.

“We can see from the refreshed data that 23% of young people in Murihiku experience exclusion and disadvantage, this is higher than the national average. But when we drill down deeper, we can see even starker differences, 41% of rangatahi in the southern suburb of Clifton are experiencing exclusion and disadvantage. This is an incredibly valuable insight and will help us target support in this area,” says Lani.

Following the release of the refreshed data Te Rourou will continue analysing the data and will release their annual report later in the year with key insights and areas of interest.

For more information about the OHI Data Navigator data refresh see The data inside the Navigator – OHI Data Navigator


Thriving in Murihiku

Lani Evans, Head of Te Rourou, gives a rundown of insights gained from listening to rangatahi in Invercargill  

Making a meaningful and lasting impact in a community doesn’t start with big ideas, it starts with open ears. That’s why, over the past few months, listening to the voices of rangatahi in Invercargill has been a focus for Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation.  

The Foundation has a vision of a future where all young people have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, a future where all young people can make choices and lead lives they value. The hard work of changing outcomes is starting in Invercargill.  

The reality is 29% of young people in Invercargill experience exclusion and disadvantage, much higher than the national average of 23%. We want to help to change this.  

Understanding the true needs of rangatahi, their aspirations, goals and challenges has been our first priority, and the team is so excited to have completed the research phase and share our Thriving in Murihiku report, which we encourage you to read.

Thriving in Murihiku Report – 2021

The research, created in partnership with Toi Āria, and the support of Innovation Unit and Curative, has involved Whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships with key leaders and communities), Pāporitanga (building shared knowledge in participation with rangatahi), and Kotahitanga (building recommendations in partnerships).  

The word ‘research’ often sounds like something that happens in a lab, but this was all about  personal connection – with a mix of one-on-one interviews and small focus groups, speaking to male, female and transgender rangatahi, from a vast range of ethnic backgrounds. We really appreciate the time everyone took to share their personal stories and help our teams from Vodafone and the Foundation understand what youth in Murihiku really need. 

What we have heard is clear; it’s not just about services, education and accommodation – our rangatahi also want help to strengthen their mana, to have trusted relationships, reliable supports, and increased connection to whakapapa.  

“See our potential, enable us,” one young person says in the report. “This is how we start the shift from surviving to flourishing.” 

The full report sheds light on many of the challenges our youth are facing, how it feels to live in their shoes, and the things that would make a real difference to their lives.  

So where to from here?  

Reading these findings and the voices of lived experiences can be overwhelming at first, revealing a whole host of issues around things like discrimination, education, social support, mental health, self-belief, relationships, and employment, but this research is incredibly powerful. It has created stronger sense of direction and purpose, as well as giving rangatahi a voice and sense of empowerment too. When life is tough and you’re in the thick of it, one of the most uplifting and empowering things is to be supported and listened to. Feeling seen and heard is a gift.  

Thanks to this research, the pathway forward for the Foundation’s work is much clearer, and you can find more detail on all the opportunities in the report.  

“The ultimate component of any strategy for success is to make rangatahi the leader in designing their own future. Keep their voices alive in any future mahi in Invercargill. Make a place for them at the table when formulating ideas and solutions. Involve them at the beginning of the process and honour their role in creating the success they all want for themselves,” said Lani Evans, Head of the Foundation. 

Before, we had a destination. Now, with their voices, we have a compass too. Helping create long-lasting change is where we’re heading. 

Understanding the Alternative Education Workforce

Alternative education plays a vital role in the New Zealand education system, providing educational and pastoral support for young people who have disengaged from mainstream schooling. Despite the importance of the work, Alternative Education practitioners do not receive effective and consistent access to professional learning and development opportunities.

“Understanding the Alternative Education Workforce in Aotearoa/New Zealand” investigates alternative education educators’ experiences of professional learning and development and is part of a broader body of work that aims to understand and make recommendations for improvements that will ultimately benefit our rangatahi.

This paper, published in 2021 and written by the wonderful Judy Bruce, was a collaborative effort between the Alternative Education National Body, Te Rourou and the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust.

–  Lani Evans, Head of Foundation

Understanding the Alternative Education Workforce_report_2021

Vodafone is supporting a brighter future for our Invercargill rangatahi

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 Ngāi 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 whānau 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 whānau 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 vodafonenzfoundation@vodafone.com.