Far North tech gets boost from programme
Kerikeri-based Mid North Family Support was one of three community organisations that ‘graduated’ from the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation’s Change Accelerator programme, with prototypes of their technology-based solutions now ready for further testing with youth.
The projects spanned mental health, goal-setting and domestic violence, each group taking their idea from concept to prototype, or minimum viable product (MVP), during the five-week incubator programme.
Mid North Family Support operations manager Davina Smolders said the Kia Wehikore Witnessing Family Harm app she had been working on enabled health professionals to engage with rangatahi suffering domestic violence.
The interactive game-based app was designed to teach 12 to 14 year olds what they could do when they saw domestic violence, including where to get help.
Ms Smolders is also the director of NalHaven, a Naltrexone Residential Treatment Centre, a mother.
Kia Wehikore is the second app in the organisation’s Keeping Safe series.
Vodafone says the Change Accelerator programme is a key part of its 10-year strategy, aimed at transforming the lives of excluded and disadvantaged young people by ensuring they have access to resources and opportunities. Foundation manager Lani Evans said she believed this year’s participants demonstrated how technology could play a significant role in helping communities uplift their young people.
“We’re proud to have been able to share Vodafone’s technology capability and resources with our Change Accelerator participants over the last five weeks. It’s exciting to see all our participants progress their ideas to a point where they have real potential to drive transformational change for youth in their communities,” she said.
Te Tihi o Ruahine Wha¯nau Ora Alliance Charitable Trust, based in Palmerston North, completed its second iteration of its Te Mauri Moemoea¯ web app, a game for rangatahi, wha¯nau and community to dream together, achieve together, build stronger connections and experience wha¯nau ora (family health).
Anamata Cafe YOSS, based in Taupo¯, completed the first iteration of a youth health assessment, using HEADSS (Home, Education, Activities, Drugs, Sex and sexuality, Safety) framework, highlighting opportunities for youth to have a say about important aspects of their health.
The plan is to develop a youth-friendly digital tool to increase engagement and responsiveness for health professionals.
Each group had undertaken a two-week ‘sprint’ process with 18 volunteers from Vodafone and partners, equating to 1360 hours of volunteer time — time well spent according to foundation chairman Antony Welton.
“We’ve been deeply impressed by the passion and commitment of our Change Accelerator participants,” he said. “Their innovative ideas come from the unique knowledge they have of the issues facing youth in their regions, and, combined with the power of our technology and people throughout the programme, they will return to their communities in an exciting position to drive meaningful social change.”
They could apply for further funding to continue developing their technology.