Helping Rangatahi Realize Their Digital Dreams With One Good Kiwi – Stuff.co.nz | Team Cansler

Digital Future Aotearoa strives to equip every child in Aotearoa New Zealand with the digital skills they need to thrive.

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Digital Future Aotearoa strives to equip every child in Aotearoa New Zealand with the digital skills they need to thrive.

Digital literacy is an essential life skill. From internet banking and online shopping to distance learning and staying in touch with loved ones, so many facets of our daily lives require access to the online world.

But as the planet becomes increasingly digitized, some of us are being left behind. In fact, recent research shows that around 1 million New Zealanders don’t have what they need to participate in the digital world, be it technological skills, an internet connection or even a device. That means a million Kiwis are missing out on the opportunity to live more connected lives, not to mention important opportunities to educate themselves and advance their careers.

But one charity, Digital Future Aotearoa, is working hard to change that. Her team strives to equip every child in Aotearoa New Zealand with the digital skills they need to thrive, and funding through a new charitable initiative – One Good Kiwi – is helping them achieve that.

“If you don’t have access to the online world, you’re left behind because you can’t participate in education, business and everyday life,” explains Bronwyn Scott, General Manager of Digital Future Aotearoa.

“Our mission is to increase Aotearoa’s digital capabilities, and we do this by providing Tamariki and Rangatahi with educational opportunities, not only in terms of digital literacy, but also in the evolution from passive consumers to active developers of technology.

“Building a positive relationship with technology from an early age means our children can carry that enthusiasm through life and provide them with more opportunities in the future.”

There are a number of ways Digital Future Aotearoa is helping to fill this skills gap. They run several innovative programs, including Code Club Aotearoa (free weekly sessions to learn how to code for Tamariki) and Digital Kete (an online basket of cool digital resources that boosts learners’ skills in digital technologies). There’s also Recycle a Device, a resource recovery program that not only puts useful devices in the hands of those who need them, but also helps high school students learn in-demand engineering and refurbishment skills.

“We also work in partnership with other like-minded and equal organisations, as we know that for someone to become digitally competent there needs to be motivation, access (to a device and the internet), skill and confidence, and by working together we can ensure that full support is given,” says Scott.

Participating in One Good Kiwi, One New Zealand’s digital charity platform, is a great example. Each month, Vodafone (which will become One New Zealand in early 2023) donates US$100,000 to a selection of Rangatahi-focused charities. All the public has to do is vote (by giving tokens) where the money will be distributed.

One Good Kiwi is a new, fun and innovative way for New Zealanders to give to charity. Recent research by One New Zealand has shown that the biggest barrier to entry for New Zealanders wanting to donate to charity is their own personal finances, unsurprisingly as the cost of living continues to rise. Through One Good Kiwi, users can vote with digital tokens for the charities they believe make the most $100,000 each month – with Vodafone (soon to be One New Zealand) giving $1.2 million to charity each year.

“A few thousand dollars can pay a month’s wages for a charity worker. These donations can make the difference in our ability to offer our services to the community or not,” says Scott. That’s why an initiative like One Good Kiwi is so valuable to organizations like yours.

According to Scott, having the support of large organizations like One New Zealand makes a real difference in the impact Digital Future Aotearoa can have in creating better digital outcomes for New Zealand.

“Thousands of Kiwi kids and Rangatahi have been part of DFA whānau since 2014 and have digital skills that lay a good foundation for success later in life. There is so much potential for our young people. They are innovators, entrepreneurial, creative and love to tell good stories – but you can’t be what you can’t see, especially when you don’t know what’s possible.”

When it comes to the tech sector, those opportunities are almost limitless – we just need organizations like Digital Future Aotearoa and innovative platforms like One Good Kiwi to level the playing field.

Want to show your support for Digital Future Aotearoa but can’t afford to part with your own hard-earned cash? Instead, give some from One NZ when they’re back on the One Good Kiwi app in December.

Find out more at digitalfutureaotearoa.nz and onegoodkiwi.nz

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