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What's it About

World of Difference Fellowship

The Fellowship is all about growing leaders who wish to broaden their impact on positive change in the youth sector that will ultimately create better opportunities for our most vulnerable young people”

Antony Welton, Chair of Vodafone NZ Foundation

Vodafone NZ Foundation and SYPHANZ goal is to see all young people in Aotearoa reach their full potential – whatever that means to them. Our focus is on supporting the most vulnerable young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are interested in finding new and innovative ways to ensure better outcomes for everyone.

To truly support the most vulnerable young people, the youth sector needs to be robust and adaptive to strengthen organisations, policies and youth work practitioners.  

The Fellowship is a partnership between Vodafone NZ Foundation and SYHPANZ and is all about enhancing youth sector leaders. It is an opportunity for exceptional individuals to develop their skills, understanding and leadership capability.  It is a unique opportunity for Fellows to look at the bigger picture and to focus, not only on what they need to do to influence youth sector change, but on who they need to be in order to succeed.


Are you eligible?

The Fellowship is for…

  • Individuals who have a strong grasp of the issues faced by young people and by the youth sector in Aotearoa New Zealand – people who understand the challenges at a grassroots level, but operate, or would like to operate from a broader, more strategic and systemic platform;
  • People with strong experience, a history of leadership and a clear vision for the future (including former World of Difference recipients), who are leaders in their communities and want to take on the next leadership challenge;
  • Those who are passionate about being part of a movement to improve the youth sector, working on issues that will improve outcomes for vulnerable young people;
  • Individuals who are prepared to invest a year in professional or personal development that will contribute to youth sector capability.

Applicants must:

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of Aotearoa New Zealand;
  • Have significant or extensive experience in the youth sector;
  • Have the backing of an organisation able to provide support and care for the fellowship year.

The Fellowship allows for a myriad options for our leaders. It can be focused on a range of different fields, including:

  • Clinical leadership,
  • Youth work leadership
  • Education and alternative education,
  • Sector reform,
  • Advocacy or
  • Academic leadership.


There are clear priorities linked to what can be funded through the Fellowship. The following will not be funded:

  • PhD or Masters
  • Project or programme-based work
  • Individuals who are new to the youth sector

Additional support

Driving change can be difficult when working hard day-to-day. Building relationships and strengthening networks is made easier via the Fellowship, because past Fellows are actively involved and are keen to share their experience and keep developing their own work. New Fellows will be linked up with others undertaking similar or complimentary work in the youth sector and will be connected to Vodafone employees and SYPHANZ members via mentoring, professional support and volunteering opportunities. 

When & how to apply

Applications are currently closed

Please note that this is a three step process made up of an initial application, phone interview, and final proposal with an interview. To apply for the Fellowship you will need to be available for the key dates in bold below, and be able to work on the Fellowship for one full year.

Time line:

Applications close          TBA                  

Phone interviews           TBA                  

Final proposals due       TBA                  

Panel interviews             TBA                  

Introduction hui              TBA                 

Announcement event    TBA             

Application process

Step one:

Read the criteria to ensure you are eligible, make sure you are available for all key dates and have time to commit to the process.

Apply via the online application form on Vodafone Foundation’s website here before TBA.

Step two:

Staff and a group made up of sector experts and past fellows will shortlist all the applications down to a smaller group of up to ten individuals interviewed by phone. All applicants will be emailed the outcome.

Successful applicants must be available on TBA for a phone call, which will be scheduled. Successful individuals will progress further. All applicants will know the outcome by the end of TBA. References may also be called around this time.

Step three:

Successful applicants will prepare and send in a final proposal by TBA which will be sent to the selection panel. Applicants will present this plan to the panel in person in Auckland on TBA. The panel will be made up of representatives from each of these groups: past Fellows, sector experts, Board and staff team.

All applicants will be informed of the outcome that same day.

Those chosen to be the 2018 Fellows will attend a three-day introductory hui, TBA and will be announced at an event TBA.                                               


Please read all the information provided thoroughly, and email VNZF@vodafone.com if you have any additional questions.

Fellows and their Journey............

Vodafone World of Difference Fellowship 2017 recipients are:

Stace Robertson is a leader within the rainbow community. Stace will be focusing his Fellowship year on developing an accessible web-based, print and multimedia resource which will increase visibility for marginalised and less visible rainbow youth with diverse intersectional experiences of disability, sex, gender, or culture.

Deidre Otene is The General Manager of The Moko Foundation. Deidre Otene's vision for her Fellowship year is that young Māori will have the skills and experience to lead and govern at a local, national and international level and for the youth sector to be made up of sustainable organisations, providing strengths- based solutions to inter-generational issues.


Developed in 2010, the Vodafone NZ Foundation has now supported six World of Difference Fellows looking into rural youth health needs, youth justice, youth governance, youth mentoring, Alternative Education tutoring, and Oral Language Screening tool.

Dr Aniva Lawrence was the recipient of the inaugural 2010 Vodafone Foundation Youth Health Fellowship. She is a Northland GP with a passion for Kiwi youth. Aniva researched the unique health needs of rural youth and undertook a sabbatical to Canada and the United States to explore what has worked internationally.


Dr Vicki Shaw is the second recipient of the Fellowship and is based in Palmerston North. Vicki is a real advocate for young people. Vicki is working in the important area of youth justice, further developing a national working group (focused on best practice) and exploring international approaches.


Bernie Hetaraka In 2012, we were proud to announce Bernie Hetaraka from Ruakaka as our Fellowship recipient for 2013. Bernie researched “What does a youth-friendly services model look like? And how does true youth governance fit in this model” and sharing her findings with the sector.


Dr. Pat Bullen, a University of Auckland lecturer in youth mentoring, has been awarded the Vodafone World of Difference Fellowship 2014. The Vodafone World of Difference Fellowship will give Pat the opportunity to further develop her expertise through examining youth mentoring models overseas and developing strategies and resources to advance the establishment of more community-tertiary partnerships throughout New Zealand. To achieve this, she will also be working closely with the New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network.

Adrian Schoone is passionate about helping young people develop their well-being through engaging in quality education. He has been awarded the 2015 Vodafone World of Difference Fellowship to provide research and leadership to build the capacity of the alternative education workforce. 

Mark Stephenson  2016 

“I plan to develop a screening tool to identify young people within the youth justice system who have oral language difficulties accompanied by an ‘effective oral language practice’ toolkit to assist those who work with young people in this environment.  Together, these tools will assist young people's engagement with processes that can be difficult to understand. Young people  are alienated if they don't grasp what is happening and they are less likely to co-operate with YJ plans - but they feel included when they comprehend and feel that they have a voice. Then "youth justice" can become a phrase associated with positive change."   

To read more about the Fellows click here

Or click on their names to read their blogs and read about their amazing journey/year.

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