Connectivity, Connectivity and Engagement: the launch of Social Value Aotearoa

“Connectivity, connectivity and engagement” were the opening words from the Hon. John Tamihere, CEO of sponsor, Te Pou Matakana, at the launch of Social Value Aotearoa. With a host of speakers both local and international we heard the message loud and clear: the time is now to change the way society accounts for value.

In light of the current OECD report, it’s clear that while New Zealand has generally done well economically in recent years, some communities have experienced deteriorating outcomes. Valuing social impact as well as economic outcomes is the way forward to rebalance growth within our communities. Already we are seeing examples in New Zealand of a commitment to broadening the definition for value with NZ Post’s decision to report social outcome as well as financial and the partnership with Bank of NZ and The Salvation Army to offer low and no interest loans to the financially vulnerable.

However, project co-ordinator Jo Nicholson said: “There is currently no New Zealand network where we can collaborate, share knowledge and build a New Zealand context. Social Value Aotearoa will be the New Zealand voice in the global movement to value social outcomes, progressing the conversation from cost to value.”

Our speakers came with inspired rhetoric to an engaged and interested attendance. The highlights were the stories from the people that have benefited from these organisations’ impact measurement journeys:

Founder of Ganbina Australia, Adrian Appo OAM, shared how his SROI journey working with young indigenous to ditch the unemployment benefit destiny, enabled them to move into training and employment, to offer a future.

Matt Halsey and Vanessa Little from Good Shepherd Microfinance talked about the negative impacts of payday lending and the rewards of financial inclusion — breaking cycles of disadvantage. With 43% of their clients coming from a single parent family with dependents and working with 247 community partners across Australia, their outcomes are financially independent and resilient families. Matt who works within a NZ context said: “We know in our hearts what we are achieving but it’s useful to be able to measure that so we can share with others.”

Jo Nicholson and Jacqui Harema shared a story directly from people they work with at multi sector community organization, Te Whanau o Waipareira. A woman and her partner shared on video that the support from TWOW: “Helped us make goals as a whanau (family) growing together, we have a future, we have plans.” Jo talked about how using the 7 principles as guidelines allows them to evaluate and assess what really matters and spoke of the importance of changing the lexicon: “connect and involve vs isolate and assume”

Chair, Awerangi Tamihere remarked: “It’s not often that you see the eyes light up of economists, community organisations and govt sector in the same presentation.” The launch proved that collaboration is paramount to effect that change. We must connect, connect and engage. The next step for Social Value Aotearoa is to continue to share stories from our perspective. We look forward to continuing the conversation at our next networking event with Dawn Baggaley from successful SROI measured, Bikes in Schools programme, in October. We are so grateful to our sponsor of the event, Te Pou Matakana, so that we were able to have the right team on the job and launch this thing.


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