Forandringsfabrikken (The Change Factory) aims to get young people in justice, schools, hospitals and protection systems to identify system-changing ideas, build consensus around them, and open direct communication with implementing agencies to create real change. In order to allow effective engagement between service users and the state, the programme treats young people as experts (or, as they call them, “Pro’s”), gathering and amplifying their voice, experience and advice to finally reach influential adults. Participants are empowered to act as lobbyists that push for the shifts they suggest, thus teaching public institutions a proven way to listen to them in a respectful way.
Marit Sanner is an Ashoka Fellow (2011). Karl Evang Award, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (2011). Ferd social entrepreneurship (2010).
- Up until 2017, the organisation had carried out projects with 5,000 school children, 1,100 in welfare systems, 500 in mental health institutions, 100 in the justice system and 100 in hospitals.
- As a result, 5 child protection laws have been changed in Norway.
- Amendments to the Child Welfare Law have also been issued, incorporating the idea that the system should meet children with love and collaborate with them.
Based on the idea that the people who know the most about systems are those within them, the model encourages young people aged 8 to 20 to honestly talk about and evaluate their situation. Through visual tools such as film, art projects and photography, the team works with the young people to help them build consensus on central issues about how systems can best help them. Collective answers for policy shift are compiled in small magazines and presented by the children through a dialogue with ministers and high-level officials. Thus, participants assume a professional role; acting as experts about their own lives and needs. The organisation is careful not to select only the most well-behaved and articulate children to present this part of the process and host the meetings without media presence to allow for open dialogue. Participants are engaged in a lobbying role, following up their suggested changes and advocating for their opinions to be heard. The continued monitoring and presence of the children has a powerful effect, beyond the main objective, on their own self-belief and resilience.