About us (English)
Forandringsfabrikken = The Change Factory
Forandringsfabrikkens, or The Change Factory’s, philosophy is built on a simple idea: Listening to what (young) people in welfare systems think about what is good help, and what should change for the help to feel good and actually help.
Despite Norway’s welfare system being widely recognised, The Change Factory experience little opportunity for young people’s voice to be heard when placed in institutions such as schools, child care, mental health care and more. Programmes working with children and youth are often adult-led, so that the design and functioning of public policies and institutions do not consider the opinions of those directly affected.
Children and youths’ knowledge is important for welfare systems to work. But many systems does not have good ways to gather this knowledge and use it for development.
The Change Factory aims to get young people to identify system-changing ideas, build consensus around them, and open direct communication between service users and implementing agencies to create real change.
In order to allow effective engagement between young users of services and the state, we treats young people as experts (or, as we call them, Pro’s), gathering and amplifying their knowledge to finally reach influential adults. Children are empowered to act as lobbyists that push for the shifts they suggest. The ultimate goal is to teach public institutions a proven way to listen to children in a respectful way.
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg with one of the Pro's in The Change Factory, May 2015
The Change Factory’s methodology is based on the idea that the people who know the most about problematic systems are those within them, and no one can better identify solutions for development. We use a participatory “change-methodology”, developed by us, based on Participatory Learning and Action, PLA, to encourage young people aged 8 to 20 to honestly talk about and evaluate their situation.
Participants use visual tools such as film, art projects and photography to express their opinions, for example, taking pictures of the best and worst parts about where they live. By using participatory styles of visual media, projects and other tools, participants choose a series of ‘change keys’ and present them to policymakers as collective answers.
The Change Factory team works with the young people to build consensus on central issues about which systems can best help them. These collective answers for policy shift are compiled in small magazines, which are then 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.
We are careful not to select only the most well-behaved and articulate children to present this part of the process, and hosts the meetings mostly 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.
The Change Factory, a nonprofit foundation, is financed through government funding, scholarships and donations from foundations and non-profit organizations.
About The Change Factory on YouTube
Marit Sanner, the leader and co-funder of The Change Factory, explains the work of the factory at an UpSocial event in Barcelona, March 2016. In English.