Meet our Nordic Fellow Marit Sanner
Marit is the founder of Forandsringfabrikken or “The ChangeFactory”. Forandsringfabrikken is a new system that allows effective engagement between civil society, especially youth, and the state.
Her Changemaker journey
Trained as an anthropologist, Marit was fascinated by “letting others describe their own reality.” Since her childhood, she understood the failures of participatory learning and began the apprenticeship that would lead her to found Forandsringfabrikken. Inspired by Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, she worked in institutions with young people, creating a string of kid’s clubs that allowed young people to have a voice and a strong apprenticeship period.
Working with Save the Children, Marit began implementing some of her ideas that would eventually become Forandsringfabrikken. In working on their efforts around the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, she realized there was little attention to the work addressed Article 12, the clause that concerns listening to children. Adopting a confrontational attitude, which she later left behind, Marit challenged Save the Children on the strength of their values-thinking and genuine focus.
Hired by the Norwegian Ombudsman to do a UN report on children, Marit crafted a strategy that reported entirely from the child perspective, drawing insights from young people and a year later followed up on the progress of proposed changes.
Realizing the power of her idea, the influential tool of a non-confrontational and inspiring approach, Marit left her job and started The Forandsringfabrikken – The ChangeFactory.
With Forandsringfabrikken, Marit gathers insight from youth under state care and packages it. Marit does so by designing a methodology that approaches kids as professionals, using participatory styles of visuals, projects and engaging tools to allow kids to voice their opinions.
From their perspectives, they choose the “change keys” or most efficient and common critiques and ideas, and they present them in small magazines to policymakers in dialogues as a collective answer.
Marit is driving a strategy that includes youth in making system-changing decisions, which affirms problem-solving processes.
Marit began to adapt participatory methodologies to make it engaging and attractive for young people to tell the truth about their situation. With Marit’s methods, young participants learned that people would listen to them without punishing them for their honesty. From this methodology, Marit and her team work with young people, from the ages of eight to twenty, to build consensus on central themes and recurring points about how systems can help them best.
Following, compiling, and presenting the methodology, Marit creates a corps of “lobbyists” to help push for the shifts they suggest, with success.
By getting influential adults to listen to children, Marit is placing young people as the experts on the policies that concern them, as well as gathering and inserting their voice, experience and advice into policy that guides the system.