Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2011


This profile was prepared when Marit Sanner was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Marit understands that the people who know the most about problematic systems are those that are victimized by the rigid walls of the very system, and the system-changing solutions come from the people within them. Marit has crafted a methodology to get young people to identify these system-changing ideas, build youth consensus on what they are, and open direct communication between service users and implementing agencies to create real change. Marit is taking a chance to create a new system that allows effective engagement between civil society, especially youth, and the state. By getting influential adults to listen to children, she is placing young people as the experts on the policies that concern them, and gathering and inserting their voice, experience, and advice, into policy that guides the system.

With The ChangeFactory (Forandsringfabrikken), Marit gathers insight from youth under state care—from foster children and the chronically ill to those in the juvenile justice system or on welfare—and packages it. She has designed 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”—the most efficient and common critiques and ideas, and they present them in small magazines to policymakers in dialogues as a collective answer. Following the methodology, compiling, and presenting, Marit creates a corps of “lobbyists” to help push for the shifts they suggest; with success. She is working broadly in Norway and getting a lot of interest internationally. The Ministry of Children and Youth in Norway has asked children to design changes on several levels as a result of Marit’s work, and the Justice Minister has worked with participating kids to design alternatives to jail. Marit’s goal is to teach nations a proven way to genuinely listen to children in a respectful manner.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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