What is Changemaker?

Changemaker is an international non-governmental youth movement that was initiated by Norwegian Church Aid in Norway in 1992.  Since then the Changemaker movement has spread to other countries, and now Changemaker operates in some capacity in Norway, Finland, Iceland, Hungary, Kenya and Pakistan.

Changemaker operates in diffrent ways in different places, but every Changemaker movement works with the same basic principles,  which were set in the international guidelines of Changemaker. Changemaker aims to attack the fundamental causes of the unequal distribution of resources between rich northern countries and the poor South. One of our mottos is that knowledge without action is cowardice. But action without knowledge is stupidity. Therefore, we try to focus on the connections within the North – South relationship, some of which are extremely complex. We must seek out knowledge in order to know where to make changes. Only once we know both about where injustice exists, and which aspects we would like to change, can we go to action.

Changemaker Iceland was founded in the fall of 2006, and is the youth movement of the Icelandic Church Aid.  Our work the first years was mainly promiting Fairtrade, at local grocery shops, churches and schools. In 2009 we held a campaign under the slogan: “Global Warming is a Human Rights issue”. We pointed out that Global Warming is mainly caused by Western countries, while the people who most suffer from it’s effects live in poor countries. People that must abandon their homes because of droughts, desertification, flooding, disruption of seasonal weather or other effects of climate change don’t have any defined rights in the worlds administration, even though it’s a serious and growing people. We asked Icelandic authorities to have the term Climate Refugee defined and to address the problem with a mindset for solutions.

A big part of the Changemaker mindset is to use positive methods to achieve results. We want to work with people, not against them. We want to change the world and have fun while we’re at it. When we’re campaigning for an issue we find it a good way to get attention to put up a stunt which illustrates in a clever way the problem we’re raising awareness for.  When we were working with the issue of climate refugees, we put up a children’s swimming pool in Central Reykjavík, and dressed it up like what a home in Bangladesh could look like – flooding. This prompted people to ask us what we were doing, and we then told people about the problem and got them to sign our petition.

A "typical home" in Bangladesh

We welcome young people to participate in our work, regardless of race, religion, sexuality e.t.c. Contact us at changemaker@changemaker.is