“We Need Social Innovation to Fight Oppression”
This autumn marked the start of the first semester of LiU Changemakers – a collaborative innovation programme by Civil Rights Defenders and Linköping University. Through the programme, students at Linköping University contribute with innovative ideas aiming to increase the protection and efficiency of human rights defenders. “We need social innovation to fight oppression, so that everyone can be protected,” said one of the students in an interview with Civil Rights Defenders.
23-year-old Linda Larsson is one of the students who decided to apply to the programme. She is a political science student at Linköping University, and she believes that social innovation can contribute to changing norms in society.
“We are all so stuck in following norms and doing things the way we always have. Sometimes it can be hard to see that there are different, better, ways of doing things. I believe that innovation can be used to strengthen those who do not benefit from the norms we have today,” said Linda Larsson.
One of the reasons for why Linda Larsson applied to LiU Changemakers is her will to make a difference, at the same time as learning more about social innovation with a clear human rights perspective.
“I have always thought of innovation in the more technological way. What I have learned from this programme is that innovation can also be social innovation. Seeing that there are many groups in society that do not benefit from the norms we have today, like the LGBTI+ community for example, I think that finding innovative solutions is very important. We need social innovation to fight oppression, so that everyone can be protected,” said Linda Larsson.
At the beginning of the semester, Linda and her fellow peers were presented with one main task: to generate ideas, including assessing their potential and possible impact, for the protection and efficiency of human rights defenders.
“That is a challenge,” said Linda Larsson. “I find it frightening that civil space keeps shrinking. Everyone should be equal and be able to have an opinion, even if you do not agree with it. But many people cannot express themselves freely today, and we need to find ways to change that. And I hope that we will come up with at least some solutions”.
The Changemakers programme is open for applications twice a year, once during the spring and once during the autumn. Are you interested in joining the next semester of the programme? Visit LiU Changemakers for more information.
About LiU Changemakers
LiU Changemakers is a four-month programme focusing on innovation and human rights. During one semester at a time, students at Linköping University work with human rights defenders to contribute to making their work safer and more efficient. The programme exists within the framework Right Agenda Accelerator, which is a larger collaboration project between Civil Rights Defenders and Linköping University.
About Right Agenda Accelerator
The Right Agenda Accelerator is Sweden’s first accelerator project for human rights. The innovation project is a cooperation between Civil Rights Defenders and Linköping University. The project has been initiated in a time when respect for democracy and human rights is decreasing in many parts of the world. Funded by Vinnova, the Right Agenda Accelerator is a long-term project for human rights and their defenders.