Online course

Make Change Happen

Understand how power dynamics, collaboration, opportunity and action can tackle injustice and bring positive change.

Learn what drives positive social change in your role as a changemaker

If we want to make effective and lasting social change, we must understand power dynamics, social systems and how change really happens.

This course will help you to understand the context of your situation, along with your existing sources of power and influence. You’ll be guided by examples of successful international movements and local community action - connecting with other changemakers around the globe.

Ultimately, you’ll finish this course equipped with the skills you need to spot and act upon opportunities - bringing about the change you want to see in your community and the world.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1 - What kind of change are we talking about, understanding change, changemakers and their stories, and different forms of change.

Week 2 - Understanding the context of change, looking at what context is, and the change you would like to see.

Week 3 - Taking a power and systems approach, defining power, the tools for analysing power, and understanding systems.

Week 4 - The power of collective action, working in partnership with others, and what drives a changemaker.

Week 5 - Spheres of influence, understanding influence, and where the power lies.

Week 6 - Developing strong stories for change, influencing strategies, and developing messages.

Week 7 - Taking action to make change happen, strategy and tactics, developing your action plan, and the steps to implement your plan.

Week 8 - Tackling challenges and taking your next steps, reflecting on change, overcoming challenges, and staying inspired and focused.

When would you like to start?

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain key ideas about systems, power and how change happens
  • Explore where the potential for change lies
  • Identify key openings and opportunities to bring about change
  • Apply and understand a broad range of ways to bring about change
  • Contribute, connect and collaborate with other change makers around the globe
  • Develop and increase confidence to organise and lead others to take action for social justice
  • Engage in a personal change action

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at activists and change agents with a personal or professional interest in how change happens, and who want to be more effective at delivering change for good.

Who will you learn with?

Somya Dimri

Somya is a human rights campaigner working on education and social justice at Oxfam India. She represents the Reference Group, drawn from across the Oxfam organisation, who have developed this course.

Richard English

Richard is an advocacy and influencing adviser and trainer for Oxfam and has worked on a range of national and global campaigns. He is part of the development team for this course.

Emily Gillingham

Emily is part of the team at Oxfam that finds new and engaging ways to share knowledge and learning to support the movement of people against poverty, including through the development of this course

Duncan Green

Duncan is Oxfam's Senior Strategic Adviser and a Professor in the Practice of International Development at the London School of Economics. He runs the daily From Poverty to Power blog on development.

Muthoni Maingi

Muthoni is the Head of Digital Campaigns at Oxfam International with a background in telecommunications & digital technology for change in Kenya and across the world.

Oudai Tozan

Oudai supports the Campaigning and Influencing projects at Oxfam, and also is a UNESCO Ambassador who works on community development and education issues in the UK and the Middle East region.

Who developed the course?

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

Oxfam is part of a global movement for change, empowering people to create a future that is secure, just, and free from poverty.

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Join this course


  • Access to this course for 10 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes


  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime