Our Theory of Change

Who We Are

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) is an independent academic institution, closely linked to the Lund University. RWI was established in 1984, in Sweden. We operate in seven countries, covering most regions in the world. We work to contribute to a wider understanding of, and respect for, human rights and international humanitarian law.

The Theory of Change informs our strategy for the next years.  This narrative seeks to explain who we are and how we believe that we make change happen.

What We Aim to Achieve

What We Do to Make Change Happen

We combine multi-disciplinary human rights research with education and support to practitioners to advance the practical application of human rights and humanitarian law.

We have a long record of building effective partnerships and extensive experience in promoting human rights worldwide since the late 1980’s.

We work according to our core values: respect, integrity, inclusiveness, and inspiration.

Our vision is ‘just and inclusive societies with effective realisation of human rights for all’.

Our Thematic Areas

We work towards our vision through our four thematic priority areas:

  • Non-Discrimination & Inclusion
  • Access to Justice
  • Human Rights & the Environment
  • Business & Human Rights

For certain areas, such as gender equality, we apply a two-pronged approach of
1) having specialised initiatives on the issue in question and 2) ensuring that the theme is mainstreamed into the work.

How We Make Change Happen

We believe that by supporting practitioners and bringing people together around human rights, on the basis of new knowledge and tools developed and connecting theory and practice, we contribute to lasting human rights change.

We also believe that by connecting the global, regional, national and local levels in our work, it becomes more effectual and synergetic.

Our assumption is that changes in knowledge, skills, attitudes, as well as structures can make laws, decisions, and policies increasingly informed by, and applied in accordance with, human rights and that more organisations and institutions better promote, protect and practise human rights.

For this to happen, we need to ensure that:

  • Our competencies are aligned with the needs that exist
  • We remain a trusted and credible actor
  • Our research and other materials that we produce and disseminate are of high quality and reach the intended audiences
  • We engage with relevant stakeholders in a context-sensitive manner as part of broader institutional change processes
  • Dialogue and similar interaction are organised so as to result in concrete actions

What We Do and How We Do It


  • Conduct and support multi-disciplinary research
  • Provide and support human rights education (academic education and professional training on human rights)
  • Provide advice to support the realisation of human rights
  • Develop and provide methods and tools for human rights work
  • Bring people together around solution-oriented dialogues
  • Communicate and share human rights knowledge

How We Work

Support and Advice

We cooperate with individuals, institutions, organisations, companies and networks to strengthen their capacities to advance the practical application of human rights.


Higher Education

We are dedicated to developing and offering human rights education to prepare decision-makers and future leaders to take on the human rights challenges of today and tomorrow.

Multi-Disciplinary Research

We aim to produce relevant and constructive perspectives on current human rights issues, while at the same time meeting the highest academic standards.



We participate in the human rights discourse and bring together different actors across sectors, countries and region.


What We Do: Some of our Concrete Activities

  • Carry out research on prioritised human rights areas
  • Provide education in academic settings
  • Train professional groups
  • Support building educational structures
  • Support for development of materials, programmes, educational modules and publications
  • Offer advisory services on different aspects on how to carry out human rights work
  • Support for legislative and policy review and development
  • Bringing together policy-makers, experts and CSO’s to engage in solution-oriented dialogue
  • Communicate and share knowledge
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