Anti-racism at Plan International

Our vision is for an organisation where all individuals in all their diversity, including their racial and ethnic identity, feel safe, respected, included and valued.

Children in Ethiopia hold hands

Plan International’s purpose is to strive for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. This means we are compelled to do all we can to end injustice and to challenge the root causes of discrimination in everything we do. Racial justice and gender justice for girls are inextricably linked and one cannot exist without the other.

Plan International has a zero-tolerance approach to racism and all other forms of discrimination in our work. We have robust policies and procedures to actively tackle racism and other forms of discrimination, including our Code of Conduct and our Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Policy. We have multiple reporting mechanisms, including anonymous channels, to deal with any breaches of our polices. We take allegations of discrimination, harassment and bullying extremely seriously and respond promptly and with sensitivity to complaints.

However, the global calls for action against racism that have been growing ever stronger since the murder of George Floyd in the USA in 2020 have challenged all organisations, including Plan International, and have led us to reflect on our sector and how we ourselves operate.

Confronting the root causes of discrimination means standing with those experiencing racism and speaking up. We want to build a culture of anti-racism and inclusion. Our intent is simple: to foster inclusivity at Plan International and confront racism and discrimination in all its forms.

What is Plan International doing?

In 2020 we began an organisation-wide discussion on what anti-racism means to Plan International and the international development sector generally. This has resulted in a number of actions supporting our efforts to build a fully inclusive and anti-racist culture.
Anti-racism actions so far include:

  • Leadership commitment to focus attention and resources on anti-racism, while continuously learning and reflecting on how to realise our vision on anti-racism.
  • The creation of our Anti-Racism and Equity Council and Regional Task Forces to share insights and experience to inform our anti-racism work and our aim of confronting racism and discrimination in all its forms.
  • Development of dedicated workshops for our staff exploring power, privilege and bias at Plan International and in our sector.
  • A review of the language and images used in our communications, and creation of a glossary for staff of positive, empowering, non-discriminatory language. This will ensure we share stories that align with and support our commitment on anti-racism.
  • A dedicated process to engage staff and people from the communities we serve in decision-making about our global strategy, helping ensure our strategy is inclusive, anti-racist and challenges power and privilege.

Our next steps include:

  • Embedding our Anti-Racism and Equity Vision and Principles (see below) – developed by our Anti-Racism and Equity Council – across our organisation.
  • Strengthening our HR processes and systems, including by reviewing our policies on grievance, harassment, bullying and discrimination, to underpin our effort to build a culture of inclusion and anti-racism.
  • Supporting staff to have conversations about racism and to challenge and address behaviours that don’t align with our anti-racist values by:
  • Increasing staff access to services such as mediation and counselling.
  • Improving our reporting mechanisms.
  • Increasing awareness of different avenues for staff to raise concerns.
  • We will continue to update this page with our progress.

Our Anti-Racism and Equity Vision and Principles

Our vision is for an organisation where all individuals in all their diversity, including their racial and ethnic identity, feel safe, respected, included and valued.


  1. We are committed to creating an anti-racist and anti-discriminatory culture. We have zero tolerance to inaction on reports of racism and any form of discriminatory behaviour.
  2. We are committed, visible, and active in making change happen, both as individuals (particularly leaders) and as part of Plan International. We recognise this requires self-reflection on our thoughts, behaviours and attitudes, and championing of diversity and inclusion through understanding of our power, privilege and bias.
  3. We must mainstream anti-racism and racial justice in the organisation’s relationships, workstreams, interventions, transformation and operational processes and procedures.
  4. We must understand and embrace what intersectionality means and adopt an intersectional approach to addressing racism and discrimination. We will work on driving positive change within the organisation to ensure that people in all their diversity feel safe, respected, included and valued in their engagement with us.
  5. We must work collaboratively across the Plan International network, committing to an action plan that ensures that our relationships, interventions, approaches and practices are built upon our commitment to root out structural racism, inequities, systemic oppression and all other forms of discrimination within our work.
  6. We must redistribute power by reforming our governance, leadership, partnership, human resources, communications, and resource mobilisation structures, processes and strategies.
  7. We must create space, time and systems to encourage open discussions on racism, discrimination and injustices. We will listen to each other, share our experiences, and learn from one another. We will seek to unlearn and address what does not serve our mission interpersonally, institutionally and within the sector.
  8. We must be accountable to our staff by transparently, honestly and periodically sharing the progress we have made on upholding our anti-racism commitments and the lessons we have learned working towards sustainable organisational and cultural change.
  9. We must be transparent and honest in our communications on our positions, efforts, progress and learnings on anti-racism, discrimination and justice. We will be vocal and intentional in driving positive change within the sector.

Find our Vision and Principles in French here and in Spanish here.