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Annual review 2016

Our purpose

We strive for a just world that promotes children’s rights and equality for girls

We engage people and partners to:

Empower children, young people and communities to make vital changes that tackle the root causes of discrimination against girls, exclusion and vulnerability

Drive change in practice and policy at local, national and global levels through our reach, experience and knowledge of the realities children face

Work with children and communities to prepare for and respond to crises and to overcome adversity

Support the safe and successful progression of children from birth to adulthood

Download the annual review (PDF) Download the worldwide financial statements


Girl participating in disaster risk management activities in Dominican Republic

This year, Plan International touched the lives of millions of boys and girls.

We turned our Because I am A Girl campaign into a global movement to empower girls to claim their rights.

Working with partners we launched an independent data tracker to ensure governments deliver on promises made through the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

We helped change laws and opinions, from raising the age of marriage in Guatemala to 18, to working with communities in Guinea-Bissau to abandon the practice of female genital mutilation.

And underpinning all of our work in the present was the creation of a new purpose that will define our future:
We strive for a just world that advances children's rights and equality for girls

Our new purpose is inspiring even greater focus and ambition in our work so we can really transform the lives of girls, the world’s most marginalised and excluded group. In future annual reviews, expect to see clear evidence of the changes we are helping to bring about.

Thank you for supporting us and helping children around the world achieve their true potential.

headshot of Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen
CEO Plan International

headshot of Joshua Liswood, Chair of Plan International

Joshua Liswood
Chair, Plan International

Advance equality for girls

#childmothers. Our travelling exhibition documented the issue of very early motherhood across six countries. It is a joint initiative with the United Nations Population Fund.
Photo: Pieter Ten Hoopen

Because I am a girl logo

Launching a new global movement for girls

The Because I am a Girl campaign has evolved into a global movement to ensure girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive. Our new ambition was launched at the Women Deliver conference, one of the largest ever gatherings on girls’ and women’s rights. We pledged to forge new strategic partnerships and initiatives to promote girls voices and visibility, influence major policy outcomes based on their priorities, and drive new commitments and investments in their futures.

Keeping the Global Goals’ promises for girls

The Sustainable Development Goals were officially adopted by 193 world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. Plan International-supported girl advocates at the UN called on world leaders to deliver on gender equality. “My hope for girls is to be as one,” said Nurfahada, 16, from the Philippines. “Even if we come from different countries, I want us to tell the world we need to be listened to about our rights.”

celebrating International Day of the Girl

We marked the International Day of the Girl, 11 October 2015, across the world: ● global landmarks went pink ● girls lobbied national assemblies in Latin America ● central Oslo became a giant classroom ● thousands participated in marches and festivals ● over 1 million viewed our film, You Haven’t Seen the Best of Us Yet. ● “We believe a movement for girls’ rights has taken root,” Plan International CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen told organisations meeting in New York to demonstrate the power of girls.

The Unfinished Business of Girls’ Rights

“Gender equality is the goal that will help abolish poverty, that will create more equal economies, fairer societies and happier men, women and children,” wrote Graça Machel in the 2015 State of the World’s Girls Report. The report brought together 14 prominent voices – including journalist Mariane Pearl, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former US President Jimmy Carter – hailing progress, but highlighting where the struggle against discrimination and injustice must go on.

16-year-old mother & student. Maya has been able to continue her education and take her school leaving exams, supported by our adolescent friendly spaces after the Nepal earthquake.

Empower children, young people and communities to make vital changes

Raising voices. Training in public speaking helps Odelia, 17, from Timor-Leste, to make her voice heard in decisions that affect her, and other young people’s, lives.

Technology improves education access in India

Girls and young women in urban slums are receiving a quality education at 15 digital learning centres supported by Ericsson. The centres use technology to provide courses developed in collaboration with state bodies. “Our partnership with Plan India is providing young women with access to learning within their own communities, thereby overcoming limitations they face on travel,” says Ericsson India’s Manoj Dawane. “This project should benefit around 15,000 young women over three years.”

Communities abandon harmful practices

In Guinea-Bissau we work to increase understanding of the harmful effects of female genital mutilation (FGM). The programme, supported by the European Union and Plan International Ireland, aims to help communities renounce FGM. “Before, we practised FGM for religious reasons, but, thanks to training we are now aware that it is not the prescription of Islam,” explains Mumini Baio, chief of Bidjini, the third community to end the practice in the Gabu region.

€97 million invested in the right to education

€57 million invested in the right to water and sanitation

161,421 trained in gender equality

1,096,066 young people participated in sexuality education

Drive change in practice and policy at local, national and global levels

Philippines acts on child safety. Plan International worked in coalition to develop the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection law and get this new approach to protecting children in emergencies passed by President Aquino.

Measuring progress for girls and women to 2030

“In many countries, the data we need on girls and women doesn’t exist yet, is incomplete or is not being compiled effectively,” says Plan International CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen. We are creating an independent data tracker with partners including the International Women’s Health Coalition, KPMG, ONE Campaign and Women Deliver. The tracker will measure progress for girls and women and help ensure governments deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals’ promises of equality by 2030.

No more child brides in Guatemala

After three years of national campaigning by Plan International and partners, Guatemala announced a minimum marriage age of 18 for men and women. Previously, girls could marry at 14. This new law will help protect thousands of girls. “Our challenge now,” says Plan International Guatemala Country Director Débora Cóbar, “is to widely disseminate the new law – especially in the rural communities where traditions and culture still reinforce these negative practices – and ensure it is enforced.”

€32 million invested in the right to sexual and reproductive health

1,871,695 trained in good water and sanitation practices

220,592 trained in child protection

Work with children and communities to prepare for and respond to crises

Recovering from war. Eight-year-old Hassan and his family fled from Syria after planes shot at their house. He is slowly adjusting to life in Egypt, helped by our recreational programmes for Syrian refugee children.

Cash gets children back to school

Cash transfers are a fast developing tool to help children in emergencies. One scheme in Mali provided cash to support children’s education, reaching 453 vulnerable households. “The cash transfers resulted in increased school enrolment,” says Plan International’s global cash-based programme specialist, Aftab Alam. “This approach enables communities to educate their children without facing a financial burden. It is quick to deliver, stimulates the local economy and helps people engulfed in crisis maintain a level of human dignity.”

New life for former child soldiers

In Central African Republic, which has endured years of civil war, our focus is on education and child protection. With our local partner, we provide vocational training to former child soldiers, alongside literacy courses and psychosocial support to help them reintegrate. “I didn’t think one day I would lay down arms and live my life but now it’s a new start,” says Wilfried, one of over 100 children provided with training.

67 disaster response programmes globally

Child protection in emergencies programmes in 21 countries

€134 million invested in the right to protection and assistance before, during and after emergencies

Support the safe and successful progression of children from birth to adulthood

Skills training to escape the streets.Our project helping girls to leave sex work in Kampala, Uganda, is training Jacqueline, 18, to be an electrician. “I can earn money without suffering,” she says.

Learning to meet financial challenges

The Financial Education for Girls programme in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda is supported by Credit Suisse. In north-east Brazil, more than 3,000 vulnerable young girls will join girls’ clubs; safe spaces where they learn about managing their lives and money. Mariana, 13, says she “changed completely after joining the project” and has begun to “think about what I can do to make money without having to ask anyone, or borrow it”. She is saving to pay for university.

Protect us!

Research in Uganda and Malawi by Plan International Norway found children with disabilities were facing high levels of violence, while girls with disabilities were more likely to report emotional and sexual violence than girls without disabilities. We are using this new research – conducted with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine – to drive governments and organisations to ensure child protection programmes are accessible and inclusive to all children.

256,146 trained in livelihood skills

€91 million invested in the right to a healthy start in life

€52 million invested in the right to economic security

Plan International in 2016

Slide left or right to see our impact in numbers

79 years
building powerful partnerships for children
Active in
71 countries
17.1 million girls
affected by our work
15.5 million boys
affected by our work
Supporters sponsored
1.2 million children
2.8 million people
Global Spend:
€806 million
Global Income:
€810 million

Where we work


2016 financial overview

Annual income and annual spend

2016 spend*

*excluding foreign exchange gains and losses

2016 income sources

2016 programme expenditure by area