Currently, Plan works with more than 17,000 local Civil Society Organisations (CSO) – from children and youth clubs and other community-based organisations over local to national Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
We know that when girls, young people and activists come together to take collective action as civil society, they are better able to demand and influence change, find innovative and practical solutions, hold duty bearers accountable, and defend girls’ rights.
We support this collective action by strengthening the capacity of CSOs and groups; by enlarging the space for activism on children’s rights and equality for girls; and by inspiring and mobilising civil society to take action to ensure vulnerable and excluded children, and particularly girls, can learn, lead, decide and thrive.
We strengthen civil society by seeking improvements in how it is organised, its impact, its values, its enabling environment and the depth of civic engagement. We mobilise civil society through our global campaigns, by catalysing the wider movement for girls’ rights, convening civil society and amplifying civil society voices.
Creating and working with and for social movements is an influencing tactic with the potential to achieve the large-scale change necessary for achieving our ambitious purpose. By leveraging large numbers of individuals, coalitions and influential actors, Plan International can help to drive collective actions that can influence those in power. In the long term, this can shift norms and behaviours to create positive and lasting change far beyond what we could achieve alone.
Examples of our partnerships:
In Guatemala: to help change marriage age legislation
On July 2012, driven and coordinated by Plan International Guatemala, the ‘Roundtable in Favour of Girls’ was established as a body of 13 national and international NGOs including Save the Children, World Vision, Childhope and El Refugio de la Niñez, to advocate for an end to early marriage and sexual violence, and push for quality secondary school education for girls.
The Because I am a Girl movement acted as a platform to make profound and sustainable improvements in the lives of girls and propose the law change. Through the Comision de la Mujer (Commission for Women), October 11th was declared the Day of the Girl Child in Guatemala, helping the government to listen to girls and understand their rights.
Three years of campaigning ensued with local and national partners collaborating on an advocacy strategy with a group of civil society organisations called ‘Mesa en favor de las Niñas y Adolescentes’ - working in favour of girls’ rights.
On 5 November, after 3 years of advocacy efforts, the National Congress of Guatemala approved a law establishing 18 as the minimum age for marriage – both for women and men.
Country Director for Guatemala, Dr Debora Cobar reflects on the change in legislation in her blog: No more girl brides in Guatemala
In Uganda: towards youth economic empowerment
With funding and technical support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Plan International Sweden and Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), A Working Future sought to change the lives of youth by providing them access to financial services, teaching them critical skills, and linking them to employment opportunities.
The programme targeted a total of 12,327 youths, aged 15-25 years old, in the rural Tororo and Kamuli districts in Eastern Uganda.
In Pakistan: bringing child protection and rights to the mainstream
For example, the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) is now a major national CSO which covers 61 districts through 172,526 community organisations. NRSP initially adopted Plan International’s Child Rights and Protection Policy and later on, with the technical support of Plan International Pakistan through it developed its own policy to support marginalised children in rural areas.
Plan International’s WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) offering has also evolved from service delivery to rights-based programming thanks to partnerships with various actors, including government ministries, UN Agencies and multilateral donors (UNICEF, AusAid, UKAID) who have influenced and added to the knowledge base. Plan International Pakistan has scaled up WASH programming in line with our child-centred community development approach. Communities and children have been engaged through formal structures such as community and school levels in the form of village organizations, community organisations and school WASH clubs.