Plan International is deeply saddened to announce that it has shut down operations in Pakistan after more than 2 decades of development work in the country, following the Government of Pakistan's orders.
Through a letter issued on 2 October 2018, the Ministry of Interior instructed Plan International to wind up operations in the country within 60 days. The letter was in response to an appeal filed by the organisation in December 2017 after its registration application was turned down by the government. No reason was provided for the rejection.
We understand that several other international NGOs in Pakistan have also been asked to shut down their operations in the country.
Impact on children
We are extremely concerned about the impact this will have on communities, particularly hundreds of thousands of children, that Plan International supported through its development work. We are also very sad about the impact the decision has had on our own staff – who are all Pakistani nationals.
Plan International started operations in Pakistan in 1997 and was supporting over 1.6 million children across the country through its various programmes. At the time of closure, the organisation had over 25,000 sponsored children in the country and an operating budget of more than €8.3 million with 202 full-time staff.
During more than 2 decades of operations in Pakistan, Plan International invested €160 million in its work which directly benefitted 26 million people in over 29,000 communities.
Our key achievements in Pakistan have been:
- Providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services. Because of our work in this area 9 million people now live in open defecation free communities.
- Responding to the needs of children during disasters, including the establishment of 16,000 emergency camps.
- Supporting 1.9 million children to get birth certificates.
- Ensuring equal access to quality education for all children. This included rehabilitating 964 schools and training over 4,200 teachers.
- Supporting young people to learn key skills and get good jobs. As part of this work we provided over 4,000 young people with vocational training and over 3,000 with microfinance resources.
- Training nearly 2,000 community health workers as part of our programmes to improve children’s health.
The government directive says that Plan International can reapply for registration with a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) after 6 months. The details on the process and the time it will take are currently unavailable.
Plan international will continue to take a keen interest in Pakistan – particularly on development issues that affect marginalised populations. We remain optimistic about our return to the country one day, so we can restart our work with vulnerable children, especially girls.