Review of our exit from Sri Lanka in 2019

19 January 2022

Key findings and actions from the independent review into Plan International’s exit from Sri Lanka in December 2019. By Gunvor Kronman, Chair of the International Board and Members’ Assembly, Plan International

In 2019, Plan International made the difficult decision to close our office in Sri Lanka. As an organisation we are truly sorry to the children, families, communities, staff and volunteers affected by our exit.

During our 38 years of working in the country, we supported more than 500,000 children and their families in five provinces and hundreds of villages, managing projects to support communities improve education, combat violence against children and promote equality. We recognise the hard work of our Plan International Sri Lanka colleagues, and their dedication and passion to creating lasting change for the children and communities we worked with. 

While we believe our decision to stop working in Sri Lanka was the best course of action given our understanding of the circumstances at that time, we acknowledge that we could have done better for the children and communities we worked with. It is our goal to be fully trusted as an organisation, by everyone we work with and for, and we are committed to continuously raising our standards and holding ourselves to account. It is important that we reflect on how we can improve as an organisation. 

Following questions raised in media reports over the summer of 2021, and the surfacing of new information about the departure from Sri Lanka, our International Board commissioned an independent After Action Review (“the review”) to better understand where we fell short and how we can do better in future. Although it is extremely rare that Plan International takes the decision to exit a country, we are determined not to repeat the mistakes made and are committed to embedding the learnings into our organisation. The independent review has provided us with valuable guidance and recommendations. 

We take seriously our responsibilities to the children and communities we serve, and deeply regret any pain or difficulty that may have occurred for all those impacted by our departure. I regard this as a defining moment for Plan International in how we manage in difficult times, and how we improve our work in line with our values to ensure that children are always at the heart of our decision-making.

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