Sophie, 23, is campaigning for better sexual health services in Uganda.

"As the world changes, we are proud that we have been able to adapt with it."

Ian Wishart, Chief Executive Officer

Our purpose

We strive for a just world that advances 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

Last year we introduced our new purpose, focusing on a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.

This year, we’ve been taking strides along our roadmap to achieve our global super goal:

1 billion people take action so that 100 million girls lead, learn, decide and thrive.

One year into our new strategy, this is our progress in these key areas.


Australia, the Pacific and Globally

We will continue to work as we have always done, within Plan International’s areas with a focus on Asia and South and East Africa. We’re excited to expand our operations into the Pacific, our nearest neighbours. Soon, we’ll be commencing programming in Australia where we believe we can advance children’s rights and equality for girls based on the wealth of knowledge, capabilities and approaches we’ve developed overseas.

In 2017

  • We scaled up our work with young people in the Pacific by establishing a new program to provide safety for girls in Honiara, Solomon Islands and a Pacific wide consortium program to address disaster risks for young people and communities in five Pacific countries. We also successfully concluded the first phase of our Bougainville Youth Initiative which provided training and support to young Bougainville women leaders, vocational pathways for adolescent girls and boys, and support for young women at risk.
  • In Asia and Africa, we were able to provide sustained support to a million children and adults affected by conflict and disasters in Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Myanmar, and Nepal. This support enabled families to protect and nourish children, and maintain their access to schooling to give them a chance to develop to their potential. In Nepal we were able to rebuild twelve schools damaged by the earthquake and support teachers to provide an inclusive learning environment.
  • In Malawi, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam and Laos our work to promote safe sanitation practices and hygienic environments for children have benefitted half a million children and adults to live healthier lives, and lower the risk of life-threatening disease amongst young children.
  • Our sponsorship funded projects continued to deliver tangible benefits for children in the area of education, water and sanitation, and child protection, in the remote areas of 50 developing countries. This work was complemented by specific grant and donation funded project work funded either from Australia or one of the other Plan International fundraising offices in the federation.

Combining Advocacy and programming

Advocacy has traditionally been seen as something that happens here in Australia directed at our own government, and programming as a practical service that is provided to our communities and projects overseas. We know that if we combine the power of advocacy and programming we can create greater change that tackles both the root causes of poverty and discrimination as well as the systems that hold girls in particular behind.

In 2017

  • We supported our Indonesian colleagues with their Country Strategic Plan and provided advice on advocacy and influence for girls aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • We completed the stakeholder mapping for the Honiara Safer Cities Program and also identified possible areas of advocacy work with girls in the Solomon Islands.
  • We partnered with an existing program in Timor-Leste to design campaign training for young people so they can take up their own issues.

Programs that transform the world for girls

We will develop programming that is transformative for girls and focuses on safety, gender equality and wellbeing. These won’t be ‘girls only’ programs. Boys will be included as part of the solution and will benefit from an equal gender environment that is safe and fair for all children. Still, we can see the barriers that are holding girls back and we need to address them.

In 2017

  • We worked with girls, young women, partners and city governments to provide safe environments for girls in Kampala in Uganda, Hanoi in Vietnam, and Honiara in Solomon Islands. By promoting the voice and participation of girls in these three cities we are enabling them to create the space to influence other aspects of their lives.
  • Our positive parenting programs with mothers and fathers, and respectful relationships and gender equality programs with girls and boys created more supportive environments for girls in Indonesia, Ethiopia, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Papua New Guinea. Girls in participant communities have better opportunities to attend early childhood learning and schooling, benefit from more protective environments, and have expanded opportunities to realise their full potential.
  • We scaled up our work on understanding the specific challenges faced by girls in the countries we work in and initiated more evidential and responsive programs to address the specific vulnerabilities of girls in conflict and disasters, focusing on South Sudan, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Zimbabwe. This work has reinforced our need and commitment to focus our programs, humanitarian and development, on the lived reality and specific challenges faced by girls. As a result of this we are adapting and focusing our programs to address issues such as menstrual hygiene management, protection from the risk of abuse and discrimination, enhanced access to sexual and reproductive health services, and reinforcement of legal rights.

Leading a global movement for girls

Girls are amongst the most excluded, under-privileged and disempowered groups in the world. We believe this needs to change in order to create a fairer world for all children.  We will become a catalyst for change while engaging with young people to help amplify their voices on the issues impacting them. We can’t do it alone. We will engage and work with others to push for change, and we will use the Sustainable Development Goals as a tool to ensure our goals are tracked and achieved.

In 2017

  • We amplified the voices of girls and young women through research into online safety, safety in public spaces and Everyday Sexism and expanded our youth activist leadership training from Melbourne to Sydney.
  • We trialled an online mapping tool, Free to Be to highlight safety concerns of young women in public spaces linked to our work internationally for Safer Cities  in Hanoi, Kampala, Cairo, Delhi and Lima.
  • More than 5,000 people joined us in taking action for girls and vulnerable children.

Monitoring, evaluation and learning.

We are committed to implementing strong Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning across our work. To do this, we developed a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework (MELF) to provide a common understanding on what is relevant and important to monitor in each of our projects and programs. The framework promotes outcomes based monitoring and learning to ensure that our work is aligned with our global, organisational and program strategies and it identifies, captures and makes sense of our progress against these strategies.

Our progress is reviewed annually against key indicators in the MELF. Our inaugural assessment that was conducted from September – November 2017 included: 10 standard one-country end-of-project evaluation reports, two mid-term evaluation reports, two multi-country evaluation reports, four assessment or research documents, three monitoring reports, four assessment tool (field monitoring) documents, one advocacy document and one policy review. This helps us document the change we are achieving with our programs and sets a baseline for years to come.

Each evaluation explored value for money – we view value for money as achieving the right balance between economy, efficiency, effectiveness and equity. This echoes our commitment to improving the lives of the poorest and most marginalised within the communities with which we work.

In the coming years we will share our learnings against this framework so you can see how we’re tracking.

View the framework here.

Adding Value

New value for our private supporters

We value our supporters, and know that building relationships and connecting you with our work through thoughtful, helpful communication will amplify our impact. We want your supporter journey to be a meaningful one, no matter how you choose to support us.

In 2017

  • We commenced communicating the new and exciting global purpose - to advance children’s rights and equality for girls.
  • We re-designed and improved the experience sponsors have in the first few months through greater use of email, videos, SMS and letters.
  • We improved the personal service we provide for major donors giving gifts greater than $5,000.
  • We have increased the assistance we provide to supporters wishing to include Plan International Australia as a beneficiary in their Will.

New innovation for institutional supporters

We will sharpen our focus and technical capacity to program for equality for girls as we strive for stable, sustainable and growing funds from institutional supporters. We will also create powerful partnerships and joint ventures with different organisations with the aim of securing large grants and as a result more sizable and effective programming.

In 2017

  • We worked with the Asia Development Bank to establish a youth employability trust fund to promote opportunities for marginalised young women in a number of Asian countries to access appropriate vocational training programs. This innovative fund will provide assistance to governments and private sector actors to develop and implement contemporary, relevant and accessible programs that enable young women to access decent and sustainable employment.
  • We established a 3D printing project in Solomon Islands that will utilise recycled waste plastic to manufacture components for use in programs to provide clean water systems to remote and at-risk communities.
  • We expanded and developed our Digital Birth Registration program and model to operate in countries and communities with high incidences of unregistered children including those affected by disasters and displacement. Our work in Uganda and Pakistan has registered thousands of children and set a foundation for expansion into other countries and regions.

Value from strategic alliances and partnerships 

Through embracing new and existing alliances and partnerships we have the potential to build our support base, our capabilities and the breadth of our work geographically.

In 2017

  • We have adopted an approach that considers partnerships and alliances as a preferred way of working for greater impact.
  • We formed a new humanitarian consortium for responding to disasters that includes ChildFund, CBM, AVI and Actionaid.
  • We have formed an alliance with ChildFund as preferred partners to be considered in future projects.
  • Our long standing partnership with International Medical Corp continues to help us respond to the Middle East humanitarian crisis.

Exploring new social enterprises 

This is relatively new ground for charities like ours, but there is potential for us to utilise our skills to create new products and business ideas to open us up to new revenue from commercialised sources.

In 2017

  • We have identified capabilities and services that we already have that it might be possible to turn into social enterprises.
  • We have identified partners that are available to help us down the pathway to creating social enterprises.
  • We have set ourselves to take this area of the strategy further in the next financial year.

Communicating Our Excitement

We will embrace and master new media, and engage people through traditional channels with renewed vigour in order to communicate our purpose. We want our communications to be brave, progressive and bold in order to reach more people who are passionate about a just world for children and girls.

In 2017

  • From July 1 2016 to June 30 2017, Plan International was mentioned in 1,191 news reports across TV, radio, online and in magazines. We reached an audience of more than 26 million people. If we’d paid for the same editorial space, it would have cost $11.6 million. 
  • Our share of media among the big Australian non-government organisations doubled to 30% of all of the media coverage of the top 14 agencies combined. Plan International also drastically increased our TV coverage from 14 reports to 54 TV news reports. 
  • We tripled our following on the Because I am a Girl Facebook page after partnering with Facebook for Day of the Girl on a special ‘change your profile picture to support girls’ initiative where every Facebook user around the world was invited to change their profile picture in support of Plan International. Our frame was adopted by 870,000 people worldwide, including Melinda Gates and Sophie Trudeau. 

Leading Digital Experiences

We want to create a leading digital experience to ensure a seamless experience for our supporters, while also improving our fundraising efficiency.

In 2017

  • We developed a three-year digital strategy that will assist us in providing relevant and personalised information and content to all who are part of our work.
  • We commenced re-designing our supporter portal and website for a better mobile and tablet experience.
  • We continued highlighting the stories of the work we are doing together and the impact we are achieving through both written and video content to bring the work closer to you.
  • We continued to improve our digital transactional and communications services to help reduce waste and costs.

The Culture, Curiosity, Capability and Creativity of Our People

Our people are the imaginers and the creators of our future. We will strive to attract and retain innovative and talented people who are passionate about the rights of children and girls.

In 2017

  • Using agile methodologies, learning and testing, we are building capability and collaboration with a mindset for shared success across the business.
  • We commenced work on organisational culture strengthening with the launch of our new Values, supported by a behavioural framework to set the scene and foundation, to work toward our purpose.
  • Organisational re-alignment of three departments has provided greater clarity over roles and responsibilities, to facilitate better accountability and collaboration, to deliver the strategy.
  • We researched powerful new ways of working together, commencing with a review of our working environment with the creation of new spaces to promote creativity and innovation, while supporting our people’s wellbeing.