Our work with children

We are reaching and changing the lives of more girls and boys under our exciting new program strategy which aims to help all vulnerable and excluded children, particularly girls to Learn, Lead, Decide, Thrive and Survive.

In 2017 we adapted and expanded our programs to better understand and respond to the specific barriers and risks to girls and their development. Across our portfolio we have undertaken more research, consultation and analysis to make sure we hear and respond effectively to the voice of girls and young people. As a result, our programs directly address barriers and promote the agency of girls and young women.


Our 'Learn' programs aim to ensure vulnerable and excluded children, particularly girls, have the education and skills they need to succeed in life and make a decent living. These programs include Inclusive Education and Early Childhood Development, and Youth Economic Empowerment.

2017 Highlights

Education and early childhood

Our education programs aim to break down barriers that prevent children from accessing quality education. Our early childhood development programs ensure girls participate, prepare children for school and future learning and encourage parents to be the champions of their children’s education. 

Where we work: Ethiopia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, Solomon Islands, and Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

Father class meeting at Amol Village Indonesia. Read the full story.


We worked to positively influence governments to support the development of children. In Bangladesh we influenced a framework of inclusion for the government’s Primary Education Development Program, while in Myanmar we supported the National Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Strategic Plan Review and were invited to join the National ECCD Implementation Committee as a result. In Vietnam our activities were replicated in 46 preschools and 46 primary schools in 26 new communes.

Our programs improved access to strong, community-managed early childhood learning, empowering parents to support the healthy development of their children, the transition to formal education as well as inclusive education for marginalised children and those with disabilities. Overall, 59,016 children and parents benefitted. 

Plan International programs improved participation in parenting education in Ethiopia (1,095 parents), Indonesia (over 4,000 parents and caregivers), Myanmar (650 mothers and 79 fathers), Vietnam (918 parents), while in Bangladesh 9,844 parents (6,059 women and 3,785 men) participated in 300 parenting groups.

Youth Economic Empowerment

Our programs help young people build livelihoods by gaining job skills, participating in workplace training, securing employment and even setting up their own businesses.

Where we work: Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, and Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

After taking part in Plan International’s Youth Economic Empowerment program 25-year-old Suhirtha's broom business is growing. Read her story.


Over 11,340 vulnerable young people, including young women, indigenous youth and youth with disabilities, have acquired life skills, soft skills and vocational skills relevant to the needs in the market. As a result, 4,709 young people successfully sought decent work through employment or small enterprises.

We provided improved vocational training by engaging with the private sector and government. We increased demand-driven skills development for young people by working with the private sector on curriculum development, on the job training and job placement. Government engagement increased the capacity of technical vocational education and training providers to meet the demands of the labour market, particularly for young women and young people with disabilities. Strong pathways for sustainable programming through engaging national governments to take up the inclusive program models were also established. Vulnerable young people, including indigenous youth and youth with disabilities were engaged in meaningful civic service leadership opportunities.

We also used digital tools to enhance innovative approaches in monitoring, learning and evaluation and extended the reach of our programs through e-learning.


Our 'Lead' programs aim to ensure vulnerable and excluded children, particularly girls, have the power to take action on issues hat matter to them and shape the decisions that affect their lives. These programs include Child Centred Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, and women’s leadership and gender equality focused programs like Safer Cities for Girls.


Our 'Decide' programs aim to ensure vulnerable and excluded children, particularly girls, have control over their lives, their bodies and their futures, and make informed choices about identity and relationships, and if and when to have children. These programs include life skills and identity focused programs, young women’s leadership, integrated sexual and reproductive rights and maternal and child health activities.


Our 'Thrive' programs aim to ensure vulnerable and excluded children, particularly girls, grow up equally healthy, valued and cared for, free from discrimination, fear or violence. These programs aim to reduce gender-based violence, promote positive parenting, address child protection, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Our WASH projects are designed to support and empower children and their families to take the lead in staying healthy by learning and using good hygiene practices like hand-washing, using a toilet and brushing their teeth. Our WASH programs are focusing on how to promote gender equality and address specific challenges and barriers for girls.

Where we work: Indonesia, Laos, Malawi, Pakistan, Solomon Islands, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Deakin University's passionate staff are working to develop and test creative new 3D printing technology to support our WASH programming. Read the full story.


We were able to support the delivery of more services across the countries where we work. In Indonesia the Deputy Governor for Spatial Planning and Environment of Jakarta Province has endorsed the project as a model, encouraged provincial units to explore replication, and requested the Jakarta Development Planning Agency allocate budget to replicate the program. At a local level we trained almost 950 members of more than 145 village WASH management committees in Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Solomon Islands and Zimbabwe.

Our programs increased access to services and encouraged changed behaviour. In Zimbabwe almost 2,000 people have access to an improved water supply as a result of the installation or rehabilitation of seven hand pumps, while in Laos there are over 27,000 users of new latrines. Over 11,000 people have a greater understanding of safe hygiene practices as a result of mass campaigns, house-to-house visits, Community Led Total Sanitation activities and school-based health sessions. These include more than 6,800 community members in Laos and over 2,700 villagers in the Solomon Islands.

We are working with private sector enterprises to supply WASH related materials and services over a range of projects. These include training local pump mechanics and builders to establish small businesses in Zimbabwe; consulting with current providers of WASH services and materials to inform technology selection in Laos and Indonesia and to co-develop low-cost technical options for sanitation in Laos; and working with established private enterprises to install hand pumps and urban sanitation systems, tapping into existing market capacities to deliver services in Zimbabwe and Indonesia.


Our ‘Survive’ programs aim to ensure children and youth grow up in resilient communities and realise their rights to live with dignity and protection, before, during and after disasters and conflicts. These programs include Food and Livelihoods Security, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management.

Food assistance

Our food projects enable children to access nutritious food. We work with communities to improve their harvest quality, farming methods and resilience to food crises and we provide immediate food assistance to those who have experienced conflict or disaster.

Where we work: Cambodia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Myanmar.

With Plan International’s support 21-year-old Rose has received seeds and tools for harvest after being displaced by the conflict in South Sudan. Read the full story.


In 2017, our food and livelihoods programs provided a combination of emergency and targeted assistance to close to a million children and adults across five countries. The programs address not just food insecurity but nutrition, livelihoods recovery, saving lives in times of crisis, resilience building, climate change adaption, child protection, women’s empowerment and disability inclusion.

Climate change and disasters

Our Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) programs work with children, communities and governments to raise awareness of disasters and climate change; train children, youth and communities on risk assessment and action planning; and support and facilitate DRR and management process in communities.

Where we work: Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu

Fly Harbour Champions of climate change are raising climate change awareness amongst their communities. Read the full story.


The program has strengthened Plan International's previous achievements in working with government and stakeholders to manage disasters and the impact of climate change. 

This year's program focused on sustainability, partnership and innovation – engaging more closely with disaster management authorities and exploring partnerships with private organisations as well as supporting and facilitating disaster management systems and capacity to institutionalise resilience processes. More than 116 communities and schools have organised risk assessments and developed or strengthened DRR and CCA action plans and now have improved disaster risk management systems and more than 77 small-scale risk mitigation activities have been implemented.

Through continuous engagement, training and support, children and youth in project areas are now assuming leadership roles in community risk management and becoming a part of the government's response. Through these programs over 41,097 children and adults have increased awareness of disaster risks and the impacts of climate change, and are able to plan and develop local solutions to address them.

< Keep reading our 2017 Annual Report