News and Stories - Girls Rights - 17 June 2019

A just world for all children. Equality for girls.

A just world for all children. Equality for girls.

Today, Plan International is setting out a new purpose so that we can focus on the most marginalised group of children: girls.

We need to talk about girls. Loudly. Collectively. As a global community. Because right now, girls are being left behind and we can’t stand up for the rights of every child without acknowledging that society is holding girls back.

Plan International’s global federation, active in more than 70 countries, has collectively signed up to a new purpose statement that will define our priorities and guide all our action for years to come. It will ensure we tackle the root causes of discrimination against girls, exclusion and vulnerability, and champion the rights of all children.

With increased clarity in our vision, we can be bold and focused in what we do. This doesn’t mean that we only work with girls. We are committed to a fairer, safer world for every child. But the global community has now acknowledged that we cannot advance the rights of all children if we don’t address the specific ways that girls are held back. Plan International’s Global CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen recently summed up the urgency of this when she said: “Our purpose confirms that we will work with all children, but in everything we do we will have a particular focus on girls. Nowhere in the world can girls exercise the same rights as boys, and this has to change.”

Girls play game at school in Kisarawe district, Tanzania
Girls play game at school in Kisarawe district, Tanzania

How we got here

As an international organization with 80 years of experience, Plan International has increasingly focused on development programs, research and advocacy to address gender inequality, particularly through our

Because I am a Girl movement.

What we’ve learned through our work across the globe is that you can’t address global poverty without addressing gender inequality as one of its root causes.

This vision is confirmed in the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN in 2015.

Responding to crises

In an increasingly unstable world, disaster response has become a growing part of our work. Our purpose commits us to working with children and their communities to help them prepare for crises and disasters and to respond when they do happen to protect their safety and health. Our work in disasters will focus on the needs of excluded and vulnerable children, in particular girls.

changing policy and practice

Times are changing. Climate change, urbanization, new technology, a growing youth population and growing conflict mean we need to work differently to achieve our vision: a just world for all children, and equality for girls.

To achieve the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will require governments to deliver on their promises. Our new purpose includes greater efforts to influence governments and advocate with and on behalf of children.

“We will use our knowledge of the realities that children face every day to advocate for change on a global scale,” said Albrectsen. “We’ll hold governments to account to make sure no-one is left behind.”

Children play with building blocks at one of Plan's child friendly spaces in Myanmar
Children play with building blocks at one of Plan’s child friendly spaces in Myanmar

You make this possible

We want to take this moment, which is a defining moment for our Plan International community, to say thank you. Your support has forged this path, and with this new direction your impact will be amplified. The programs and communities you already support will continue to make the world fairer for every child, and there will be more and more of opportunities for you to get involved.

This is a moment to be proud of what you’ve built and what we can achieve together – a fair, safe world for every child where girls are recognised as equal, capable and deserving.

Let’s do this.

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