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What We Do

Young girl smiling in front of blackboard Young girl smiling in front of blackboard

Plan International's work to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty is based around eight core areas.

Education

Learning is crucial for development and is one of the most powerful tools in breaking the cycle of poverty and beginning a cycle of progress. Plan International invests more in education than any other program area. We work to ensure children, their families and communities get the knowledge and life skills they need to realize their full potential.

We promote safe learning environments and equal access to quality education for all children – from early learning to secondary education. We work with teachers, communities and partners to ensure young people are actively involved in school governance. In 2015 alone, more than 112,480 education workers around the globe received training through our programs.

Health

Plan International helps communities build clinics, train health care workers and invest in equipment and medicine so children can survive and grow up healthy and strong. We are committed to working with children, communities and partners to ensure children’s right to a healthy start in life.

We work with skilled health care providers to monitor the nutrition and diet of children to prevent malnutrition and promote a healthy lifestyle at home and at school. With a strong focus on maternal and reproductive health for women and girls, we help to ensure the health of mothers and their children during the crucial stages before, during and after childbirth.

Girls wash their hands

Water and Sanitation

Access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene is critical for the survival, development and well-being of children. Plan International works with communities to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitary facilities year-round and during emergencies. We engage with communities to develop solutions to local problems, including waste management.

Every year, we help communities build thousands of gender-friendly school latrines, which helps promote quality sanitation and hygiene practices early. In the last three years, we have helped families and communities build an average 100,000 toilets per year, benefiting several million people.

We also build water points in communities and schools, and establish community-based organizations to ensure the ongoing management and maintenance of water points.

Children play together in Nyarugusu camp

Protection

Violence against children has a devastating impact – threatening children's survival, development and participation in society. A fundamental breach of their human rights, violence against children is unfortunately widespread. Child protection is central to everything we do We deliver targeted programs to address specific protection issues, like child trafficking, corporal punishment in schools, female genital cutting and child marriage.

Working with children, parents, schools and communities, we ensure the rights of children are established, and get children participating in child protection initiatives. These initiatives allow children to protect themselves from violence and exploitation . We also work with a range of other stakeholders at local, national and international levels to influence policies and help children reach their full potential.

Nilima sewing a dress to earn enough money to continue her education

Economic security

Millions of people struggle to meet their most basic daily needs, leaving them extremely vulnerable to economic shocks or disasters. Children are often the first to feel the effects, being forced to go hungry or leave school to earn an income for their family.

Plan International works with children, their families and communities to overcome poverty through sustainable solutions for building income sources and assets, helping them become more resilient and better able to cope in times of economic difficulty.

Girls from Mangochi district in their flooded village

Emergencies

When disaster strikes, Plan International mobilizes people and resources quickly, to ensure the immediate and long-term needs of affected children and their families are met. From providing urgent relief to running recovery projects, we work to protect the rights of children and young people at every stage of our emergency response. Preparation can make all the difference when the worst happens.

Plan International works with children, their families and communities to identify disaster risks and strengthen their resilience. We ensure that children have a significant voice in disaster response decisions We also work with various partners to help prevent future emergencies and reduce their impact. In all of this, child protection is paramount. We prioritize providing children with safe spaces, education and emotional support as part of our immediate disaster response.

Nilima sewing a dress to earn enough money to continue her education

Child participation

Children have the right to take part in decisions that affect their lives, but all too often their involvement is limited. Plan International supports children by allowing them to exercise their rights as citizens, to express their views and participate as active members of their communities. This helps ensure they live move secure and fulfilling lives.

From helping children to speak out on domestic violence, to supporting youth delegates at international conferences, we help children learn their rights, express their views and influence decision-makers.

HIV health worker from Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) clinic

Sexual health, including HIV

Teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases affect millions of children and youth, and too often, it’s because they are denied the right to protect themselves. Plan International's awareness-raising and direct response programs help empower children and young people to realize their rights and achieve their full potential.

We work with children, youth, our partners and communities to support quality reproductive sexual health education. We also provide services in prevention, care and support for those living with HIV and AIDS, and work to challenge beliefs and attitudes that maintain unequal power relations between sexes.