Girls take the lead during the Covid-19 crisis

As a global community, we spent the past year making headway in the fight against the many inequalities exposed by COVID-19. We saw the damage that can be wrought by the unexpected, but we also saw what happens when communities come together in support of a common goal.

Girls and women carry the greatest burden of inequality, which has only worsened with COVID-19. Yet we know they are powerful and can help create a just world. As we envision the other side of this global crisis, we have an opportunity – and a collective responsibility – to shift the imbalances that have caused and increased inequality. Girls have been and can be leaders in their communities and in the COVID-19 response. Standing with and investing in them is the key to stopping the setbacks caused by the pandemic.

As we review the year behind us, Plan International Canada can see first-hand the positive effects that can happen when girls are given the space to lead and exercise their rights. We have seen girls assert their rights to a safe, healthy life and a path of their choosing. We have also seen them lift up those around them, rewriting the future for themselves and their communities.

We are proud of the work we do together to advance children’s rights and equality for girls, and we are excited to share examples of the incredible accomplishments from this past year.

Messages from the CEO and Chair

A letter from our president and CEO, Lindsay Glassco

Lindsay Glassco

When the global pandemic began almost two years ago, no one could have predicted the levels of adaptation, resiliency and collaboration that the entire Plan International organization would demonstrate. I have never been prouder of our team in Canada, who have met head-on the threats that COVID-19 poses to children’s rights.

COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on people everywhere but most significantly on girls and their rights. With great effort, we pivoted 100% of our programs to respond to the crisis. Addressing the pandemic’s impact on girls remained our top priority.

With much of our Canadian team still working remotely this past year, investing in our digital capabilities and security was critical. So, too, were leading with compassion and focusing on the safety, wellness and engagement of our staff as each employee experienced the unique challenges driven or amplified by COVID-19.

The organization saw tremendous success in other areas as well. Informed by recent social movements that shone a spotlight on discrimination and exclusion, we launched our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) committee this past year. We developed a DE&I strategy and workplan, and we executed numerous initiatives to improve how we address inequality in our workplace.

Plan International Canada also continued to enhance collaboration at a global level, working more effectively than ever across geographies to leverage the diverse experience and expertise within the Plan International federation.

As you read this Annual Review, I hope you feel inspired by the many great accomplishments that have been achieved in the face of adversity. Thank you to our dedicated donors, supporters and Board of Directors for joining Plan International Canada in paving a pathway for children, especially girls and young women, to learn, lead, decide and thrive.

Lindsay Glassco
President & CEO,
Plan International Canada

» Meet the executive team

Letter from the Chair of the Board, Patsy Anderson

Patsy Anderson

Around the world this past year, we saw the progress that’s possible when humanity bands together in solidarity, whether it is the creation of groundbreaking vaccines or responses to new COVID-19 variants. While the pandemic is not yet in our rearview mirror, we are gaining ground, both in the fight against the virus and in the fight for girls’ rights.

Plan International Canada’s purpose is more urgent now than ever before. This year, the organization tackled the challenges presented by the global health crisis while also maintaining its financial integrity and accountability. Thanks to the continued support of our donors and partners, we not only retained a strong financial foothold but also secured $12 million in new grants to boost our global COVID-19 response.

This enabled us to continue implementing our critical programming in areas like education and protection while also addressing the many additional and heightened needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic.

COVID-19 demanded that we demonstrate agility and responsiveness while maintaining a commitment to impact. We are meeting the challenge with data-driven decision-making and by investing in tools that will future-proof our digital growth. To ensure our ongoing stability, we continue to prioritize financial sustainability and return on investment.

As we strive toward a future that is free of the virus and free of obstacles for children and girls, we are grateful for the support of all those involved with Plan International Canada, including our individual and corporate donors and our institutional partners. Without your support, our work would not be possible. We look forward to furthering our impact together in the years to come.

Patsy Anderson
Chair of the Board,
Plan International Canada

» Meet the board members

Financial Overview


How donations reach communities

Plan International has a long-term presence in the communities where we work, partnering with children, families, community organizations and governments. Our diverse funding sources help us develop sustainable solutions together to unleash human potential around the globe.

Child Sponsorship contributions go to community development projects that nurture the power and potential of children and their communities while also allowing us to establish trusting relationships and implement sustainable change. Designated contributions – such as major financial donations, Gifts of Hope and ongoing contributions to specific projects – go to the project identified by the donor.

In all cases, donated funds support projects developed in partnership with community members – including children, especially girls – to address inequality and create a just world.


Where our support comes from


Government & other grants 46.1%
Child Sponsorship 28.5%
Gifts in kind 12.7%
Contributions, gifts & bequests 12.5%
Investments & other income 0.2%
Total revenue: $237 M

Where our money goes


How our resources were used

Program expenditures 81.1%
Fundraising 12.0%
Operations 6.9%
Total expenditures: $231 M

Program expenditures

Areas of work this funding supported

Health, water & sanitation 30.8%
Humanitarian response 25.1%
Sexual & reproductive health 15.1%
Education 11.0%
Child protection 7.3%
Strengthening human rights & civic engagement 4.9%
Economic security 3.4%
Sponsorship communications 2.4%
Total expenditures 100.0%

What percentage of donations goes to Plan International Canada programs?

Plan International Canada is committed to keeping our administrative costs low, so that the greatest percentage of donations goes directly to programs advancing children’s rights.

In the fiscal year 2021, we spent 19 cents of each dollar raised on fundraising and operations costs. The remaining 81 cents supported programs that positively impact children and their communities around the world.

Our policies ensure that the maximum amount of money benefits children in the countries in which we operate and that we can also grow our community of supporters to ensure we deliver on our long-term commitments. This enables us to keep our programs well funded and to make sure our impact is effective and sustainable.


Our Global Work



Supporting children’s rights around the world

Plan International Canada strives for a just world by advancing children’s rights and equality for girls.

We work with governments, communities and organizations to deliver a comprehensive set of programs that help ensure that children – especially girls – are safe, healthy, educated and empowered.

We support children’s rights by strengthening


We improve access to services like maternal, newborn and child health care, and we support the prevention and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other illnesses, including COVID-19. We work with individuals and communities to strengthen health systems and help them assert their continued right to health and critical care.


We support education from early childhood through young adulthood by providing preschool classes, vocational training and entrepreneurial-skills training as well as accelerated learning to help students catch up on missed schooling. We build community support to prioritize children’s education, and we are experts at providing education in emergency contexts.

Safety & Protection

We support programs that keep children, especially girls, safe by preventing practices like child marriage, female genital cutting and other gender-based violence. We also amplify girls’ voices to ensure that they are included in decision-making that affects them.

Emergency Response

We provide education, protection and life-saving supplies that address the unique barriers faced by children and girls in crisis.

Nutrition & Well-being

We provide urgent assistance with food supplies and grocery vouchers. We also equip communities with the skills and support to grow sustainable food and start income-generating businesses that protect them against economic shocks.

Feature Impact Stories Girls lead the way for gender equality around the world


Through the ARRIBA program, Génesis, 12, is learning about her rights and the prevention of gender-based violence as well as developing leadership skills that will enable her to become an agent of change in her community.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been particularly devastating for girls, setting back decades of progress toward gender equality around the world. In addition to providing emergency assistance like hygiene kits, food and water, we pivoted our projects to address the lesser-known repercussions of the pandemic, like increased gender-based violence. This and other forms of gender-based violence have worsened due to lockdowns, financial strain and the limited availability of support services for women and girls at risk.

As a participant of ARRIBA, a Plan International program supporting girls’ reproductive health and rights in Bolivia, Mery, 18, is using the power of her voice to lead response efforts in her community. Through the program’s online workshops, Mery learned about the dangers of gender-based violence and how strengthening safety systems and supporting girls’ and women’s rights can help them protect themselves in threatening environments. The workshops also provided vital information about the prevention of COVID-19, including the importance of handwashing, social distancing and staying home.

To help protect her neighbours, Mery shared what she learned. She encouraged women and girls not to stay silent in violent situations, and she taught them how to seek help through local community services.

This year, ARRIBA equipped 9,283 adolescents – including 5,112 girls – with skills to promote safety, as well as the confidence to share their knowledge to help their communities.

“I have learned that women should not suffer any kind of violence. There are laws and authorities that protect us. Adolescent women are strong, and we can make great changes in our communities.”

Mery, 18, Bolivia

Ama’s education is also a true story about helping others

Ama at a chalkboard

Ama, 14, longed to go to school, but, like many girls her age in northern Ghana, her family was experiencing poverty and they believed marriage was the best solution to ensure her financial security.

The good news is that, through the support of Plan International’s REACH program in Ghana, Ama is now on a different path – and so are the 4,034 other girls participating in REACH this year. At a community meeting organized by the program, Ama’s mother, Laarba, learned about the dangers of child marriage. Understanding that marriage would jeopardize Ama’s future and that school was a lifeline, Laarba postponed the marriage and enrolled Ama in an accelerated-learning course so she could catch up to her peers. These supplementary programs are particularly important when lockdowns and school closures further limit educational opportunities for children.

Ama is excelling, and she hopes to carry the torch of education forward to inspire more good news stories in her community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put an even greater financial strain on families like Ama’s around the world, meaning more girls than ever are unable to attend school and are at risk for early marriage.

After seeing the incredible difference that school has made in Ama’s life, Laarba became a volunteer with the REACH program. Now she helps ensure that others have bright futures by raising awareness about the importance of girls’ education. With the support of women like Laarba and the motivation of girls like Ama, we are working with communities to help girls stay in school and reach their full potential.

“I owe it to Plan International for making my dreams come true. I wish to become a teacher one day so I can help other girls in my situation.”

Ama, 14, Ghana

This year alone, the REACH program supported the education of 8,784 children!

Raising her voice for change: Kristine’s story

Kristine broadcast

Plan International’s Child Sponsorship programming helps nurture children and youth by supporting sustainable programs within their communities. Kristine, an 18-year-old sponsored child from the Philippines, aspires to study journalism in college. “I want to tell meaningful stories that could directly impact the lives of many,” she says.

Kristine is one of the 5,017 children in the Philippines sponsored by Canadian donors. She is also a participant in Plan International’s RAISE Above program, which equips adolescents – especially girls – with self-esteem and vocational training so that they can thrive in their careers.

Through RAISE Above, Kristine received training in youth issues, communications and advocacy. With new skills and knowledge, she gained the confidence to share her ideas with a wider audience.

To lead pandemic response efforts in her area, Kristine created an infographic on COVID-19 prevention, which was so well designed that the project team shared it on their social media channels.

As an advocate for girls’ health, Kristine also scripted and starred in a Plan International video that dispels myths about menstruation. To date, the video has garnered 60,000 views! Kristine is fulfilling her dream, and she hopes to inspire other young women.

“I want to see more girls like me in the media, I want our stories to be told.”

Kristine, 18, Philippines
For the Plan International Worldwide Annual Review,visit

maple leaf Plan International Canada’s impact in 2021

5.3 million children, including 2.7 million girls, were reached by our work.


children uplifted with access to education

4.5 million

children reached with life-saving protection against disease


children supported by sponsors in Canada


children protected from harm, including abuse and exploitation

1.3 million

people reached by Plan International Canada’s COVID-19 response

maple leaf Plan International Canada’s impact in 2021

5.3 million children, including 2.7 million girls, were reached by our work.


children, adolescents and new mothers received health support and education


Gifts of Hope purchased by ethical gift givers to promote children’s well-being


children provided with
clean water


children received
food support


Canadian youth engaged in children’s rights and youth empowerment intiatives

Canadian Youth Engagement


Girls Belong Here Canadian youth leaders shape innovation and activism


Gursimran, Joanna, Natalie, Victoria, Tehreem, Judy, Annie, and Zara (clockwise from top left) were participants in the 2021 Girls Belong Here program.

Since 2016, Plan International Canada’s Girls Belong Here program has created opportunities for girls and young women to step into high-profile professional roles for a day. The program demonstrates the power of girls’ voices in leadership and decision-making.

This year’s cohort of 40 inspiring youth leaders from throughout Canada took part in virtual “seat shares” and in Innovation Hubs, a new program addition that further supports youth engagement and activism. The Innovation Hubs provided a two-way learning opportunity in which girls shared their perspectives on key projects and issues – such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion – to help inform the companies’ future work.

For Girls Belong Here partner The Body Shop, the Innovation Hubs and seat shares were opportunities to bring more diverse voices to the table and discuss the company’s social activism. Hub participants in Canada and the U.S. also shared their insights about youth advocacy, which highlighted the need to increase opportunities for youth voices to be heard. Suggestions included creating a youth advisory council that would help The Body Shop shape its business decisions.

“We walked away with incredible insight about how to power youth-led activism campaigns and how to conduct ourselves as a responsible business that wants to engage youth on a day-to-day basis.” Hilary Lloyd, VP of marketing and activism for The Body Shop in North America

“It was such an incredible opportunity to discuss youth civic engagement and empowerment with the team at The Body Shop. This experience will be carried forward into my life’s mission of continuing to support and empower women.”

Teagan, 23, an Innovation Hub participant

zoom AR2021

The Honourable Maryam Monsef (former Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality) joins youth ambassadors Katherine Dibbon and Jenn Wani and educator and activist Rosemary Ganley in an intergenerational dialogue about gender equality (individuals pictured clockwise from top left).

“Adolescent girls, in all their diversity, are particularly excluded from decision-making. Without their meaningful participation, their unique needs are often ignored.”

Katherine Dibbon, 20, youth ambassador
Katherine Dibbon

Amplifying girls’ voices on global platforms

As a youth ambassador for Plan International Canada, Katherine collaborated with us on advocacy initiatives designed to ensure that girls and young women play a greater role in shaping solutions to shared global challenges. Global advocacy is an essential part of Plan International Canada's work, as it influences the Canadian government's and other leaders' policies, which helps advance children’s rights and equality for girls.

In advocating for and with youth in 2021, we were proud to contribute to the Generation Equality Forum’s Global Acceleration Plan, a set of guiding principles for global leaders on prioritizing gender equality. A UN-led initiative, this document contains tangible actions that governments, corporations and other global leaders can adopt in their policy-making.

Our advocacy work supported youth like Katherine in demanding that financial resources be dedicated to ensuring that adolescent girls and young feminist leaders are included in critical decision-making. When this recommendation was incorporated into the Global Acceleration Plan, we celebrated a success in promoting the needs and rights of girls and young women. By including girls’ voices in policy, we change how decisions that impact them will be made for years to come.

Donor spotlight Mother-daughter duo see the power in girls’ education and leadership

Lori Elder and her daughter, Alana, are longstanding supporters of Plan International Canada. Alana and her brothers have connected with sponsored children since childhood, and Lori is a founding member of Plan International Canada’s Equality Collective, a circle of women who combine advocacy with impactful investments to champion solutions that unleash the potential of girls.

Lori’s and Alana’s involvement with Plan International Canada has deepened their awareness of the rights of girls and women and their critical role in decision-making. “ We listen to the voices of women and children,” Lori says. “We follow their lead in providing support to accelerate change in their communities.”

They also believe that education is key to empowering girls and women to regain the progress set back by COVID-19. While pursuing her bachelor of education degree, Alana has witnessed the negative effects of school closures on children, especially girls. She knows that equipping them with a safe learning environment will ensure that they have the knowledge, skills and opportunities to not only thrive but also lead the way in pandemic recovery efforts.

“Girls and women know what they need, and when they step into leadership, they can make real change.”

Alana, Plan International Canada supporter

Lori and Alana

Lori Elder (left) and her daughter, Alana, have been supporters of Plan International Canada for more than two decades. Their family first started child sponsorship in 1999.

Our generous donors

The incredible generosity of individuals, organizations and foundations is critical to ensuring the health, education, safety and well-being of children – especially girls – around the world. As we face the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic together, we gratefully acknowledge our strong foundation of supporters, including the following donors who have made a contribution over the past three years and whose lifetime giving has exceeded $100,000.

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A partnership for health Tackling key diseases with the Global fund

For 31-year-old Bendu, having access to bed nets is critical to keeping her three children healthy. The nets help protect against mosquito bites that lead to malaria, a common threat in Liberia, where Bendu and her family live.

Plan International has been working with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since 2005. Together, we have been combatting these diseases by strengthening health systems and providing information, testing and supplies, like bed nets.

Plan International’s long-term presence in the communities where we work enables our large-scale reach in the fight against disease. Last year alone, we helped 7.3 million people in 10 countries through health promotion, preventive measures and education.

In our work to eradicate malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, we know that girls and young women face unique barriers to accessing vital health care. With our combined expertise, Plan International and The Global Fund are ensuring their needs are met. Plan International is investing additional resources to reduce the burden of these illnesses on women and girls, especially in West Africa, where we have seen the risk of infection increasing.

“The nets are very important to me and my children. I thank the donors who made these available to mothers and their families. When we use them, our children will not get malaria.”

Bendu, 31, Liberia


According to the World Health Organization’s 2021 World Malaria Report, there were an estimated 627,000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020 — a 12% increase compared with the previous year. It is estimated that 68% of the additional deaths were due to service disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We would also like to thank our other institutional partners, without whom our work wouldn't be possible :

A picture of support During our 2021 fiscal year

$237.2 million

in grants were awarded to Plan International Canada to support 78+ children’s rights projects.


Canadian sponsors supported Plan International Canada.


gifts from the Gifts of Hope catalogue, totalling $220,056, were purchased by 19 foundations.


Canadian small and medium enterprises partnered with Plan International Canada to support projects and programs for girls’ empowerment, leadership, health and education.


celebrated ambassadors and social influencers helped spread awareness of our work.


donors advised us that they have included a gift to Plan International Canada in their wills, with an approximate total value of $2.8 million.

Thank you for supporting girls and children around the world

Though the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic have been significant, we are proud of what we have accomplished in supporting the rights of children globally. We have made significant strides in our efforts to create a just world and support girls as change-makers in their communities. We are eager to keep the momentum going and remove the barriers that keep children – especially girls – from reaching their full potential.

Plan International Canada is grateful to you for your commitment to this work and for sharing our vision of lasting, positive change. From all of us, thank you.

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