Annual review

A year of defying normal

Plan International Canada’s purpose is to advance the rights of children and equality for girls around the world – with children at the centre of everything we do. This year, we called on Canadians to Defy Normal, to believe in the power of every child and take a stand for children, especially girls, who are often left behind. Guided by our five-year organizational strategy, 20 Million Reasons, we’re disrupting the status quo to unleash the multiplying power of girls and end inequality for all children.

Last year, we launched the largest global development campaign in Canada’s history, the 20 Million Reasons. The objective of this unprecedented initiative is to accelerate progress toward the goal outlined in our strategic plan of improving the lives of 20 million children by 2022. To date, we have already reached 12.4 million children – over halfway to our goal.

Join us – it’s time for a new normal.

  • What we do

    • Empower children, young people, and communities to make vital changes that tackle the root causes of discrimination against girls and all vulnerable children.
    • Drive change in practice and policy at local, national, and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge of the realities children face.
    • Support children’s rights from birth to adulthood.
    • Educate children and communities to prepare for and respond to crises and overcome adversity.
  • Our values

    Through our values we show our dedication to serving others in a way that fosters community, inspires growth and builds on hope for the future.

    We are
    • Open and accountable
    • Inclusive and empowering
    • Collaborative
    • Dedicated to creating lasting impact

Letter from the Chair of the Board, Patsy Anderson

Patsy AndersonPatsy Anderson

Over three years ago, I was honoured to take up the position of Chair of Plan International Canada’s Board of Directors at a pivotal moment in time for the organization. Reflecting on what has been achieved since then, I continue to be inspired by Plan International Canada’s commitment to children, especially girls, and our ability to deliver above our impact and revenue targets year after year. By consistently exceeding our goals, Plan’s clear vision for the future is igniting a movement in Canada to end inequality for all children.

Thanks to the generous support of our donors and partners, we’ve made significant strides in advancing gender equality, championing a youth-led movement, engaging boys and men in solutions for equality and ensuring girls and young women have the resources they need to learn, lead and unleash their potential. Through our ambitious 20 Million Reasons Campaign, we’ve reached 12.4 million children around the world – over halfway to our target of improving the lives of 20 million children by 2022. This would not have been possible without individuals all over Canada answering our call to Defy Normal and taking a bold stance for children, especially girls, around the world.

As you read through the Annual Review, you will notice youth voices at the forefront. I encourage you to read their stories and commit to listening to the youth voices in your own spheres of influence. Together, we can continue to champion a youth-led movement for change that unleashes the extraordinary potential of children worldwide.

Thank you,

Patsy Anderson, Board Chair

Meet the board members

»Read more

Financial Overview

Our finances

Total revenue over the past five years (in $ millions)

Revenue by fiscal year
2019   241.3
2018   236.4
2017   222.9
2016   210.5
2015   202.6
50 100 150 200 250
$ million

Over the past five years, revenue has grown by 19%

5yr chart

Revenue – where our support comes from

revenue chart
 Government & other Grants 45.9%
 Child Sponsorship Income 30.2%
 Contributions, Gifts & Bequests 13.8%
 Gifts in Kind 9.5%
 Investments & other Income 0.6%
 Total revenue 100.0%

Where our money goes


How our resources were used

expenditures chart

 Program expenditures 79.7%
 Fundraising 11.6%
 Operations 8.7%
 Total expenditures 100.0%
Total expenditures in dollars:
$241.1 M

Program expenditures

Areas of work this funding supported

expenditures chart

 Maternal & child health/development 36.9%
 Emergencies & food assistance 17.0%
 Sexual & reproductive health 13.5%
 Education 12.7%
 Child protection 8.5%
 Economic security 3.7%
 Water & sanitation 3.2%
 Other 4.5%
 Total expenditures 100.0%

Programs expenditure ratio

Plan International Canada is committed to keeping administrative costs low and program spending high.

We have systems and policies in place to ensure that a maximum amount of money goes to programs that benefit children in the countries where we work, while growing our base of dedicated supporters. These systems ensure that our programs are well-funded, and that benefits to children and communities are achieved as intended.

The costs of fundraising and operations are at an average of 19 cents of each dollar raised, with the remaining 81 cents of every dollar going to programs that benefit children, their families and communities.

How donations reach communities

Plan International is committed to making a lasting impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children while promoting equality for girls.

Our work aims to improve the daily lives of girls while also advancing their position and value in society. We actively engage boys and young men to champion gender equality, recognizing that they too are beneficiaries of equality and powerful agents of change. We believe in advancing children’s rights in all contexts, particularly during conflict and emergencies, where girls are faced with additional dangers.

Child sponsorship contributions are used for community development projects that unleash the multiplying power of children and deliver lasting change. We listen to the voices of children in the community, especially girls, to ensure that our work is relevant and effective.

Designated contributions, such as major financial donations and those through our Gifts of Hope program, go to projects chosen by the donor. We do whatever is needed to create a sustainable environment in which children, families and communities can thrive.

A Snapshot of Your Impact in 2019

6,216,331 children around the world


Children supported to survive and thrive


Children uplifted with access to education


Children provided with clean water


Children, adolescents, and new mothers received health support and education


Children protected from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect


Children provided with food security and economic empowerment


Children supported by sponsors in Canada


Children sponsored by a single company


Youth engaged in our initiatives around the country


Gifts of Hope purchased by ethical gift-givers


Celebrated Ambassadors helped spread awareness for our work including new Ambassador Samra Zafar, an author, speaker, and survivor of child marriage.


Social Influencers from all over Canada helped spread awareness by creating unique content for their respective social media channels on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

More than 211,000 donors gave to Plan International Canada

Your dedication and compassion have continued to cultivate our movement for children’s rights and gender equality around the world.

Our work around the world

Plan International’s programs aim to support sustainable and lasting change in communities all over the world. We work towards the realization of children’s rights, including boys, girls, and children in all their diverse identities. We address gender discrimination in our program work to ensure that children get access to education, health care, and the skills and opportunities needed to become independent adults who can challenge the status quo and create a world where everyone can unleash their full potential.

Our work focuses around these key areas:

Education icon Education Health icon Health Water icon Water and sanitation Child icon Child protection Economy icon Economic empowerment Emergency icon Emergencies Child participation icon Child participation

Plan International’s programs aim to support sustainable and lasting change in communities all over the world. We work towards the realization of children’s rights, including boys, girls, and children in all their diverse identities. We address gender discrimination in our program work to ensure that children get access to education, health care, and the skills and opportunities needed to become independent adults who can challenge the status quo and create a world where everyone can unleash their full potential.

Our work focuses around these key areas:

Education icon Education Health icon Health Water icon Water and sanitation Child icon Child protection Economy icon Economic empowerment Emergency icon Emergencies Child participation icon Child participation

#changethebirthstory around the world

Improving the health of mothers, babies and children is a critical investment in the fight against global poverty. Every day, approximately 830 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls ages 15 to 19 across the world. The statistics are alarming, but this problem is not insurmountable. Our Change the Birth Story campaign raises awareness of Plan International’s programs that seek to address this issue and help women and girls access their right to health – including maternal, newborn and sexual and reproductive health. This campaign also supports our gender transformative programming which goes beyond improving the daily lives of women and girls to address the root causes of gender inequality to transform their place and value in society.

With tremendous support from the Government of Canada, we’ve been able to carry out this important work in countries such as Bangladesh, Senegal and Ghana, with a focus on the well-being of the most marginalized and vulnerable women and adolescent girls and their children.

  • Thuo


    In Bangladesh, Plan International Canada is working with government and communities to increase access and knowledge of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), improve access to services and empower women and girls so that they can make their own decisions about their bodies and futures. We’re also using rickshaws – a mode of emergency transportation that improve access to life-saving healthcare services for pregnant women in rural communities.

    Read More
  • Girl writing in a book


    In Senegal, we train healthcare workers like Madame Badji to engage men in family health and planning to shift imbalanced gender roles and empower women to make their own decisions about their bodies and futures.

    “The most important thing that I have learned from the training is involving the fathers in their wives’ and children’s health care,” said Mme Badji, a midwife.

    Read More

This year, ten Plan International Canada youth advocates travelled to Ghana to see your support and the work of their Ghanaian peers to champion the equality movement and Change the Birth Story. To date, over 2,100 community clubs have been established in Ghana.







In countries with our #ChangetheBirthStory programming, your generosity has enabled:

  • Over 20,000 delivery kits were distributed to women around the world
  • Over 2,300 health committee members have been trained on maternal child health and reproductive health overall
  • Over 20,000 support groups have been established or strengthened to support gender equality and sexual reproductive health rights
  • 46% of couples reported making decisions on family planning together
  • 60% of young women led the decision to exclusively breastfeed their babies, understanding its crucial benefits

Together, we’re defying normal to improve the lives of mothers and children – an action that will benefit families, communities and entire nations.

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more of your impact


Canadians Support Cyclone Idai Relief

Group of women at G7

When disaster strikes, we act immediately to reach those in need. So, when Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe were swept up in one of Southern Africa’s most devastating recent disasters, Cyclone Idai, we were there to help.

Plan International was on the ground to protect children’s rights through this devastating time: from immediate needs like food and water to important ongoing opportunities like education. Through the kindness of our donors, we were able to provide critical emergency aid to help communities begin to rebuild in the aftermath of catastrophe. Over 631,000 people were reached through our Canadian donors alone.

You also helped us reach:

  • 34,887 affected people with items such as tents, blankets, and solar lamps
  • 19,124 residents with water storage and purification tablets, hygiene kits, and Damp-Proof Membrane and Damp-Proof Course (DPMs and DPCs) to repair damaged homes
  • 6,000 girls and women with menstrual hygiene/menstrual hygiene management (MHM) kits

With our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program in effect, no cases of cholera were registered – setting a new precedent.

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Ending HIV for a Healthier Tomorrow

Plan International has made tremendous progress in our global mission to end HIV, but around the world, girls and young women are still twice as likely as boys to be HIV-positive. Why is that accepted as normal?

At Plan International Canada, we’re committed to ensuring that every girl and young woman are equipped to combat HIV. With your support, we’ve implemented innovative HIV interventions in Malawi and around the world that defy the gender inequalities and stereotypes that leave girls behind.

Group of women at G7

Girls like 22-year-old Milika from Malawi: orphaned at 8-years-old, unable to afford school and a victim of gender-based violence and stigma. That is, until a transformative turning point of her life: receiving access to critical health services – made possible by our generous donors.

Thanks to your support:

  • 111,000 in-school girls have received comprehensive sexual health education
  • 97,000 out-of-school girls like Milika have been able to harness their sexual and reproductive health and rights through peer groups
  • Over 1,700 girls have been empowered through sanitary pad enterprises
  • Nearly 1,000 community and religious leaders across Malawi have been influenced to tear down traditional, and limited, gender-based practices to decrease girls’ likelihood of contracting HIV
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Electing Equality Through Education

Group of women at G7

“Girls can become leaders too.”

This is the first thing 15-year-old Mercy said when she was elected Deputy President of her school in Kenya. At Plan International Canada, we’ve always known that the inherent power and leadership potential of girls and young women is limitless. Thanks to our Because I am a Girl program supporters, now girls like Mercy know it too.

Plan International’s Tulinde Tusome project – which translates to ‘Protect us and let us learn’ – is creating safe spaces for improved learning.

With your support, 15,580 children were educated on their right to protection and education.

Through strengthening school governance and informing children of their right to education and protection, Plan’s programming is helping children, especially girls, access their rights to education, and true power to raise their voices in school and beyond.

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Promoting peace in Colombia

Plan International Canada is committed to protecting the rights of children amidst civil unrest and disruption. The effects of war and conflict can seem insurmountable, especially on children.

It is essential that we recognize that children are incredibly resilient and should be able to survive and thrive. They need the right environment, which includes protection, care, education, and support.

In 2016, after more than 50 years of armed conflict, a peace agreement was signed in Colombia. In light of this historic moment, Plan International Canada, with support from the Government of Canada and the generous support of Canadians, implemented Leading for Peace, a project that supports the children and youth in the country who have been the victims of this conflict.

Group of women at G7

To this day, you have helped:

  • Over 4,000 women and girls kickstart their career journeys by forming nearly 300 savings and loan groups
  • Over 1,750 youth answer their entrepreneurial calling with business trainings
  • Over 150 trained community leaders strengthen leadership skills, identify needs and promote peaceful coexistence in their communities

Together, we are working to transform the lives of young people affected by decades of armed conflict, striving to empower them and create strong, resilient citizens.

Impact from Plan International supporters around the world


A Youth-Led Movement for Gender Equality in Canada

First Ever Youth-Led roadmap for gender Equality in Canada

Group of women at G7

At Plan International Canada, we’re proud of our youth-led movement for change. This year, we saw young people from all over Canada step up to champion gender equality through our Youth for Gender Equality initiative.

Youth for Gender Equality (YGE) is a three-year initiative – co-led by Plan International Canada and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF-FCE) – that engaged youth from all over Canada in a national conversation on how to spearhead progress towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Gender Equality. At Women Deliver 2019, the world’s largest conference on gender equality, youth from the initiative made history with their ground-breaking report, the Youth-Led Roadmap for Gender Equality. The report is the first-ever youth-led recommendation document of its kind for achieving gender equality in Canada.

While simultaneously building youth confidence and civic engagement throughout the country, it also provides Canada the opportunity to become the first country in the world to achieve gender equality – and sets a global framework for others to follow the lead of youth in Canada.

Defiant Girls – When Life Imitates Art


In celebration of International Day of the Girl 2018, Plan International Canada introduced the Defiant Girls – a diverse group of girl statues who represent girls and young women in Canada and worldwide who stand up and stand together for girls’ rights and gender equality. Youth, partners and the Plan team were joined by Plan International Canada Global Ambassador Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to unveil the statues and highlight the need for greater representation as a core facet of equality.

That’s why we also invited girls – young women from all over Canada – to step into the top roles across corporate, charity, government and media sectors as part of our Girls Belong Here program to challenge gender stereotypes around leadership and demonstrate girls’ ability to lead. All over Canada, 19 real-life Defiant Girls rose to the occasion to challenge what leadership looks like in Canada and showcase the inherent potential within every girl and young woman.



What did being a part of the Day of the Girl seat-shares mean to you?


" It meant being powerful. Being able to see that I can and will become something that I’ll be proud of and feeling the desire to achieve my passions. I am honoured and proud to be part of Plan International Canada. "

Akshata, Plan International Canada Youth Advocate and Girls Belong Here participant

A Bold Commitment to Gender Equality

Photo: Darryl White (CEO, BMO Financial Group) & Ravicha (Youth Ambassador) Photo: Darryl White (CEO, BMO Financial Group) & Ravicha (Youth Ambassador)

As the Executive Sponsor for Girls Belong Here from its inception to today, BMO has embraced the program as a unique opportunity to empower young women and publicly take a stand for gender equality. Over two years, 12 young women in Toronto, Chicago and the UK have had the chance to step into leadership roles across the bank for a day, including the role of CEO. A multinational company, BMO believes in tangible action to close the fairness gap, and create a more inclusive society, by challenging the gender stereotypes and unequal access to opportunity that has created barriers to success for women in corporate Canada and all over the world.

This premiere program is expanding significantly all over Canada, demonstrating that companies are ready to show the world that they stand for gender equality.

A Decade of Impact

Placeholder“I first got involved after reading about the injustices that women experience in underdeveloped countries. Women everywhere should be empowered.”

Now celebrating nearly ten years of giving to Plan International Canada, the transformational impact of Janice Carter and Timothy McGillion’s generosity has extended across all sectors of health, education and protection. One of their investments had been directed to a microfinancing program for women’s economic empowerment in Western Africa:

“One of the women in the group went out and bought a chair. She was so proud when she brought it home because that simple action demanded respect from her husband. It helped him realize that she was his equal. It proves that little things go a long way in international development.”

Inspired by the exponential impact they have made possible through Plan International Canada, Janice and Timothy have set up the “McGillion-Carter Fund for Empowering Girls”. Through this endowment fund, they will continue to provide ongoing support to the organization and drive catalytic change across the globe.

We believe in Plan International and the difference they are making in the lives of women and girls.