annual-review-header

Plan International Canada

2020 Annual review

Stopping the Setback to Children's Rights and Equality for Girls

At Plan International Canada, we believe every child has the right to be healthy, educated, protected, valued, respected and heard. This year, as COVID-19 spread around the globe and nations struggled to understand and respond to the health crisis, we witnessed widespread infringements on children’s rights. Within a few months, the pandemic threatened to set back decades of progress made towards gender equality and girls’ rights. By the end of spring, school closures had impacted more than 90 per cent of students – including 743 million girls.

Guided by our commitment to gender equality and ensuring that children’s bright futures are not threatened by crisis, Plan International Canada took immediate action. We pivoted our programming to focus on COVID-19 responses in the communities where we’re active, and we’ve been working tirelessly to stop the setback the pandemic has caused for children, especially girls – who are most often denied their rights, particularly in emergencies.

Through it all, we’ve continued to deliver great results towards our five-year strategy, 20 Million Reasons. This year, we reached more than six million children around the globe, bringing the total number of children positively impacted by this strategy to over 18.4 million. After three years, we’ve almost reached our target of improving the lives of 20 million children by 2022 – putting us on track to exceed our goal in the final two years of this strategy.

We’re inviting all Canadians to join us as global citizens – together, we’ll help empower communities to overcome the effects of this pandemic, unleash human potential and end inequality for children, especially girls, around the world.

Values chart

Our Values

Values chart

Our four values are designed to help achieve our ambitious goal: a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.

  • We strive for lasting impact
  • We are open and accountable
  • We work well together
  • We are inclusive and empowering

MESSAGES FROM THE Ceo AND Chair

A LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT AND CEO, LINDSAY GLASSCO

Lindsay Glassco Lindsay Glassco

When I think about this past year, the word that comes to mind is “resilience.” Undoubtedly, 2020 was a difficult year. When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March, millions around the globe had to deal with unprecedented circumstances overnight. By the time I joined Plan International Canada in July, COVID-19 had been felt in every part of the world, and organizations in every sector were struggling.

While our organization was not immune to these challenges, I am proud of how our teams were able to face them head-on – pivoting and finding new ways to support children around the world. Backed by strong programming, sophisticated organizational expertise and our loyal individual, corporate and institutional donors, we adjusted quickly. We adapted all of our programs for a COVID-19 response. As the pandemic threatens to set back years of progress made towards gender equality and girls’ rights, we’ve been working to stop the setback and ensure children’s bright futures aren’t erased by the crisis. This important work will continue in the coming months and years as we respond to the short-term and long-term effects of the pandemic.

Another outcome of COVID-19 is the rise of global citizenship and solidarity. The pandemic has shown us that a virus knows no borders, highlighting our interconnectedness and the need to work together to build back better. As an international human rights organization, we work around the globe, standing with and for marginalized populations. Our work is now more important than ever as we operate at the intersection point of significant issues – including human rights, gender equality, inclusion and COVID-19.

As you read this Annual Review, I hope the urgency of our work in the face of current global challenges comes to the forefront. I also hope you feel confident and proud that we have weathered the storm of the pandemic and had exceptional results. This year, Plan International Canada’s work reached over six million children around the world.

Thank you to our dedicated donors, who have continued to support our work, even amidst personal hardships due to COVID-19. I’d also like to extend my appreciation to our Board of Directors, which has worked tirelessly to support our team in upholding the highest levels of transparency and accountability, which helps to maximize our programs and impact. I commend the passionate and innovative staff who carry out our work. Their dedication to ensuring that children are not left behind in this pandemic have inspired many during these trying times. In the year ahead, I look forward to engaging more Canadians to join us as global citizens and create a world where children, especially girls, can thrive.

Sincerely,
Lindsay Glassco
President & CEO, Plan International Canada
» Meet the executive team

LETTER FROM THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD, PATSY ANDERSON

Patsy Anderson Patsy Anderson

This past year has been anything but ordinary for millions all over the world. With the emergence of COVID-19, cracks in our societal foundations around the globe became evident – longstanding inequities were exacerbated, the lack of pandemic preparedness was laid bare and health systems were stretched beyond their limits.

I am proud of how Plan International Canada has risen to the occasion, adapting to assist the communities where we’re active to address the impacts of COVID-19.

We have navigated the pandemic exceedingly well, pivoting to become first responders in the communities we support and continuing to deliver high-quality measurable gender-transformative, programming.

The Board of Directors was pleased to select Lindsay Glassco as Plan International Canada’s new President & CEO. Following a competitive recruitment process, Lindsay was chosen for her dynamic skill set, years of experience developing and managing social policies and programs, and passion for working with vulnerable populations to unleash their potential. We are grateful to have Lindsay on board as we continue to respond to COVID-19.

I would like to recognize Sarah Kramer, Chief Operating Officer, and Tanjina Mirza, Chief Programs Officer, for their steady leadership as co-CEOs during our leadership transition.

From enabling our Canadian operations to shift to remote work, to securing institutional funding for pandemic response programming and ensuring staff were supported, both Sarah and Tanjina have been integral to our success.

In reflecting on this past year, I am extremely proud of what Plan International Canada has achieved. As the body that provides oversight of, and guidance on, the organization’s governance and management, the Board of Directors adheres to the highest levels of transparency and accountability to ensure each dollar contributed by individual, corporate and institutional donors goes as far as possible to maximize impact for children. I am confident that you will feel proud of what we have accomplished, as wells as energized for the change that lies ahead.

Patsy Anderson
Chair of the Board,
Plan International Canada
» Meet the board members

Financial Overview

Our finances

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

Revenue by fiscal year
2020   241
2019   241.3
2018   236.4
2017   222.9
2016   210.5
50 100 150 200 250 300
$ million

Over the past five years, revenue has grown by 14%

5yr chart

Revenue – where our support comes from

revenue chart
 Government & other grants 45.7%
 Child sponsorship income 29.2%
 Contributions, gifts & bequests 13.6%
 Gifts in kind 10.6%
 Investments & other income 0.9%
 Total revenue 100.0%

Where our money goes

Expenditures

How our resources were used

expenditures chart
 Program expenditures 78.8%
 Fundraising 14.2%
 Operations 7%
 Total expenditures 100.0%
Total expenditures in dollars: $235 M

Program expenditures

Areas of work this funding supported

expenditures chart
 Maternal & child health/development 38.8%
 Emergencies & food assistance 17.7%
 Sexual & reproductive health 13.3%
 Education 12.0%
 Child protection 8.0%
 Strengthening women's rights 3.9%
 Economic security 2.5%
 Sponsorship and Programmatic Communications 2.5%
 Water & sanitation 1.3%
 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 the maximum amount of money goes to programs that benefit children in the countries where we work, while we also grow 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.

In 2020, we spent 21 cents of each dollar raised on fundraising and operations costs. The remaining 79 cents went directly to programs that positively impact children, their families and their communities.

How donations reach communities

Plan International is committed to making a lasting impact on the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children while promoting equality for girls. Every day, we're working to protect those most in need and to stop the setbacks to progress and rights that global emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic can cause.

Child Sponsorship contributions are pooled centrally, and they go to community development projects that benefit all the children and families in a sponsored child’s community. Designated contributions – such as major financial donations, Gifts of Hope and ongoing contributions to specific projects and communities – go to the project chosen by the donor, and are managed by Plan International Canada in collaboration with Plan International's Country Offices. In all cases, donated funds support project activities that have been developed together with community members, including children – ensuring that children’s safety, inclusion and empowerment are always core objectives.

A SNAPSHOT OF OUR 2020 IMPACT FOR

6,084,849 Children and Girls in crisis

icon
4,482,632

Children supported who benefited from life-saving support against disease: 4,482,632

icon
1,022,199

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

icon
196,789

Children provided with clean water

icon
149,740

Children supported by sponsors in Canada

icon
144,176

Children protected from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect

icon
138,980

Children provided with food security and economic empowerment

icon
100,074

Children uplifted with access to education

icon
85,788

Gifts of Hope purchased by ethical gift-givers

icon
14,669

Youth in Canada engaged in programs aimed at building their knowledge, leadership and advocacy skills as global citizens

icon
4,482,632

Children supported to survive and thrive

icon
1,022,199

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

icon
196,789

Children provided with clean water

icon
149,740

Children supported by sponsors in Canada

icon
144,176

Children protected from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect

icon
138,980

Children provided with food security and economic empowerment

icon
100,074

Children uplifted with access to education

icon
85,788

Gifts of Hope purchased by ethical gift-givers

icon
14,669

Youth engaged in our initiatives around the country

58

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 & Facebook.

11

Celebrated Ambassadors helped spread awareness of our work, including long-time Ambassadors Cheryl Hickey & Sarah Rafferty

 

Over 212,000 donors gave to Plan International Canada in 2020

Your support helped save lives and stop the setback of children’s rights and equality for girls around the world .

Through one of the most challenging events of our lifetime, your incredible dedication and compassion has enabled us to continue to protect and improve the lives of children – especially vulnerable girls – in some of the poorest and hardest-to-reach communities around the world.

Our global work

Plan International’s programs support sustainable, community-led change by:

  • Supporting children’s rights from birth to adulthood.
  • Helping empower children, young people and communities to tackle the root causes of discrimination against girls and all vulnerable children.
  • Driving change in practice and policy, locally, nationally and globally using our reach, experience and knowledge of the realities children face, including using our platform to amplify their voices.
  • Educating children and communities to prepare for – and respond to – crises, helping them overcome adversity.
  • Efficiently and effectively adapting programs in emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting objectives and shifting activities to ensure the greatest needs of the most at-risk children are first addressed.

Our work focuses around these key areas:

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

Extraordinary measures for an extraordinary emergency

our pandemic response

Chidren wearing masks

The impact of this unparalleled crisis has been felt by communities around the world, and according to our research, girls and women are bearing the brunt of it. COVID-19 is unravelling decades of progress made for gender equality and girls’ rights, which is why Plan International launched a global campaign to Stop the Setback.

Our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on communicating gender-integrated public health information, including the specific impacts of the pandemic on girls and women, as well as activities like installing handwashing facilities and distributing food and hygiene kits. We've prioritized reaching the people most in need through extensive preventative and response initiatives. We've also taken careful measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and partners. Together, we're working to protect and improve the health of all.

Thanks to our generous supporters, Plan International’s global COVID-19 response has reached over 79 million people.

map icon

In the Asia-Pacific region, we distributed over one million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE).

map icon

In Somaliland, we reached approximately 750,000 people through radio messages that raised awareness on gender equality and the importance of girls’ education.

map icon

In Latin America and the Caribbean, we distributed over 440,000 food kits.

One of the most powerful ways we can stop the setback is through education. It helps protect children, especially girls, from gender-based violence, exploitation, child marriage and more. That is why we have focused on helping children continue their education remotely and safely through the distribution of tablets, solar-powered radios and learning kits.

For example, Plan International Canada's donors are helping thousands of Syrian refugee children in Jordan to access education through innovative digital solutions. Now, these children are ready – and even excited – to start Grade 1.

Read the full story

More of the impact achieved in 2020

Boosting income and health to overcome crises and Change the Birth Story

women at a village and savings loans meeting Mother putting on mask on son

Over the past five years in Bangladesh, Ghana, Haiti, Nigeria and Senegal, Plan International Canada has worked with the Government of Canada to reach over 2.3 million people to strengthen maternal and child health, and to shift harmful social and gender norms. As part of this work, we helped establish over 1,300 village savings and loans associations (VSLAs), aimed at ensuring that women have access to the resources they need to keep themselves and their families healthy, even in emergencies like COVID-19. The groups have enabled women to generate over $670,000, while also offering them a safe and empowering space to access information about health and their rights. In 2020, the pandemic deepened existing inequalities in economic status and access to health care, particularly for women in remote communities, who are often excluded from decision-making. The VSLAs provide a safety net, made all the more invaluable by the global crisis.

"Through the VSLA, women have year-round access to funds. When women have money, others have no choice but to listen to them," states Theodora, a participant in Ghana. Members have started businesses with their savings to help pay for health costs and better support their children, and participant families can access community-pooled funds for emergency health services – a safety net made all the more invaluable by the pandemic. With greater financial security, women can access the support and care that both they and their children need – helping them change their own birth story. "Now, through our group, we can save money and use it easily in any emergency," says Beauty, a VSLA member in Bangladesh. "I feel secure."

Read more


Leading the charge for change in Colombia

Girl holding sign in classroom

While the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns continue, our global staff are working to ensure that youth around the world can continue to secure the health information and resources they need to stay safe and empowered. Our work includes protective efforts aimed at counteracting abuse and exploitation. For example, we broadcast awareness campaigns that reinforce key rights, encourage those whose rights have been violated to report the incidents, and promote community supports such as legal and counselling services.

"My story with Plan International changed my life," recounts 16-year-old Rosa. In Colombia, generations of armed conflict threaten youth like Rosa and their right to security, education, opportunity and a life free from violence. But with the backing of Global Affairs Canada and dedicated supporters, we are working with youth like Rosa to help those affected recover and lead for peace. Our programs have opened opportunities for youth to participate in arts, livelihood and advocacy activities, and engaged communities and policy-makers to further protect youth from recruitment and other dangers of armed groups.

Rosa took part in educational theatre groups that offered a form of rehabilitation and healing for youth members. Collectively, the groups reached over 67,000 audience members with messages promoting unity and hope. Rosa was also among a group of youth supported to create short films. For Rosa and her peers, filmmaking presented a platform to elevate their voices, it offered a cathartic outlet to help them process past trauma. In addition, Plan International Canada collaborated with youth like Rosa to engage over 1,400 people, including government officials, in building and maintaining protective community spaces for youth, particularly girls. “With the short film and the experiences I’ve gained, doors have opened and could be used in the future,” says Rosa, ready to rally for peace with other empowered youth and work towards creating safer, more peaceful communities across Colombia.

Read more


Ensuring nothing stops girls’ health

Girls smile and display the Plan International sanitary supply-filled kits they received, in Uganda.

For years, deadly clashes between government and rebel forces in South Sudan have forced girls and their families to flee their homes, leading to one of the largest population movements recorded worldwide. Millions have left everything behind to seek refuge in neighbouring Uganda, where local resources were already scarce. In refugee settlements, girls, in particular, face extreme challenges in obtaining basic necessities, including personal hygiene items.

Our Because I am a Girl Project activities helped address this need by distributing 9,000 dignity kits – filled with essentials like reusable sanitary pads and soap – to girls across these refugee settlements and host communities, along with training to create their own reusable sanitary pads. Additionally, both boys and girls participated in inclusive monthly sessions on menstrual hygiene management and sexual and reproductive health, which helped to break down associated stigma and educate about risks. Collectively, these activities are helping to ensure that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and no matter what setbacks may arise, no girl has to go without the information, supplies or support they need to protect their health.

Read more

Impact from Plan International supporters around the world

anuual-infographic

YOUTH ADVOCATES HELP #CHANGETHEBIRTHSTORY

Young women at Canadian Conference on Global Health Young women on zoom call

Since taking appropriate social distancing measures, our team has also pivoted our initiatives with youth in Canada, helping this powerful network stay connected – while remote – through this critical time. Symposiums, conferences and panel interview discussions have gone digital, showing that no distance or emergency can keep this inspiring group from raising their voices and taking action to help stop the setback for youth everywhere.

To celebrate the completion of our Change the Birth Story campaign, Canadian youth advocates hosted a special event at the Canadian Conference on Global Health in October 2019 and shared their successes in promoting this landmark initiative. Demonstrating the power of youth driven by purpose, the advocates collected over 16,000 signatures from Canadians in support of this three-year campaign.

Change the Birth Story raised awareness for Plan International’s programs that work with communities, especially women and girls, around the world to realize their right to health – including maternal, newborn, and sexual and reproductive health. The Youth Advocates applied their passion and creativity to generate awareness for this critical work.

At the conference, they explored best practices for engaging Canadians on global issues and inspiring them to act in support of solutions. Not only did these incredible advocates play an important role in the campaign, but they also built their leadership, communication and advocacy skills, empowering themselves to lead boldly as global citizens – all of which have proven useful and necessary with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forty Years of Generosity: Meet Tom & Sharon

Sharon and Tom Dalinda

"Plan International Canada has a detailed approach to addressing community issues. We love their dedication and accountability – and we’ve seen it in action," say Tom and Sharon Dalinda who are passionate about the projects they’ve been supporting through Plan International Canada since 1980. In 2019, the couple travelled to Peru, where they witnessed first-hand how their gift has empowered women entrepreneurs.

"It meant so much to us to meet the women whose lives have been so positively impacted. It is evident that their confidence has grown and they have the respect of their communities,” say the Dalindas. The couple continues to generously support projects that advance children’s rights and gender equality. “When we give with Plan International Canada, the impact we provide to communities is multiplied due to their matching programs. We’re always impressed to see the amplified impacts of our investments."

OUR GENEROUS DONORS AND PARTNERS THROUGH A YEAR OF CHANGE

In 2020, the generous support of philanthropic individuals, organizations, employee groups, foundations, and institutional funding partners enabled us to make significant strides in advancing children’s rights and equality for girls, even through some of the most difficult circumstances the world has seen. We thank them for their incredible contributions, particularly as we work together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, stop the setbacks it has caused and continue to support the world’s most vulnerable children.

THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE FOR CHILDREN

Girl in mask

This year, children – and especially girls in crisis – needed our support in even more urgent and dire ways. And though the global pandemic has brought new challenges, we're proud that we've continued to help save and improve the lives of vulnerable children. Thanks to the incredible generosity, commitment and partnership of our supporters, we’re working to make sure no child is left behind, and no setback stops their promising future.

We're grateful to you for helping us rise to the occasion and reach the children most in need of support. Thank you for standing with us, and them.