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Time is running out for girls in crisis

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented hardship for people around the globe but for girls in crisis, it’s done more than just set them back. It’s unraveling decades of progress.

13 million girls are at risk of becoming brides, 2 million girls are at risk of experiencing FGM, and millions are at risk of never returning to school once they reopen.

We need your support to stop the clock and #StoptheSetback for girls around the world.

Donate today!


Plan International Canada has over 80 years of experience in international development and humanitarian response and remains committed to children’s rights and equality for girls as the world navigates and responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has affected people across the globe. Primary health impacts have been grave, and associated lockdowns and disruptions have led to additional (secondary) impacts. Through its global response, Plan International has been assessing the extent and severity of the secondary impacts of this crisis on women and children, especially girls, since March 2020.

displaced children in shelters in Honduras wearing face masks during Covid-19 pandemic
  • Our work shows that secondary impacts must receive adequate attention to prevent severe negative long-term repercussions on people’s livelihoods, education, rights and well-being. 
  • Each community where we’re active faces unique problems in fighting the pandemic and stopping the setback for girls, including pre-existing issues that are worsened by COVID-19 and other crises. 
  • We’ve begun identifying and measuring the needs of disadvantaged people by directly incorporating their voices into the response process through roundtable discussions, forums, community groups and interactive networks 

Our emergency response

Our response continues to evolve to best support the communities in which we work. Our efforts focus on health and hygiene, education, community engagement and accountability, and gender equality.

Activities include:

Distributing hygiene and dignity kits to vulnerable households, female health care workers and adolescent girls. These kits include items such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, washcloths, laundry soap, menstrual hygiene products, underwear and diapers.

Supporting children’s continuing education – helping teachers and schools protect their students from the disease, to look after the most at risk and ensuring access to hand washing facilities in schools. Where possible, we are exploring innovative options for ensuring continuity of education - including measures such as online learning, using platforms such as WhatsApp and broadcasting recorded lessons via TV and radio.

Sharing vital public health information and promoting best hygiene practices, including installation of hand washing facilities. We are also counteracting the spread of myths and misconceptions around the virus and the stigmatisation of those who become sick. 

Advocating with governments to ensure that the impacts of the crisis on the rights and well-being of children, particularly girls and young women, are fully understood and considered in their national response efforts and in their international cooperation.  

Intensifying support and preventive measures in existing refugee and displaced people’s camps/settlements where we are already working. The families in these camps live in crowded spaces often with poor hygiene and sanitation and health services, where the impact of the virus would be devastating.  

Plan International staff, wearing facemasks, unload boxes of personal protective equipment

Gender equality has remained a foundational element of our pandemic response, ensuring that the unique needs of girls and young women are taken into account. COVID-19 has caused a setback for girls, unraveling decades of progress made to advance their rights.

To Stop the Setback on girls’ rights, we are actively helping:
  • Protect girls from violence 

  • Protect girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) 

  • Get girls back to school 

  • Support girls’ agency and voice 

  • Strengthen girls’ economic security and social protection 

National Approach

In uncertain times, we are reminded of the greater role we all play to keep our communities safe and healthy. At Plan International Canada, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our employees, donors, Youth Ambassadors, volunteers and stakeholders, while ensuring business continuity for our important work around the world.

    • We’ve created a COVID-19 Task Force to monitor the situation and ensure we are closely following public health guidance issued by national governments and health authorities.
    • We’ve cancelled all international travel.
    • In-person fundraising has resumed with all necessary precautions including the wearing of PPE and standing 2 meters from the door.
    • We’ve closed our offices and implemented a work from home policy to support the Canadian public health efforts of containment and minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread in our communities.
    • We’ve implemented business continuity plans to prevent significant interruptions to our work for children, especially girls, around the world.

Impact of our COVID-19 response

Because of our generous donors, partners, frontline staff and volunteers, we are proud to say that our COVID-19 response has reached over 80 million people around the world!

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

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

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

Due to the pandemic, the markets and many stalls were closed, so it was difficult for us to get our daily needs, including sanitary napkins. Thanks to Plan International for distributing menstrual hygiene packages. The tips on the posters also really helped me to overcome my anxiety and apply menstrual hygiene properly.
Anca, 16, Indonesia
Plan International informed us of how to protect ourselves against COVID-19 in our village. In addition, Plan International provided a mask for all the children and hand washing kits to our village. Now we wear masks and wash our hands with soap all the time. Thank you very much!
Fatouma, 14, Mali.
My dad was in a delicate condition, he couldn’t work for a long time, and we all were feeling bad. But, thanks to the community volunteer, we received the food kits and Plan International knew about our situation, so we received economic support to buy the medicines my dad needed, and food. I’m also receiving virtual classes, for that I use my cell phone. I feel thankful for all the support received.
Klaryss, 9, Ecuador

We are grateful for the loyal support of our donors who have helped us reach children around the world during this unprecedented crisis. Because of their generosity, we’ve been able to quickly adapt our programs to help slow the spread and keep children safe, healthy, learning and thriving.

Watch this video of Sawit, an 11-year-old boy from Thailand to see the impact of our COVID-19 response in action!

Together, we can help all children like Sawit learn and grow. Time is running out for girls in crisis. Join us to Stop the Setback and help girls exercise their rights!

Stop the Setback


  • What is Plan International Canada doing to respond to COVID-19?

  • How is COVID-19 affecting your day-to-day operations?

  • How has Plan International Canada adapted the door-to-door fundraising program during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • What are your concerns for children, especially girls, and those who work in the field?

  • How will you continue to work towards your commitment to advance children’s rights and equality for girls?

  • How can I make changes to my monthly support?

  • What can I do?

  • I have more questions

  • How is my sponsored child and the family?

  • How does the travel suspension impact sponsored children?

  • Can I write to my sponsored child?

  • When can I expect to receive communications from my sponsored child?

  • How can I make changes to my monthly sponsorship?

  • What are you doing in affected countries?

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