Skip Navigation Links
MyPlan Login
kids outside a school in Ghana


How do we respond to crisis with humanitarian assistance?

Plan International Canada has been doing humanitarian assistance work since 2007 and it continues to be our fastest growing portfolio. We aim to be one of the first responders in the event of a crisis. Our Country, Regional and National Offices are equipped with staff and resources ready to be deployed in the event of an emergency. With a large and highly technical staff based out of the Plan International Canada office, we are uniquely positioned to provide operational support to our country teams with quick deployments and urgent fundraising capacity both with Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian public.

Depending on the stage of the crisis, Plan Canada’s Emergencies and Humanitarian Assistance team will develop and manage grants ranging between 4 months and 3 years. Often, once a short-term grant is completed, donors such as WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, and Education Cannot Wait will issue follow on grants once the immediate emergency phase has ended, allowing our teams to support recovery efforts.

Where does Plan International Canada have Humanitarian Assistance projects?

World map of Plan International Canada’s humanitarian assistance during emergencies
Map of Cameroon, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Maroua, Garoua, Bamenda, Bertoua, Biteng and Yaounde


In Cameroon we focus on refugees living in urban settings and in remote camps. Projects ensure children have access to both primary and secondary education, taught by qualified instructors. Adolescents and young adults receive livelihoods training and skills development to enable them to gain employment. In partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), Plan International also distributes food to approximately 78,000 refugees living in camps. These activities are supported by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and WFP.

Map of Nigeria, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Abuja, Sokoto, Zamfara, Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa, Lagos and Cross River


In Nigeria we support several food security responses in Borno state, including through cash assistance, general food distributions and livelihoods support. Plan International is also providing support to young women and adolescent girls who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) through case management, counselling and referrals, as well as peer support groups and educational sessions through safe spaces. Our work in Nigeria is supported by WFP and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Map of Ethiopia, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Addis Ababa, Amhara, Gambella, Oromia, South Ethiopia


In Ethiopia, Plan International promotes access to quality education for refugee children as well as their host community counterparts, with a focus on education for girls, in Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz. The interventions focus on building the capacity of teachers, school governance structures, parents and community members to prioritize education for children, especially girls, while also improving learning environments. Humanitarian activities in Ethiopia are supported by UNICEF and UNHCR.

Map of Uganda, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Kampala, West Nile, Northern, East Central and Eastern districts


In Uganda we are supporting education for South Sudanese refugee children, by constructing additional classrooms, training teachers, and supplying learners with books and scholastic materials. Plan International is also constructing water and sanitation facilities to increase access to clean water and prevent illness, while strengthening local child protection systems and providing protection services. These activities are supported by Education Cannot Wait and GAC.

Map of Malawi, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Mzuzu, Kasungu, Mulanje


Plan International supports several food security projects in Balaka and Machinga. In partnership with WFP, interventions have focused on climate change and resilience support to smallholder farmers as well as food distributions during the lean season. We also provide assistance to refugees in Dzaleka camp, through distribution of food and core relief items, and the delivery of protection and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) services. This work is supported by UNHCR and WFP.

Map of Rwanda, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Gaisibo, Bugesara, Nyaruguru


Plan International is working in six refugee camps to improve the protection of refugee children and to counsel families on nutrition and maintenance of a balanced diet while living in the camps. The project focuses on addressing the root causes of child neglect via assessments and awareness raising campaigns. Similarly, the project develops outreach events and establishes nutrition clubs where maternal, infant and young child nutrition messages are conveyed and encourages the use of kitchen gardens and demonstrations to enable families to grow nutrition vegetables for the household. These humanitarian projects are supported by UNHCR and WFP.

Map of Sudan, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Northern Kordofan, White Nile and Kassala


In Sudan, Plan International is strengthening the capacity of WFP and implementing partner staff to remain accountable to beneficiaries, in order to meet their hunger needs in a manner that reflects their views and preferences. At the same time, this project ensures affected populations benefit from WFP interventions in a manner that ensures and promotes their safety, dignity and integrity.

Map of Tanzania, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work Geita, Mwanza, Nkasi, Ifakara, Kisarawe


Plan International and UNICEF have partnered to strengthen the protection of Burundian refugee children in two refugee camps of Kigoma Region. We provide unaccompanied and vulnerable children with case management services, psychosocial support and safe alternative care as well as positive parenting training for caregivers.

Map of Zimbabwe, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Harare, Kwekwe, Manicaland, Bulawayo, Chirdzi


Plan International implements a nutrition project in health centres in Mutasa district, where the rates of stunting are the highest in the country. The objective is to reduce levels of malnutrition and stunting in children between 6 and 24 months. This work is supported by WFP.

Map of Jordan, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Al-Mafraq, Marka, Azraq refugee camp


Plan International in partnership with Dubai Cares is providing access to early childhood education for Syrian refugee and Jordanian children by establishing and equipping kindergarten classrooms, training teachers and providing a condensed summer program to prepare children to enter grade one. The project also includes an education technology component to supplement the children’s learning via a mobile app, in partnership with Ustad Mobile and Lamsa World.

Map of Colombia, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work

Colombia & Ecuador

Plan International in partnership with Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is implementing a regional response program to improve access to quality, protective and equitable education for out-of-school refugee and migrant children and adolescents from Venezuela as well as those from host communities. Classrooms and latrines within educational institutions that are receiving high numbers of Venezuelan migrant children are also being rehabilitated.

Map of Bangladesh, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur, Dhaka North, Gazipur, Dhaka, Bhola, Barguna and Coxs Bazar


In Bangladesh, we are addressing the protection needs of Rohingya children, especially girls, living in refugee camps bordering Myanmar. Activities focus on combatting negative gender norms and ensuring children are protected through the provision of child-friendly spaces, awareness raising and training for children, adolescents and parents. These humanitarian programs are supported by GAC, the Humanitarian Coalition and funds donated by the Canadian public.

Map of Myanmar, humanitarian assistance and emergencies, Plan International Canada work in Kachin, Nyaung U, Sittwe and Taungup


With support from WFP, Plan International is addressing the causes of stunting in Kachin state through cash distributions to pregnant and lactating women thereby increasing household spending power, increasing awareness of nutrition, empowering women and stimulating the market. In Rakhine state, unconditional food and/or cash assistance is delivered to crisis-affected populations in six camps with special provisions made for households who are the most vulnerable.

What do our humanitarian assistance projects focus on?

Plan International Canada works with our local office and UN agencies to focus on education, child protection, adolescent girls in crises, food security and livelihoods, and more to help with the recovery and transitional phase once immediate needs are met. Our programming is led by our country office with local experts and is designed to maintain the dignity of community members while helping them become more resilient. After the emergency aid is delivered, we work with and for children, especially girls, to ensure that their needs are met and that their rights are protected.


Girls in school receive humanitarian assistance for education during emergencies

Education is an urgent priority in emergencies because it:

  • Saves lives and provides a safe space for children, where they are protected from physical harm, early marriages, sexual exploitation, child labour and being recruited as child soldiers
  • Is a key vehicle through which children can learn about preventable diseases, nutrition, hygiene and other life-saving topics
  • Provides space to teach new life skills, such as peace, tolerance, conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, environmental conservation and disaster risk reduction
  • Brings routine, stability, structure and hope to children's lives, and improves psychosocial wellbeing
  • Continues vulnerable children’s learning, to ensure bright futures for them, their families, communities and countries.

Education is a fundamental right, yet in times of conflict and disaster it is often significantly disrupted, denying millions of girls and boys the opportunity to have a safe and quality education.

Schools are, in many instances, occupied by armed groups or used as evacuation shelters, making education impossible.

Globally, 35% of all out-of-school children of primary age, 25% of all out-of-school adolescents of lower secondary age, and 18% of all out-of-school youth of upper secondary age live in conflict-affected areas.

Plan International’s Education in Emergencies (EiE) programming strives to provide quality formal and non-formal education opportunities that meet the needs of children affected by humanitarian crises. Our work has a particular focus on adolescent girls who are among the worst affected by disasters. As part of our work we ensure they receive the emotional support they need to recover from their experiences.

Our EiE work involves being prepared before an emergency – including teacher training and ensuring buildings are safe. We also implement EiE work immediately following a crisis or disaster, and through all phases of the response.

 Read more

Child protection

Child sitting with arms crossed in need of humanitarian assistance for child protection

Disasters, conflicts and other crises can have devastating effects on children’s lives. Structures and systems that protect children and support their positive development are often undermined or damaged.

As a result, children are exposed to new threats, such as loss of or separation from their families, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and recruitment into armed groups. Children may also be at higher risks of experiencing harmful labour and child marriage.

Plan International works with children, their families, communities and local authorities to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation against children with urgent, life-saving actions. Our programs ensure the protection needs of children are met, with particular attention paid to the unique risks faced by adolescent girls.

Adolescent Girls in Crises

Adolescent girl collecting wood -humanitarian assistance benefits.

Plan International research shows that adolescent girls are one of the groups most at risk when disasters strike.

As a result of existing gender inequality and discrimination, adolescent girls are more likely to drop out of school, suffer from violence and discrimination, marry early, become pregnant and lose their livelihoods during disasters. In short, disasters stand in the way of girls’ ability to reach their potential and thrive.

Disasters overwhelmingly affect the countries that can least afford to deal with them – 9 out of 10 take place in the developing world.

Adolescent girls are often overlooked and excluded from protection responses, which fail to address their unique vulnerabilities. These issues have devastating effects on girls’ education, making them less likely to access life-saving information, such as where to go in the event of a disaster, or how climate change impacts lives.

Plan International is advocating at a global level to ensure the needs and rights of girls are included in disaster policies and programs. This includes changing attitudes that cause gender-based violence, providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and ensuring economic opportunities.

Following emergencies, we support girls’ immediate needs and their rights. Addressing adolescent girls’ specific needs is essential to reducing the impact of crises and ensuring girls are able to thrive.

 Read more

Food Security and Livelihoods

Adolescent girl smiling and eating healthy food provided by humanitarian assistance

Plan International provides lifesaving assistance to acute food-insecure populations throughout Africa, Asia, and South America. Our support includes direct food distributions, cash distributions or food vouchers as a way of providing immediate and urgent assistance. Plan International proactively reduces the risks of exploitation and abuse amongst the communities where we are present, by introducing gender sensitive approaches in the design and implementation of all projects.

Through General Food Distribution (GFD), Food Assistance for Assets (FFA), climate-smart agronomic practices, and sustainable livelihoods initiatives, all projects aim to respond to gender and age-specific needs, and advance women’s engagement and economic empowerment. Our programming provides targeted support for acutely malnourished groups, such as pregnant and lactating women and children under 5 years old through supplementary cash/voucher assistance for pre-natal and post-natal needs, nutritional education campaigns involving all caregivers, school-feeding, targeted supplementary feeding programs (TSFP) and/or blanket supplementary feeding programs (BSFP).

We also allocate staff and financial resources to advance women’s leadership through establishment of:

    • Gender and age-inclusive community-based spaces, structures, and child/gender protection committees,
    • Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) that provide income generating opportunities and lead to economic empowerment.
    • Awareness raising campaigns, case management and complaints/feedback processes and documentation to protect and support vulnerable groups.

Even in emergency contexts Plan International seeks to implement long-term solutions that are created with the effected community. Our work tackles immediate and urgent needs but also  addresses structural causes of crises and seeks to improve food and nutrition security while also building capacity and resilience through community-led rehabilitation, preparedness and environmental management to reduce  the impact of future disasters.  

 Read more

Explore Plan International Canada's reports and publications on emergencies.

 Read our emergencies reports

What can YOU do?

Young boy stands alone in clean clothes is appealing to you for humanitarian assistance during emergencies for all children

Make a donation

Support our ongoing humanitarian work through one of these appeals.

Donate now
oung female child held by mother appealing for humanitarian assistance during emergencies

Purchase a Gift of Hope

Help us reach more children in need of life-saving essentials and services.

Shop now