Plan International Canada is the Canadian arm of the relief organization Plan International, a not-for-profit global movement that promotes social justice for youth and their families in more than 65 developing countries and several continents.
Plan International and Plan International Canada have no political or religious affiliation.
History and background
During the Spanish Civil War in 1937, as many as 11,000 refugees a day were passing through the railway station at Santander in Spain. Many were orphaned children. Among them, was a little boy whose father had pencilled this note:
"This is José. I am his father. When Santander falls I shall be shot. Whoever finds my son, I beg of him to take care of him for my sake."
A British journalist, John Langdon-Davies, met the orphaned boy with this note and was inspired to found ‘Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain’ to help children whose lives were disrupted by the war.
Langdon-Davies’ organization expanded to help children from all over Europe who were displaced by the war, listening to their dreams and aspirations while equipping them with the skills and knowledge to improve their lives and make a better future. This approach is still very much at the core of Plan's work today with 3.5 million families and their children in over 25,000 communities in developing countries around the world
Here’s a brief timeline of Plan’s evolution:
1930s - Plan was founded as "Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain."
1940s - During World War II, the organization became known as "Foster Parents Plan for War Children" and worked in England, helping displaced children from all over Europe. After the war, Plan extended aid to children in France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece and briefly in Poland, Czechoslovakia and China.
1950s - As Europe recovered, Plan gradually moved out of these countries and opened new programs in less developed countries. It became "Foster Parents Plan Inc." to reflect the goal of bringing lasting change to the lives of children in need, whatever their circumstances.
1960s - Foster Parents Plan of Canada was incorporated in 1968. Plan expanded its work to countries in South America and Asia. In 1962, U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was honorary chairwoman during Plan's Silver Jubilee.
1970s - In 1974, the global name became Plan International as programs now spanned South America, Asia and Africa.
1980s - Belgium, Germany, Japan and the UK joined Canada, the US, Australia and the Netherlands as donor countries. Plan was recognised by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
1990s - Plan offices opened in France, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the Republic of Korea.
2000s - The name Plan International evolved to simply be "Plan" and a unified global identity was created to help make the organization more easily recognized around the world. In 2006, Foster Parents Plan in Canada also changed its name to Plan and the logo was updated to reflect this name change.
2015 - Plan rebrands again as Plan International with an updated logo that reflects the scope of their international work.
Plan International Canada attempts to break the cycle of poverty by helping children and adults living in developing countries use their ideas, talents and energies to shape their future. Before choosing a work site, Plan International Canada analyzes the community’s poverty statistics; infant mortality rates (countries with more than 25 deaths per 1,000 live births are given priority); Gross National Product (GNP) (GNP per capital should be less than $1,700USD); and other factors that are key elements of determining Plan Canada’s long-term regional success. With help from trained volunteers and donations from benefactors, Plan Canada assists community participants in a number of areas, including: building schools, educating teachers, digging wells, opening health clinics, providing vocational training, using technology to improve crop yields, giving people access to small business loans, and providing disaster-related humanitarian assistance.
On average, Plan International Canada works with communities for 10–12 years before phasing out operations in that area. Supported by donors, Plan International Canada assists children and families in becoming active participants in their communities’ development. Worldwide, approximately nine million individuals have become involved in Plan and Plan Canada’s child-centered initiatives.
Mission and funding
Plan International Canada’s long-term goal is to empower children, their families and the members of their communities to improve living conditions, establish grassroots organizations, and work with local and national governments. Plan Canada focuses the main thrust of its energies on the children in poorer developing countries’ communities, namely those of Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, Central America and South America.
Private and corporate donors have a number of options available to them when giving to Plan International Canada. Many choose to sponsor children by making contributions; in exchange for their contributions, benefactors are given the opportunity to exchange letters and photographs with their sponsored child(ren). Other donors choose to fund projects, assist during and after crises and/or bequest monies to Plan Canada.
Plan International Canada donations are pooled centrally. Funds are then allocated based on in-country developed strategic plans, with a focus on supporting children-related operations and ventures. Typically, 20% of funds raised go to support Plan Canada’s operations, public education and fundraising as per Plan’s 80:20 rule of allocation.
Plan International Canada adheres to the standards of the Imagine Canada Ethical Fundraising and Financial Accountability Code and supports the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Donor Bill of Rights.
Plan International and Plan International Canada have been a part of numerous international projects and initiatives, including:
- January 2011 - Plan Canada's Because I Am a Girl (campaign) wins a Gold Cassie in the not-for-profit category. (http://www.cassies.ca/)
- January 2010 - With over 30 year's experience on the ground, Plan Canada is one of the first NGOs to react to the Haiti earthquake (http://plancanada.ca/haiti). Plan is one of 9 NGOs benefiting from a one-hour national telethon called Canada for Haiti which raises $13.5M from the Canadian public.
- September 2009 - Plan announced a $100M Campaign to support girls rights and a website to engage youth to advocate for girls (http://becauseIamagirl.ca)
- May 2009–Plan announced its intent to distribute 300,000 IDPs of aid to Sri Lanka.
- April 2009–Plan received $900,000 CDN from Slumdog Millionaire filmmakers to improve the lives of children and their families in Mumbai’s poorer communities.
- April 2009–Plan Canada partnered with clothing company Olsen Europe to establish a new line of clothing, the Friendship Collection.
- January 2009–Plan Canada’s partnership with The Girls’ Rights Program resulted in a Girls’ Rights Tour. The Girls’ Rights Tour emphasizes self-esteem and awareness of women’s issues.
- January 2009–Plan’s short film, Flood Children of Holdibari, won first place in the World Bank’s Social Dimensions of Climate Change section of their international film festival.
- December 2008–Plan Canada shipped medical supplies to Zimbabwe to combat the cholera outbreak there.
- July 2008–Plan Canada launched its Global Food Crisis Report and announced a $750 million funding initiative.
- November 2007–Plan Canada traveled to Haiti with R&B singer George Nozuka to film a documentary on restaveks, child slaves, in Haiti.
- "About Plan". Plan Canada. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- "Humanitarian Coalition - Who we are". The Humanitarian Coalition. Retrieved 17 October 2012.