Diversity, equity and inclusion at Plan

Diversity, equity and inclusion are core parts of Plan USA’s work

We bring people together to fight for children, regardless of race, sex or nationality. Together, we stand up for the values of equality and equity, building from the belief that every child deserves to be healthy, go to school and dream big. We focus on girls because their needs are great, and their challenges are unique. We’ve created change — but there is much more to do.

Each culture has something to give, that a steamroller flattening into one shape is absurd, that ‘unity in multiplicity’ can be the motif for a Federation of the good in all her cultures, a federation of cultures wider than any the world has ever seen.

— Plan International’s Co-founder, John Langdon-Davies

As members of the international development community, we acknowledge that our sector has often been part of the problem. Despite good intentions, foreign aid has too often perpetuated unequal power dynamics, ultimately inhibiting change, rather than encouraging it. International development is steeped in colonialism, and too many organizations are more invested in maintaining current systems than they are in creating real solutions.

Plan believes deeply in community-led change and has created an approach through which we work alongside children, families, local institutions and leaders to achieve sustainable impact. With the communities’ agendas at the forefront, we work steadily to support their efforts to build technical capacity and leadership skills, so they can play a central and sustainable role in their own progress. We mobilize people to form and share their common agenda, and we also partner with local organizations as advocates and service providers.

Plan partnered with Unsplash, the internet’s source of freely usable visuals, to revamp stock images that represent girls in all their diversity and strength. Through the partnership, photographers were challenged to submit photos that show girls authentically, and a group of girls chose their favorites — this was one of the winning photos.

Current initiatives

DEI in our programs

Plan incorporates DEI into its programs with the assistance of a task force dedicated to this work. The task force examines and advises on Plan’s commitment for girls’ rights by contributing to the development of proposals, training staff, elevating Plan’s gender integration model and ensuring that a gender-transformative approach is infused into a variety of projects in different social and cultural contexts. Plan’s programs strive to focus on those who are most often excluded due to sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ability, ethnicity, religion, location or other attributes.

In the Philippines, 12 young people who participate in Plan’s Safer Cities for Girls program transformed one of the community’s unsafe alleyways into a space of inclusivity and safety through street art.

Participation in DEI coalitions

Plan is proud to be a part of two coalitions of nonprofit organizations dedicated to achieving the highest standards of diversity, equity and inclusion: the Coalition for Racial & Ethnic Equity in Development and the InterAction DEI Compact. CREED is an alliance of international development and humanitarian assistance organizations dedicated to instilling racial and ethnic equity as a core principle in the sector. InterAction is the largest alliance of international nongovernmental organizations in the United States, and its DEI Compact represents members’ commitment to help our sector develop a culture across organizations that champions DEI with its practices, incentives and accountability.


DEI and Plan staff

Plan USA currently offers several staff affinity groups. Affinity groups are organization-sponsored, facilitated spaces where employees can celebrate shared identities, and debrief common challenges and experiences that members of the identity group face. To ensure a safe space, groups are for members of an identity group only, not for allies or observers. Affinity groups are staff initiated and led, in order to foster authentic conversations and communities.

Our team also works to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our communication materials. Plan staff members are committed to supporting authentic, first-person storytelling, as in our “In her own words” series. And, we are constantly refining and updating the language we use, so that we can depict the work that we do to fight stigma without perpetuating it.

You can find more information about Plan’s DEI work across our various national offices by visiting the global website.

Plan International USA

Your contribution is tax deductible.

Your gift to Plan International USA will be used where needed most, to help create sustainable change and address the root causes of poverty and inequality. Donations can support programs, innovation, and infrastructure required to deliver our programs to girls and children worldwide, in areas such as protection, education, health, sanitation, disaster relief and economic empowerment.