At Plan International USA, we believe that working with and through local partners is essential for strong sustainable development. Our Leadership and Capacity Development programs are grounded in an appreciation for the expertise and culture of local institutions and the professionals who work there. We believe that overarching systems, organizational capacity, and program quality are only as strong and sustainable as the people who lead, manage, and carry out the work.
In particular, Plan knows that when we invest in the power and potential of women, the returns are seen in healthier and better educated children; stronger and more economically resilient families; and vibrant and thriving communities. As a leading global rights organization, Plan recognizes that achieving a brighter future for all children and their communities requires investment in women as leaders, role models, and decision makers. To this end, Plan established the WomenLead Institute (WLI).
The WomenLead Institute
Through the acquisition of the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) in 2012, Plan acquired 40 years of expertise in strengthening women’s leadership, management, and technical competencies. Building on this strong foundation, WLI’s core mission is to enhance women’s confidence, capacity, and agency to fuel greater representation and impact of women in leadership positions across all sectors and institutions, with a focus on developing countries.
The poorest and most vulnerable populations across the globe are women. In many countries, they have limited or non-existent access to political influence, land ownership, credit, protections, or economic benefits. These and other gender inequalities inhibit self-assurance and restrict opportunities to become effective change agents.
However, with knowledge, conviction, and skills, women become leaders. By unlocking the potential of women leaders who in turn strengthen their organizations, we improve the status of women and ultimately advance sustainable development. In short, when women move forward, the world moves with them.
WLI specifically targets women from local institutions with little access to these types of learning opportunities, but who have the potential to influence the scope and scale of development projects across their nations. The immense multiplier effect of these women, who work on the front lines of development, sets WLI programs apart.
WLI's distinguished women-centered leadership services maximize women’s leadership potential, promote gender equality, and advance sustainable development in communities.
The WomenLead Institute makes a long-term investment in each woman leader through a suite of comprehensive and interconnected interventions:
- WLI Workshops foster personal and professional growth through highly-participatory and experiential learning methodologies and by creating a safe and enabling learning environment for self-reflection, peer-to-peer learning, and skills advancement.
- Woman-to-Woman Coaching connects women with Plan-trained coaches for one year of professional development and networking. Plan invests in its alumnae as coaches for other women so they can reinforce the application of new knowledge and skills; guide them in identifying approaches to address work-related challenges; and act as champions as they set and strive for their goals.
- Small Grants help to address funding obstacles facing local community-based organizations. The small grants program helps alumnae access resources to multiply their program results.
- Networking with and among alumnae is forged and sustained through private online groups, country and regional alumnae networks, and newsletters.
- Women for Girls connects with Plan’s “Because I am a Girl” movement to bring together alumnae and adolescent girls and young women for mentoring, skills development, and coalition building.