Localization & lasting impact

Plan International works at the grassroots level on a global scale, with an annual budget of $900 million and a network of more than 600,000 trained community volunteers.

With the communities’ agenda at the forefront, we work steadily over 10 to 15 years to build people’s technical capacity and leadership skills, so they can play a central and sustainable role in their own progress. We mobilize people to give voice to their common agenda, and we also partner with local civil society as advocates and service providers.

The citizens and nongovernmental organizations advocate and convince their governments to respond, while we help increase the capacity of government staff to provide the requested services. Due to this partnership model, local and national governments regularly adopt our programs, facilities, and staff as their own, achieving long-term sustainability.

As a result, independent evaluations have found our programs still delivering services and benefits to the communities five to nine years after we had exited the area.

At the most basic level, we are working to impart our skills, knowledge, and expertise to local actors. Our partnership guidelines lay out the five stages of the transition – a lengthy process that requires a long-term commitment to the principles and practices of local ownership and sustainability, but which yields the vital end goal of sustainable and meaningful impact.

Initially, we support local and national nongovernmental organizations to implement projects. At the second stage, we work together to implement projects that include shared decision-making and accountability, plus capacity development. Next, local nongovernmental organization priorities become part of Plan’s long-term partnership strategy. In the fourth phase, program design is led by national NGOs with Plan’s support, and national NGOs are systematically consulted in Plan’s policies and strategies. In the final phase, Plan country offices in places like Colombia and India have been spun off to become independent members of local civil society in their own right.