Plan International USA surpasses 0 million campaign goal to fight gender inequality

The We Are the Girls campaign supported girl-led programming internationally and in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Plan International USA surpassed its’ $200 million fundraising goal for its We Are the Girls campaign. The funds raised as part of the campaign are supporting girl-led programs that fight gender inequality internationally and in the U.S.

Over the past five years, the campaign has impacted the lives of more than 15.5 million people through programs focused on girls’ unique needs. In a quest to change the way the world sees girls, and the way girls see themselves, Plan developed an approach called GirlEngage. GirlEngage places girls at the center and includes them as a critical partner from program design to implementation to evaluation.

“We set out to ensure that girls were safe, educated and economically empowered,” Shanna Marzilli, chief executive officer and president of Plan International USA, said. “What we found is that girls are best positioned to understand and solve the challenges they face. When given resources and opportunities, they can lead positive change in their communities.”

An example of GirlEngage in action is The Graduation Project in Zimbabwe, which is focused on increasing the number of girls who complete secondary school. Many girls travelled long distances to school and would stay in unsafe places, like abandoned buildings, during the week to avoid the lengthy trip. When Plan decided to build dormitories, it was assumed girls would want things like WiFi and technology. However, when asked, girls were most concerned about safety, requesting features like a barbed wire fence and a female security guard. This challenged assumptions, but allowed for a dorm to be built that better fit the needs of girls. As one participant noted, “this project is for us, by us.” Today, the dormitories are at full capacity.

“GirlEngage is providing girls with the tools to choose their future rather than have it dictated for them,” Vicki Escarra, campaign cabinet chair and managing member of Boston Consulting Group, said. “I have been so inspired not only by the girls themselves, but also by those who saw the potential of girls and have supported this campaign. I am excited to see what can be accomplished next!”

Inspired by the suite of projects developed by We Are the Girls, Plan mobilized support from nearly 300,000 individual, corporate and foundation donors. The resources raised by the campaign were also used in the U.S. to partner with young people through leadership training community-building. In addition, Plan worked with Unsplash, the internet’s source of freely usable visuals, to portray girls on their own terms and change Unsplash’s search algorithm to feature real, confident girls.

Building on the campaign’s successes, Plan is creating additional programs in new communities to inspire even more transformational change alongside adolescent girls. As the world faces crises and growing inequality, you can join in the fight to achieve gender equality by joining Plan’s community of We Are the Girls activists.

About Plan International USA
Powered by supporters, Plan International USA partners with adolescent girls, and their communities, around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality. We provide the support and resources that are unique to their needs and the needs of their communities, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety. Founded in 1937, Plan is an independent development and humanitarian organization that is active in more than 80 countries.

For more information, and to learn about our commitment to safeguarding, please visit

SOURCE Plan International USA

(PRNewsfoto/Plan International USA)

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