ANNE-BIRGITTE ALBRECTSEN: Chief Executive Officer, Plan International


At Plan International, we have set ourselves a bold ambition for the next five years. We will work with millions of others to achieve something amazing. We will take action so 100 million girls learn, lead, decide and thrive.

Girls like Jacqueline. She was forced to spend the last 7 years of her childhood as a sex worker. Now with our help, she’s learnt a new trade, and is training to become an electrician.


Nkatha was 9 when her grandmother held her down to be subjected to female genital mutilation. Now aged 16 she is angry.

“I am bitter because I do not know where they took that part of my body,” she said. “There is nothing I can do to change the past. Why me?”

The rights violations that Jacqueline and Nkatha faced are all too common. There are millions of girls like them who we can empower to achieve their rights.

We don’t know who they all are yet. Or what they need. But we will – that is our ambition. After all, we have 100 million reasons to act.


We will tackle the root causes that lead to the inequality girls face at community, national and global levels.

Through our work in communities, we will change attitudes and behaviours that deny girls their rights. And we will press for changes in laws, policies and budgets to achieve large-scale improvements in the lives of girls.

But we can’t act alone. We can only empower more girls like Jacqueline and Nkatha through a movement of people as passionate as we are about creating a fairer world for girls.

If progress to achieve real gender equality continues at current rates, it will take decades for girls and boys to be treated as equals. This has to change, and we have no time to lose.

A year in to the Sustainable Development Goals, with their promise to leave no-one behind, and we have a real chance to do that. Every government in the world has signed up to deliver real, sustainable change. But that ambition will never be realised without a greater focus on gender equality.


We know that girls have the power to change the world. That’s why they are front and centre of our ambition – not as passive recipients, but as active drivers of change.

Girls are calling out for change. We will encourage and protect them, and inspire people everywhere to stand with them.

It’s the school girl who demands separate lockable latrines so she and her friends can come to class free from fear of harassment or assault.

It’s the young girl striving to become a village leader and one day to become president.

It’s the teenager who bravely attends a march on girls’ rights, adding her voice to those demanding change.

Girls like Nkatha. Now more aware of the dangers of female genital mutilation, Nkatha wants the authorities and organisations like Plan International to protect girls from harmful practices. “I hope that my younger sister will not have to go through what I went through,” says Nkatha.

Girls are calling out for change. We will encourage and protect them, and inspire people everywhere to stand with them.

Together, we can all take action so that 100 million girls learn, lead, decide and thrive.

Join the global movement for girls’ rights


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Plan International's new ambition will see us work with 100 million girls to transform their lives in the next five years, writes CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen.