Plan International CEO: “Development sector sees IATI as the gold standard on transparency”

  • Sept. 29, 2017

Plan International has become IATI’s 84th member and we spoke to CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen on their decision to join the initiative.

Tell us about Plan International

Plan International is a development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We operate in over 70 countries around the globe and celebrated our 80th birthday this year by launching our new five year strategy – 100 Million Reasons.

How did Plan International find out about IATI?

Five of our national offices – Plan International Finland, UK, Ireland, Nederland, and USA have worked with IATI, having published data on the IATI Registry. Everyone in the development sector sees IATI as the gold standard on transparency.

Why have you decided to become a member?

Transparency is a trend which we expect will be a major factor in our continued success as an organisation. My ultimate goal would be that Plan International becomes a transparency leader in our sector by becoming an organisation that is happy to share (and indeed shout about) our successes and failures, cost structures, research and data in real time. Everything for all to see. No filters, no ‘for internal eyes only’.

Joining IATI will lead to a standardised way of measuring the material impact on the lives of girls that Plan’s interventions and campaigns has. Using the IATI Standard provides the basis for a standardised approach to this and will help us going forward working with our Country Offices on data collection and management. Ultimately this will lead to more effective interventions and provide us with authoritative data to inform our campaigns.

Why is transparency important to Civil Society Organisations?

I see a shift to greater transparency in our sector not as an add-on that will bring about a number of benefits, but a necessity for our survival. Gone are the days of people taking information at face value.

Citizens, and especially young people, challenge their political representatives on all levels. Patients challenge doctors on opinions and treatment options. Donors challenge charities on where their money goes and what impact it really has. For me, this level of challenge and empowerment is a great thing, but we need to respond to it in the right way. True transparency has to be simple and understandable to all audiences.

What information will you publish?

IATI gives us a way to communicate the most critical elements of our work in a format that can be consumed by many different public data users while helping to alleviate the need to produce multiple reports at different times of the year and for a wide range of individual stakeholders.

Once fully implemented, our IATI releases and those of other publishers will allow us to link our results and expenditure to those of our donors and implementing partners. We want to continue to increase the involvement of the girls we are working to empower, therefore a user-friendly data portal with access to all of our data and an additional avenue for civic engagement is key to bringing our strategy to life.

Who do you think will benefit from your data?

If we’re producing data just for the sake of it, we’re wasting everybody’s time. I’d like our information to benefit the children we represent, the individual and institutional donors who fund our work, our peers in our sector and ourselves.

Plan International are attending IATI’s Members’ Assembly in Rome next week. Are you looking forward to it?

Absolutely! We’re expecting to learn a lot from attending our first Members’ Assembly, and look forward to discussions with other members on transparency best practice and lessons learned.

How else would you like to be involved in the initiative?

We are excited about doing our part and are happy to be joining a growing list of member organisations that are putting transparency at the very core of our work, working to improve IATI as a standard and revolutionising the way we communicate across offices and with our partners.