Third Sector Awards 2017: Big Impact Award - Plan International UK

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Awarded to a project that has had a substantial impact on national or international life

Who was involved in the project?

Plan International UK decided to overhaul the way it thought about campaigning when it set out to tackle child marriage in Malawi. Working directly with a group of young advocates in Malawi, it asked them to speak directly to supporters and put their voices and experiences at the heart of the creative campaign.

What was the project?

Plan International UK created an online petition to support the young advocates’ campaign, recruiting a global audience to stand in solidarity with them. The campaign was launched in July 2016 and was promoted in the UK with the support of celebrities including Katherine Ryan, Julia Bradbury, and Eliza and Eniola Aluko. The petition was presented to the First Lady of Malawi at a specially convened Girls Conference in Lilongwe in September 2016.

What did it achieve?

In February 2017, after continued pressure by the young campaigners, a historic amendment was made to the Malawian constitution to fully outlaw child marriage. The authorities in Malawi cited Plan International UK’s international efforts as helping to drive their commitment. Globally, the charity gathered 42,301 signatures in support of the youth advocates and recruited 4,678 campaigners in the UK who had not previously supported Plan International.

What did the judges say?

"It's refreshing to see an international NGO put faith in local campaigners to lobby for positive change," said Prem Goyal, chief executive of Global Markets Consultants. "Plan International showed an incredible amount of faith in its young campaigners, something that other charities could learn from. Ultimately, the campaign was successful, with strong evidence suggesting that Plan International's contribution played the decisive role."


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