Plan International is committed to improving the lives of women and girls around the world. Their work delivering long-term development programs has made them one of the most respected and trusted International NGOs.


In 2018, Polykala was engaged to design and deliver whole-of-staff training for Plan International (Australia) to enhance the culture of Plan International and ensure that the high standards of practice in their international aid and development work were reflected in their internal culture.

The team at Plan International were looking for an innovative and practical approach to the exploration of diversity and inclusion in their workplace. Belonging to the international NGO community of practice in Australia, the People & Culture team at Plan had heard about our work with Oxfam International Australia and were looking for something similar.


The values of Plan International were central to the design of the sessions. Their commitment to inclusivity, empowerment and collaboration fit neatly within our approach to diversity and inclusion.

Like all of our sessions focussing on inclusive leadership, we start from the beginning. The terms diversity and inclusion have been doing a lot of heavy lifting recently. At times, the meaning of the terms can be lost or confused. Put simply, diversity is the range of human variation that exists within a context, from the different demographic features that we are composed of or the different ways in which we process and respond to the world around us. Inclusion, on the other hand, are the actions that we take (individually or collectively) to ensure people feel a sense of belonging within that context.

The next element of the training opened up a conversation around a range of scenarios, ranging from benign, ambiguous and objectionable, that take place at work and the way in which we tend to interpret the grey areas differently according to a combination of our demographic and cognitive components.

Finally, the session focussed on conversational principles and approaches. Participants honed their skills of asking tough questions, disagreeing better and truly listening to people’s distinct intentions and experiences. The landscape around diversity and inclusion will continue to change as we become more aware, and sensitive to, the lives and experiences of our colleagues and those that we seek to empower through development initiatives.


We delivered the training to the entire organisation of over 100 staff members across 2018 and 2019. It was a pleasure to contribute to, and support, the work of an inspiring organisation that has an immeasurable impact on the lives of women and girls across the world.

“It was the best facilitation I have ever experienced in a training. The open and friendly style encouraged me to participate.”

Training participant


Plan International


2018 – 2019

Number of participants


Number of sessions



Melbourne (VIC)