Dana McNairn

Dana McNairn

For the last ten years Dana McNairn has worked for NGOs on the frontline of human rights and gender-based violence, as well as INGOs such as the Canadian Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. She is the CEO of KOTO, an award-winning nonprofit social enterprise and vocational training programme for at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.
Website URL: http://danamcnairn.com

One of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals is to eradicate extreme poverty. While in Vietnam it's been achieved, other countries are still struggling

As we head into the Lunar New Year and debts are paid off and homes swept clean to ensure health and success in the coming months, the UN has also done a bit of housekeeping. Put your thinking caps on. Quick! — name the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years. OK, can you name the old Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? Something about poverty and water, right?

I love bandwagons. It appears the objective of making a difference in the world is not just well, making a difference in someone’s life, now it’s about making the greatest difference.

Researchers in several different experiments have hooked up the brains of people while donating to their favourite charity and — whammo! — did the scientists have their socks knocked off. The test subjects’ brains lit up, mimicking the same physiological reaction as using cocaine or nicotine. I always thought doing charity was a trip, but it turns out, for some it’s addictive. Those warm fuzzies (the feel-good factor) are very real.

Three Hmong women weave material out of hemp in Ha Giang, the most northerly province of Vietnam. Ask nicely and they’ll sell you the material without the middle man

At this time of year our thoughts turn to holiday gift-giving (ack!). It may be that you’ve got family for whom you’d like to buy something ‘authentic’ or ‘meaningful’. Perhaps it’s client gifts, staff recognition or end-of-the-quarter teambuilding loot you’re after.

Despite promoting food security, projects like the World Food Program may not necessarily be sustainable

Over a coffee the other day I had a delightful conversation with a woman who, a few years ago, had been stationed in Guinea with a nonprofit working in microcredit and poverty alleviation. She was circumspect regarding the effect her international organisation may or may not have had, but she was grateful for her time overseas for what it had ended up teaching her.

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