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

All industries have their impenetrable jargon and Orwellian weirdness and nonprofits are no different (ack, ‘synergise learnings’!). But there’s one word in particular that makes me grit my teeth. It’s time to lose ‘beneficiaries’ for once and for all. No really; all of them.

When I was a working journalist it was drummed into our heads that “If it bleeds, it leads.” This means tonight’s top stories will always be about death, mayhem and tragedy. ‘Feel good’ stories were saved for the end of the broadcast or ghettoised in the Lifestyle section of a newspaper. So-called ‘puff’ pieces lacked tension, human drama and (so we were told) compelling narrative.

International Women’s Day is a major day of celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women around the world. Vietnam has much to celebrate in its efforts to tackle domestic violence and sexual discrimination. Commemorative days are crucial to raising awareness of situations that affect women and children, like human trafficking.

Demystifying social enterprises

When I’m asked what I do for a living, I invariably try different approaches to the same answer. People intuit I ‘do good’, or something, but they’re not quite sure how.

A Reading List for Changemakers

What you need to know before you buy that family a goat

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