Jennifer Naidoo Development and Communication Officer, Ethiopiaid Canada
Something I can't live without: Smooth coffee, good music and a green planet. Advice I give to my younger self: Change always comes with hard work, self-reflection and a process of constant (un)learning. How I keep it together: My sense of humour. I make a lot of “Dad jokes”.
Jennifer Naidoo is a Toronto local, a foodie, and a Development and Communication Officer at Ethiopiaid Canada, a member of a UK-based charity that generates funding for local charity partners in Ethiopia. It strives to empower women and girls through supporting local-led initiatives in poverty reduction, women’s health, training and education (vocational, midwifery, and higher education), and economic and social services for women and children with disabilities.
Jennifer, educated in international development with experience in the financial sector, has spent time living and working in Kenya, Thailand and Jamaica. She is passionate about creating impact on the ground and her hands-on approach to problem solving and collaborative spirit make her a changemaker. “One’s birthplace should not impact access to resources and opportunities. But it does. So, how can we change that? How can we level the playing field for those at a disadvantage? We can change that though education, healthcare, and economic empowerment”, says Jennifer.
Ethiopiaid Canada consists of 2 full-time employees, Jennifer and Executive Director, Olivier Bonnet, a seasoned non-for-profit trailblazer with extensive international experience. Part-time accountant, Merry, comes in to help with the books, and there is a desk for a volunteer, who comes occasionally to assist with processing donations and other office work. Lots of work gets done in the 140 sq. ft. office!
Working side-by-side with Jennifer over several months, implementing Salesforce, I have witnessed dedication and commitment to getting things done and moving the project forward. Thinking outside-of-the-box, focusing on donor segmentation and stewardship, juggling day-to-day operations and CRM implementation, rolling up the sleeves when required – are Jennifer’s traits, the traits of a changemaker. Sometimes it does not take a village to move the needle. But it always does take a changemaker.
Often, we underestimate the impact and reach of smaller organizations, like Ethiopiaid Canada, that make up a significant portion of our economy and take an active role in fighting for equality. We tend to focus on big and shiny, forgetting that real impact needs only one changemaker.