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  • Mar 08, 2017

Mafalda Duarte on Balancing the Personal and the Professional

Mafalda Duarte 

More than fifteen years ago, I decided to become a development professional. Since then, I have lived most of this time in developing countries and worked with governments and other stakeholders around the world in the design and implementation of policies, programs and projects that can make a real difference in people’s lives, especially the poor.

Having seen areas impacted by droughts, coastal erosion and heavy rain in cities like Maputo or Jakarta, and the human suffering that comes with it, I couldn’t see anything more important than to focus my professional life on the cause of climate change. From the most vulnerable people in the world, to those I care about and love the most and even all humanity, frankly. 


I want to be part of the solution.

I encourage all women to pursue their dreams and to dedicate their energy and talents to issues they really care about, despite the risks and any challenges they will face.  I can empathize with them because I know how difficult it can be, trying to balance our professional and personal lives: feeling guilty because we need to travel and leave our children with our spouses or other caretakers; missing family events because we had to work long hours. 

So, on this International Women's Day, I want to say to female colleagues developing their careers, remember to be patient and to persevere. Never think you're alone and do reach out to others for support or just to share experiences.