Staff Profile: Maria João Paiva Nazareth
On reading a newspaper posting for a consultancy job with MEASURE Evaluation, Maria João Paiva Nazareth’s first reaction was to turn the other way. Fortunately, curiosity got the best of her. “I told my friends I would not apply because I knew, if I did, MEASURE Evaluation would call me. And that’s what happened!” From the moment she accepted the position, Nazareth has remained deeply involved with MEASURE Evaluation and enthusiastic about its projects.
Nazareth, now serving as the Resident Advisor of MEASURE Evaluation in Mozambique, had to think twice when asked how long she had been working for the organization. “Five years,” she said matter-of-factly. “Well, no, let’s see. I only arrived in 2007. It feels like a long, long time because I feel like MEASURE is my home!”
She was born in San Tome e Principe but has split most of her life between Brazil and Mozambique. She holds multiple degrees in architecture and sociology, and she taught architecture at the university level in Brazil for 18 years. She still considers architecture to be her passion, and to many people this may seem like a disparate path from M&E work. Nazareth disagrees.
“It’s a question of creation. And it’s all capacity building and learning how to perform projects. I’m still teaching people, but not students in a university. It’s not so different,” she explained.
Nazareth spoke proudly of her office’s work on the SIRN (Information System of the National Response to HIV) project, which is run by the National AIDS Council in Mozambique. Essentially, it’s an HIV information gathering system. After 18 months of work, they have collected data from almost 90 percent of the country. “I think this is something we did very well,” she said.
Although Nazareth admitted that she is a “workaholic,” she makes an effort to fit in other activities. She goes to the gym three times per week for a dance class, which ranges from ballet to Michael Jackson. She loves to travel and wants to spend her next holiday in Greece. Perhaps most important, though, is finding time to spend with her family – three children, three nieces and nephews, two grandsons and one on the way. “I hope to start a football team with all of them,” she remarked half-jokingly. Until then, though, Nazareth will continue to channel her energy toward her work at MEASURE Evaluation.
“The possibility to study, to brainstorm – I think this is a very good thing about MEASURE Evaluation. We are always encouraged to study and facilitate our lives more,” she said.