LISBON, Portugal — UNFPA’s Goodwill Ambassador in Portugal, Catarina Furtado, delivered an unprecedented €253,000 (more than $340,000) contribution to UNFPA through its Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, at a ceremony attended by Portugal’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and two dozen journalists on 16 May. The donation is the largest ever received by UNFPA from Portugal.
“Being a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador is being a spokesperson for all the women and children who cannot speak for themselves and who need urgent help,” Ms. Furtado told the two dozen journalists at the ceremony. “This mission fills me with a huge sense of responsibility. UNFPA fights on a daily basis to ensure that all women, girls and children are treated with dignity and respect.”
The funds were raised during a 12-hour televised dance marathon hosted last December year by Ms. Furtado, one of Portugal’s best-known actresses and television personalities.
The funds raised during the telethon will be spent on a single project in a Lusophone country, to be selected jointly by UNFPA, Ms. Furtado and the Secretary of State. Portugal’s foreign assistance focuses on Lusophone countries – Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé & Principe in Africa, and Timor-Leste in Asia.
Ms. Obaid’s two-day visit to Portugal included meetings with several parliamentary commissions and groups, government commissioners, and a wide range of non-governmental groups working on reproductive health, human rights, HIV/AIDS and women.
“Maternal death as an indicator has not changed in 30 years,” she told parliamentarians. “We know that three basic interventions work: trained birth attendants to help women deliver in clean and healthy surroundings, health units that offer emergency obstetric care, and family planning to space their children.”
— Leyla Alyanak