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Catarina Furtado was born August 25, 1972, in Lisbon, Portugal. Though she had early dreams of becoming a ballerina, Catarina's father, renowned television reporter Joaquim Furtado, wanted Catarina to follow in his footsteps and pirouette into journalism. After graduating from Escola de Danca do Conservatorio Nacional de Lisboa in 1990, a dance school in Lisbon, Catarina followed her father's wishes, and studied journalism at CENJOR, in Portugal.
Today, Catarina Furtado is one of Portugal's most popular celebrities. She has done a variety of work for Portugal's leading media companies as a host, interviewer, actress, and spokesperson.
Catarina was named as the Face to Face campaign spokesperson for her country in 1999, working closely with UNFPA’s partner in the campaign, the Family Planning Association of Portugal (APF). Ms. Furtado has produced several public service announcements highlighting sexual and reproductive rights and women's problems in developing countries for the campaign in Portugal. The announcements have run on all of the country’s major television stations. The television campaign has increased the public commitment of Portuguese government officials, parliamentarians and other opinion makers to support efforts to empower and improve the status of women. APF is also working on a project called Portuguese Initiative with Parliamentarians. Ms. Furtado has also lent her name and personal commentary to an APF mobile reproductive health exhibition called Cara a Cara (Face to Face).
After travelling extensively through Africa, Catarina has always found “deep injustice and social inequalities”. Guinea-Bissau is the country that, in her view, best represents “total injustice” – and it’s precisely in that country that she is currently contributing for a project on child mortality and maternal health. According to Catarina, Guinea shows that one shouldn’t always rely on governments: “We must demand action from governments, but must also be aware that each one of us is also responsible for the society we live in”.
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