Interview
June 29, 2022

Interview with Margarida Rodrigues, team lead at Nova Leadership for Impact Student Club

MARGARIDA RODRIGUES, Project Team Leader, Project: Cost TrainningSession, Organization: Ajuda de Mãe, Duration: 2 months

What is your project trying to improve and change?

Our Project was aiming to help Ajuda de Mãe to overcome one of the main managementchallenges identified by the core team - the need to have a Finance Training Session for thewhole team. Ajuda de Mãe is an NGO whose mission is to help young mothers and pregnantwomen in need facing their baby as a factor of quality-of-life improvement instead of aburden. Their intervention with the mothers crosses several different areas in their livesthrough some services such as helpline and regional support offices, temporary housing,training, and reintegration in the job market. An important part of the project was to combinereal financial documents of the organization with theoretical findings to help them put intopractice the concept and dynamics they were introduced to.

Our team worked side by side with the organization so that the final output could fit theirneeds and expectations on having a more cohesive team.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in your project’s area? What are the ones for the NGO you worked with?

I believe the current pandemic is one of the biggest challenges Ajuda de Mãe and projects in this field are facing. Theseorganizations develop several projects taking place in person, for example, training sessions and workshops that aim toprovide skills and competences to mothers about the preparation and after birth. They must innovate and find solutions tocarry on these initiatives in an orderly manner while respecting all measures.

Why, in your opinion, are NGOs essential for the social sector?

Undoubtedly, NGO’s play an important role in most communities. The aims of these organizations are to improve theprospects of people and to act on concerns and issues detrimental to the well-being of people or society as a whole. NGO’spromote tolerance, diversity and inclusion within a society while providing people with opportunities. NGO’s motivate us tohave an active role in our society, rather than “sit and watch” what is happening around each of us.

What has been your experiencing so far and what was your motivation to work onthis project and especially in working with an NGO?

Working for an NGO is a wish to bring about a social change of some sort even if in an indirectway. To my mind, working with Ajuda de Mãe is all about helping to achieve a social missionwhile expanding my horizons and self-realization through the acquisition of new skills,knowledge, and experience.

My team was also extremely interested and dedicated to the cause, which was reflected inproductive and inspiring meetings.

In your point of view, what do think is still missing to help NGOs to exploit their full potential?

There is no doubt that the number of NGO’s are increasing worldwide and their voices are getting stronger - as theyrepresent a variety of global issues - but that does not mean they are as effective as they could be. Many NGOs suffer fromthe lack of a strategic and cohesive plan that would facilitate effectiveness in developing their activities and achieving theirgoals. A lack of efficient governance is common in NGOs.

What characteristics best describes individuals who are successful at this organization?

For an individual to be successful in this area, he/she needs to be able to mobilize and inspire others, be resilient and agileand capable of adapting to unique and unexpected situations.

In reference to the NGO you worked with what future trends / shifts do you see?

Ajuda de Mãe has been innovating and improving its organization since its beginning. They have been adapting theirperformance and projects to the mother’s needs and essentials.

This organization will always move towards eliminating all possible blanks derived from lack of parenting assistance throughthe creation of various projects and safe spaces for training, social reintegration, and psychological support.

Margarida Rodrigues

Margarida Rodrigues

Margarida Rodrigues is a Nova SBE BSc Economics Student and has been with LFI for over a year.

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9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
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