I was born in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. My family comes from a small town in the state of Minas Gerais. As many Brazilians of their time, in the 1970s my parents left their rural life and moved to Brasília, the recently built new capital, in search of better conditions of life. They were very hard working and have always motivated me to study and to invest in education, something that they never had the chance to do and that they were rightly convinced would make a difference in my life.
At the age of 17, I had to choose a career when applying for university, and for some reason I ended up in nutrition. During most of my bachelor’s degree I enjoyed the science of nutrition, but felt there was something missing. I started to find my feet while studying nutrition education, engaging in volunteering and trainee positions in this area, which brought me closer to public health nutrition. In my final year of graduation, I finally found the light in the amazing lectures of Professor Bethsáida Schmitz, who brilliantly made the link between nutrition and the social reality in Brazil. Nutrition finally made sense to me.
I worked for the Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) programme in Brazil, coordinated by the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger, for almost five years. The focus of my work was on food insecurity, hunger, and nutrition education. I also participated in the National Food and Nutrition Security Council, and the discussions towards a food and nutrition security system in Brazil. In 2008, I decided it was the appropriate moment to go back to full time study, and moved to the United Kingdom to do an MSc in Social Policy and Social Research at the University of Southampton.
Since then I have worked as a consultant for different organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) and the Norwegian Refugee Council. I was also Assistant Professor at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences until 2014.