SPPGA is pleased to introduce practitioner fellow Raissa Fontelas Rosado Gambi—a social scientist who has served as a Public Policy and Government Management Analyst with the municipality of São Paulo, Brazil since 2016. She brings over 15 years of experience in the fields of social policy, project management, and community engagement, and is driven by a steadfast commitment to social justice.
We caught up with Raissa to ask her a little bit about her background and what she’s looking forward to as she joins SPPGA this fall as a policy practitioner fellow:
What has been a meaningful moment in your career that underscores the need for good public policy?
Being a social scientist in Brazil, a country renowned for its natural beauty and friendly culture but also infamous for its extreme inequality, has highlighted for me the critical importance of good public policy and the urgency of working for the most vulnerable populations. Experiencing the daily impact of societal inequalities and recognizing my own privileges as a white middle-class woman have driven my career in the public sector. Throughout my 15 years of professional experience, I consider my role as a public servant at the Municipality of São Paulo—the largest city in Latin America with over 12 million inhabitants—the most challenging and rewarding of my career.
Over the past three years, I’ve faced the challenge of coordinating and integrating policies and projects focused on children aged 0 to 6 years old and their families, especially the most vulnerable ones, in order to ensure their rights and promote integral development during early childhood. One recent initiative I coordinated was the co-creation of protocols with the municipality’s education, health, and social assistance teams to better address cases of adolescent pregnancy and violence against children. Involving over 150 individuals and months of hard work, this experience resulted in two joint ordinances and highlighted the significance of coordination, broad debate, and engagement among departmental teams. While there is still much work ahead to implement these ordinances, this experience has provided valuable insights, including a general methodology for developing integrated protocols and ways to overcome the traditional fragmented and siloed structures within municipal government.
What are you most looking forward to engaging in as an SPPGA Practitioner Fellow?
I am thrilled to engage with students, professors, staff, and peers, and their amazing diversity of backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences. As a highly motivated and open-minded person, I look forward to participating in various SPPGA activities and finding ways for us to leverage each other’s experiences while mutually learning about social policies in Brazil, Canada, and abroad. Given my experiences and academic background, I am particularly interested in delving into how Canada is improving equity in public policies by taking an intersectional approach through the Gender Analysis Plus (GBA+) strategy.
This practitioner fellowship presents a unique opportunity to transform my practical experiences into subjects of reflection, learning, and research. It it also an opportunity to return to my role as a Senior Public Policy Analyst at the Municipality of São Paulo equipped with fresh connections and ideas, along with renewed motivation to face the significant challenges ahead of us.