Youth ages 15-24 make up 15.4% of the population of Rio de Janeiro. Of this total, 19% live in slums vs. 14% who live in formal neighbourhoods. The social vulnerability arising from poverty is high: drug dealers, armed gangs, urban and police violence, sexual and domestic violence (in the case of female youth). In 2014, the state of Rio de Janeiro recorded a daily average of 15 rapes. In 2015, 64% of the female victims were under age 17. This form of violence is probably much higher because it is frequently underreported. Another serious vulnerability in the poorest areas is the high pregnancy rate in adolescents, significantly higher in slums when compared to the data of teenagers living in other areas of the city. Data from 2012 (Municipal Health - SMS / RJ) indicates that 16.6% of live births were children of adolescent mothers. In the middle-class neighborhoods of Botafogo, the children of adolescent mothers represented 5.3% of total births vs. the slum of Maré,where 25.5% of live births were from mothers under 19 years of age. Pregnancy in adolescence, which is higher among those with lower income and education, often perpetuates social exclusion. These adolescent mothers have greater difficulty in continuing their education and have less access to formal employment. They also lack information about their sexual and reproductive rights and about existing services to assist them. They are usually single mothers without support of their partners. In this context, more than ever, organizations must invest in low-income youth groups, denounce negative stereotypes, and give them opportunity to expand their abilities and protagonism.
CEPIA was founded in 1990 in Rio by Jacqueline Pitanguy, sociologist and former president of the National Council on Women’s Rights and Leila Linhares Barsted, lawyer and former Research Director of the Brazilian Lawyers Bar. Both Jacqueline and Leila are known activists in Defense of Human Rights of Women. CEPIA’s mission is to promote the expansion and realization of human rights and the strengthening of citizenship, especially of women. CEPIA contributes to the strengthening of democracy, social justice and gender equality with the goals of: a) eradicating social inequalities based on gender, race/ethnicity; b) expanding knowledge of sexual and reproductive rights and access to related facilities and services by women and young people; c) fighting gender-based violence and expanding and democratizing access to justice for women and young people. CEPIA led the advocacy efforts for the Law on Domestic Violence against Women which resulted in the Maria da Penha Law passed in 2006 (and continues to monitor its implementation in a joint effort with security and justice institutions), as well as the Law on Femicide passed in 2015. CEPIA developed a national course on the Maria da Penha Law via mobile phone in partnership with a company on mobile education and VIVO, the telecommunication company. The course has already been accessed by more than 1,300 users.
EMpower’s 2nd grant will enable CEPIA to conduct workshops and train youth on their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), violence prevention, and gender equality in a new school and support further development and use of its work technology platforms (mobile app, social media, digital stories) to inform youth on these issues.
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.