The global adolescent pregnancy rate is estimated at 46 births per 1,000 girls, while adolescent pregnancy rates in Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be the second-highest in the world, estimated at 66.5 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years, second only to Sub-Saharan Africa. In Brazil, the national adolescent pregnancy rate is higher than the regional average, standing at 68.4, and being significantly higher among adolescent girls who live in vulnerable communities, including Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, were CEPIA operates.
Brazil has experienced an alarming rise in femicides and violence against women in 2018. The country currently has one of the highest femicide rates in Latin America, with approximately 40% of gender-based violence killings in the region take place within its borders. Women and girls living in poverty, and those who belong to racial minorities, are among the most vulnerable to femicide and other forms of gender-based violence.
In spite of alarmingly high levels of adolescent pregnancy and a rise in violence against women, and amid a spike in sexually transmitted infections among young people, the Brazillian government has aggressively rolled back all opportunities for sexuality education. President Bolsonaro, who took office in January 2019, supports federal legislation that limits sexuality education in classrooms. Since 2017, more than eight Brazillian cities have passed restrictive laws at the local level. In spite of several attempts, Rio de Janeiro has rejected such laws, but teachers continue to be poorly trained as a result, students fail to access adequate sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services.
CEPIA was founded in 1990 in Rio de Janeiro by Jacqueline Pitanguy, a sociologist and former president of Brazil’s National Council on Women’s Rights, and Leila Linhares, a lawyer and former Research Director of the Brazilian Lawyer’s Bar. 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 on 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. 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, which was accessed by more than 1,300 users. Brazil’s Minister of Women, Family’s and Human Rights, Damara Alves, a conservative evangelical pastor, recently attacked Jacqueline Pitanguy, describing her as a “defender of death” for supporting and advocating for abortion.
EMpower’s 4th grant to CEPIA is helping 240 students aged 13 and 17 to improve their life skills and their knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights- including gender equity- as a means to address the persistently high rates of adolescent pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and gender-based violence. CEPIA will train 35 teachers and work in partnership with three public schools and an NGO-run after-school program in some of Rio de Janeiro’s most vulnerable communities.
Primary Location: Rio de Janeiro
Funded Since: 2016
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.
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