Geledés Instituto da Mulher Negra (Geledés)

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Public Statement 2012

Title SOS Racismo and Popular Legal Promoters
Type of organization Nonprofit organization
Country Brazil
Duration  3 years 
IAF funding   $161,500
Counterpart committed $393,530 (approximately $269,390 in cash)
Primary program area Women, African descendants, legal assistance

Organizational background:
Geledés-Instituto da Mulher Negra (Geledés), founded in 1998 in São Paulo, emerged from a grassroots movement of African descendants determined to exercise their basic human rights and to combat racism and sexism. It has had a leadership position for more than two decades and has evolved into a nonprofit organization. It is named after Geledée, an annual African festival honoring “our mothers” (awon iya wa) as elders and for their power and spiritual leadership.

Geledés has undertaken projects in education, women’s health and domestic violence. Partnering with the Organization of American States (OAS) and entities in the United Nations system, it has served as an interlocutor at all levels of government on public policies affecting Brazilian women of African descent. Geledés’ legal department, SOS Racismo, which focuses on human rights issues related to race and gender, has developed legal standards adopted by organizations in five other cities. 

Project objective:
To train Brazilian women of African descent in several of São Paulo’s most marginalized communities to help other women address issues related to health and domestic violence and obtain access to basic legal services.

Geledés will train 120 leaders of African descent who come from urban and rural communities, primarily in eastern and southern São Paulo, to help other female residents with issues related to health, domestic violence and access to basic legal services. The objective of this training is to educate community leaders so that they can offer guidance that helps victims of gender or racial discrimination understand their rights under Brazilian law.

Rationale for funding:
This project targets a segment of the population often overlooked by government and international donors: women of African descent, one of the most destitute and disadvantaged groups in Brazil. By training representatives from a range of communities, Geledés expects important information about civic participation and access to justice to reach Brazil’s most marginalized population. 

Learning opportunity:
This project should offer insight into the next set of challenges for African descendants in Brazil and for the women’s movement in particular and into the effectiveness of partnering with a nonprofit organization to disseminate basic legal information within a community through the training of community leaders.