Citizenship, Study, Research, Information, and Action

Citizenship, Study, Research, Information, and Action

Cidadania, Estudo, Pesquisa, Informação e Ação (CEPIA)
Rio de Janeiro

CEPIA advances human rights for women and other historically marginalized groups in Brazil through research, campaigns, advocacy, training, and empowerment of women and youth.

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Partner Focus Areas

Women's rights and human rights
Sexual and reproductive health
Access to justice and ending gender-based violence
Women and youth empowerment, training, and capacity building

Partnership Highlights

Partner since 2004
Leadership and human rights trainings
Family law reform research and advocacy
Outreach to Portuguese-speaking African women's organizations
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WLP Brazil/Cepia 2012 workshop participant holding sign for political participation
A participant in a CEPIA workshop voices her demand for women's political participation.


Since its founding in 1990, CEPIA has been developing projects that promote gender equality, and human and women’s rights, especially among disenfranchised communities and youth. CEPIA conducts its national and regional outreach efforts in Portuguese, English, and Spanish. Current CEPIA initiatives are addressing youth empowerment, health and reproductive rights, ending gender-based violence, and ensuring equal access to legal justice.

Since CEPIA joined the WLP Partnership in 2014,it has served in a central advisory role, providing guidance on WLP programs and advocacy campaigns. CEPIA has conducted dozens of local and regional workshops using WLP’s methodology and curricula. CEPIA works primarily in Portuguese.

Recent Accomplishments

  • CEPIA has launched numerous successful advocacy initiatives relating to sexual and reproductive health policies, including raising awareness and disseminating research among public health authorities and the general public on access to modern contraception and the state of women’s reproductive rights in the context of the Zika virus epidemic.
Jacqueline Pitanguy, WLP Board member and Founder of CEPIA, gives a presentation at a National Training of Trainers workshop in June 2017.
  • In 2006, CEPIA and a consortium of NGOs were instrumental in developing and pressing for passage of the momentous Maria da Penha Law on domestic violence, considered one of the most complete laws of its kind. The law established special courts and stricter sentences for offenders, as well as other prevention and relief measures, such as protective measures for woman in situations of violence, greater coordination between police and the justice system, and shelters for women.
  • Brazil’s family planning legislation was the result of a CEPIA-led coalition that prepared and submitted the draft law to Congress.
  • CEPIA, with the National Council for Women’s Rights (CNDM), developed a countrywide campaign calling for the right to interrupt pregnancy in cases of anencephaly, a severe fetal brain anomaly. The campaign brought national awareness to this critical issue, with the Supreme Court ruling in its favor in 2012. 
  • CEPIA joined forces with the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women (SPM) and the Justice Tribunal of Rio de Janeiro to approve a national law on femicide. This legislation was approved by the National Congress in 2015.
  • In 2016, CEPIA was responsible for Brazil’s research for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) initiative, Barometer of Access to Modern Contraception, which measured women's access to modern contraceptive methods in five Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico). The study was based on a model developed for the European Barometer (2015), which analyzed 16 European countries.
WLP Brazil/Cepia Training of Trainers discussion circle
Young women discuss human rights and leadership in a CEPIA workshop in Brazil.

Organizational Programs and Activities

Human Rights Dialogue

  • CEPIA conducts in-depth studies and develops educational and social intervention projects for diverse social, governmental, and non-governmental sectors. CEPIA disseminates information about international and national mechanisms that monitor and report on human rights, and sensitizes the public and government bodies on the need for implementing social policies that empower women in their struggle against discrimination and gender violence. 
  • CEPIA organizes seminars, meetings and conferences, and dialogues with feminists, members of the judiciary, lawyers, legislators, medical doctors, health professionals, labor unions, NGOs, opinion makers, and civil servants responsible for public policies, to broaden the debate on issues relating to its agenda.
Participants in a training of trainers workshop in Brazil take a break from the discussions for photos and laughter.

Advocacy, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Public Policies

  • CEPIA monitors Brazil’s implementation of its constitutional commitments and international obligations to human rights and women's rights. It conducts research and assesses public policies to uphold women's movement demands and to propose changes toward greater gender equality and adherence to universal human rights.
  • CEPIA is a member of a coalition of organizations fighting for reproductive rights threatened by policies that were created in response to  Brazil’s Zika virus epidemic.
  • CEPIA’s Director is a member of the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism of the Convention to Prevent, Punish, and Eradicate Violence against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará) - MESECVI of the Organization of American States. 
  • Since 1996, CEPIA has published Violence Against Women: a guide to defend, orientate and support victims of VAW. This publication, in its 8th edition, is an important tool to disseminate information on existing services to support women victims of violence and to construct and reinforce a network among them.
Brazil Leadership TOT 2012 Photo
Participants discuss WLP's curriculum at a CEPIA training for women's leadership and ending violence against women.

Digital Technology

  • CEPIA developed a mobile app and online forum called Partiu Papo Reto on sexual and reproductive rights and health for youth and adolescents. The project involved the collaboration of young women and men, and partnership with the municipal health department of Rio de Janeiro and the Institute of Studies in Collective Health of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IESC/UFRJ).

Training and Education

  • Applying a gender perspective and a human rights framework, CEPIA trains public safety and justice officials on issues of democracy, citizenship, access to justice, and sexual and domestic violence.
  • CEPIA organizes undergraduate courses for medical students of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), introducing ethical, human rights, citizenship, gender, and power issues to the health debate.
  • CEPIA conducts workshops with young women and men in public schools and other educational centers on topics relating to citizenship, youth and adolescents' rights, violence and sexual and reproductive health, and young people's perceptions of health services.
  • CEPIA develops educational TV and radio spots about sexual and reproductive rights, focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention among women. CEPIA also works with young people to produce YouTube videos on topics of interest to them, including sexual violence, youth pregnancy, reproductive health, and the Zika virus.
Our Constitution, in the chapter on Family, abolished the figure of the man as head of the family. Until 1988, the man was the head of the family. That was an extraordinary improvement for women in terms of Family Law. We also have paternal leave, which ideologically was very important because the revolution is not only to put women on the street -- it’s bringing men to the home.

, Founder and Director, WLP Brazil/Cidadania, Estudo, Pesquisa, Informação e Ação (CEPIA)

About Brazil

  • Population: 217 million
  • Brazil is the largest country in South America and in the Southern Hemisphere, bordering all but two South American countries. 
  • Economy: Ranked 8th in the world
  • Brazil's rapid fertility decline since the 1960s is the main factor behind the country's slowing population growth rate, aging population, and fast-paced demographic transition.
  • Government: Federal Presidential Republic ruled by the 1988 Constitution
  • Legal system: Civil law; a new civil law code in 2002 replaced the 1916 code
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 64.6%, Protestant 22.2%, other Christian 0.7%, Spiritist 2.2%, other 1.4%, none 8%, unspecified 0.4%
  • Seats held by women in national parliament: 15%
  • Labor force: 43.2% female
  • Female literacy: 93.4%
  • Maternal mortality rate: 60 deaths per 100,000 live births
  • Citizenship: By birth or by descent
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