A podcast produced by and for black women, talking about good living, health, rights, the body and memory, the culture of childhood and other topics. This is Comunica Grumap, the podcast produced by the Women’s Group from Alto das Pombas (Grupo de Mulheres do Alto das Pombas: GRUMAP) which, alongside the collective’s newspaper, constitutes the organization’s significant communication channel with Alto das Pombas and other communities. The initiative is supported by CESE’s Small Projects Programme and the 2022 edition will broadcast episodes until 16 December. On 15 July, it was launched at a breakfast held at the collective’s offices.
The aim of Comunica Grumap is to promote a communication channel in Alto das Pombas and other communities to debate culture, race and gender, and to provide an arena to expand the scope of their training content and create a strategy for the mobilization of the group’s activities. Both the podcast and the newspaper are the product of ongoing meetings to discuss topics, produce content, draft agendas, record the podcast and edit the newspaper in order to reach the women of Alto das Pombas with conversations about citizenship and good living in the city.
Produced every two months, the newspaper is distributed in public spaces, such as municipal schools and neighbourhood health centres, and in areas such as the Nossa Senhora de Fátima Square and on the streets of Alto das Pombas. The podcast is available on the Grumap YouTube Channel, where all previous programmes can be accessed.
40 Years of GRUMAP – Throughout its 40 years of existence, GRUMAP has always been committed to working for the foundation of other possible worlds, confronting racism and capitalism with social responsibility. Communication has been a strategic element of their work since their initial activities in 1982. “Since our first activities, participants understood the need to approach other black women in the territory through simple communication pieces, such as pamphlets and public announcement cars, in order to invite women to workshops, training sessions and other events,” explained Rita Pereira Santa Rita, a member of GRUMAP.
Over time, this was how the Comunica Grumap Newspaper was born, which talks about the territory and aims to bring light and pleasure to its female readers, to reflect the reality of its audience and talk about that context. “We assess and we are self-critical. In our first newspaper, we felt that the language was too heavy. Over the last two years, we have improved the whole format. Parallel to this, during the pandemic, we noticed that women were communicating more frequently via WhatsApp, and so we created the podcasts as a current form of media, to more easily reach women from the community,” she added.
The podcast has enabled more agile reach and dissemination, both in public schools in the neighbourhood and among workers in the region’s beauty salons and other commercial establishments. And the new media was also an important alternative during social isolation, when it was not possible to distribute the newspaper.
Another form of media the group adopted was public announcement cars, which are seen as an efficient mobilization strategy to transmit information, publicise events and share information within the territory. Communication was based on needs identified by group members, who identified ways of doing, what to do and the most appropriate way to talk to their audience. “It was based much more on knowledge and on coordinating communication between women. Something that has occurred between the youngest and oldest women. And that process has succeeded,” explained Karine Damasceno Eloy, GRUMAP member. She believes that it was having used this tool for such a long time that enabled them to build the foundations so that, today, the language of the podcast has been recognized as accessible and timely in sharing community information.
Good Living – Much of the content expresses this African philosophy. “At certain moments, we place a lot of emphasis on Sankofa, which for us is past, present, future and good living. Something that, for us, comes above everything. It’s important for us to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors: to understand that they began and resisted the processes and challenges that continue for us today. So, when GRUMAP hoists its flag against the genocide of black youth, it is creating a different landmark for civilization, one in which racism does not prevail. When we defend education, health, sanitation and good living, we understand that we are creating this construction, as part of a historical process,” Karine added.
Rita remembered one of the movement’s founders and her beliefs, which continue to be reflected in the group’s work: Dona Alberta. “She would tell us she was going to start a revolution. We don’t talk about revolution today, we talk about good living and understand that these two languages are linked. One is connected to the other. Since the beginning of GRUMAP, we have announced a new social order, through good living, strengthening each step we make with young women, with children.”
The theme of good living cuts across the organization’s training activities, and is found in their theatre and cinema arts activities, in their percussion classes with children and adults, as well as in body and memory classes, and circles of care. Everything woven together by an anti-colonial perspective, one which shares black women’s agendas and rights.
Black women’s quality of life – Quality of life for black women is a fundamental agenda item for the group, which considers the defence of rights to be unnegotiable; they therefore seek to make viable activities that have this goal.
“We believe that CESE’s partnership with GRUMAP comes out of legitimacy, representativeness, the organization’s political importance as part of the construction of our plan for society. Since the 1980s, there have been moments in which the leaders have sat down and constructed a common pathway. At the time of the redemocratization of Brazilian society, when we were mobilized for the defence of the 1988 Constitution, it was really great!”, she recalled.
According to Rita, “CESE did not hesitate to support GRUMAP’s communication projects, because it understands that they strengthen the territory and the women’s group, and ensure that its information circulates through other territories.” GRUMAP’s trajectory has closely followed that of CESE’s Small Projects Programme, an initiative that has existed for 49 years, aimed at strengthening grassroots struggles, stimulating and supporting small projects around Brazil.”