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Asas do Cerrado runs advocacy and human rights training for clerical and lay leaders

Initiative funded by CESE’s Support to Small Projects Grant has trained 150 people in leadership in the defence of human rights

The Anglican Social Association for Solidarity with the Cerrado (Associação Social Anglicana de Solidariedade do Cerrado: Asas do Cerrado) has invested in training to raise awareness of rights and strengthen the defence of the most vulnerable.  To this end, it ran the Asas do Cerrado Advocacy and Human Rights Project, led by the Anglican Diocese of Brasilia under the pastoral leadership of Bishop Maurício Andrade.  The initiative was funded by CESE’s Support to Small Projects Grant and the training programme reached 150 people.

According to Reverend Rodrigo Espiúcia dos Anjos Siqueira, “we were able to reach approximately 150 of the Diocese’s clerical and lay leaders who, following the conclusion of the training programme, are able to identify, for example, domestic violence against women, and are also able to direct any demands to the bodies that work for the defence of rights.”  The programme’s content included the dissemination of current human rights regulations.  “People began to be more attentive to the reality around them and are now are capable of taking on a leading role in the defence of their own human rights and those of the people with whom they live,” he declared.

The training was provided as distance learning, employing virtual debates on relevant themes, reaching people from various regions around the country, from Rio Grande do Sul, to Goiás, Brasília and Rondônia. One of the highlights was a conversation about domestic violence.  “The lecture was followed by a fruitful debate about the pathways and possibilities for the defence of the rights of women who suffer domestic violence.  At the end of the activity, the participants registered their wish to continue the debate and examine these concepts and instruments in depth,” Siqueira said.

In addition to training, the project addressed improvements to and reviews of the current advocacy strategies of local and regional initiatives and promoted the production of weekly educational podcasts about human rights. The training involved themes such as: Human Rights; Advocacy in the municipal context; Advocacy in the state context; Public, political and decision-making processes in Brazil; Production and organization of podcasts; and Social media and human rights.  Approximately 100 people were trained by the project.

The workshop cycle’s concluding activity will be for each course beneficiary to attend, as a member of the audience, a public hearing at the national congress, either in the Chamber of Deputies or the Federal Senate.  The collective will decide on a human rights theme and the religious body will then promote a public hearing, inviting participants who work in the defence of human rights.

Social rights – the Asas do Cerrado organizational mission is to provide activities to raise awareness of rights and transform the reality of people who are vulnerable and at personal and social risk.  The association addresses the challenge of confronting social inequalities and improving the quality of life of groups in social and economic vulnerability. The social projects run by Asas do Cerrado are not aimed at evangelizing, but at the guarantee of social rights.

According to Reverend Rodrigo Siqueira, “the partnership with CESE was essential for the viability of the human rights and advocacy training.” He added that, in addition to guaranteeing opportunities to interested parties to debate and learn about themes relevant to human rights, such as gender violence, and the defence of human and environmental rights, “the partnership allowed us to perceive the need to intensify training in human rights as an effective way to fulfil the fundamental needs of human existence with dignity.”