The Network’s mission is to promote political action of Afro-descendant women from Paraná in combating racism, sexism, class oppression and lesbophobia, among other forms of discrimination. It brings together Afro-descendant and non Afro-descendant women from several areas of the state with expertise in the fields of education, health, promotion and defense of rights, income generation and promotion of racial equality.
Among the main activities of the organization, there is the holding of the annual Seminars ‘Afro-Descendant Women and Health’ from 2006 to 2010. It also has projects of permanent training on women’s health and income generation, apart from working in 11 quilombola (1) communities in Paraná and conducting activities for the reflection and debate on the issue of safe and legal abortion among its associates.
The organization is part of the Brazilian Afro-Descendant Women’s Articulation , the Afro-Descendant Youth Circle of the Americas , the National Feminist Network for Health, Sexual Rights and Reproductive Rights , the National Network for Social Control and Health of the Afro-Descendant Population , the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network – RSMLAC, the ‘Lai Lai Apejo’ Network – Afro-Descendant Population and AIDS and the Network for Combating Violence against Women.
The project ‘Monitoring and implementing rights’ aims to design campaigns on institutional violence and the confrontation of gender and race discrimination through two fronts of action. One is the training of political leadership for the participation in social control spheres linked to the correlated topics. The other is the production of electronic and printed media, in the form of online campaigns for the dissemination of information regarding the access to rights and services, especially to those referring to the Afro-descendant population’s health and women’s health.
The campaign involves the production of a pocket booklet with information about rights and access to public and free services. The plan is to address the difficulty in accessing social security public services, particularly those related to the health of women and Afro-descendant population. It also intends to foster the implementation of public policies specifically related to the health of the Afro-descendant population.
Afro-descendant women living in a situation of social vulnerability depend on social security public services, especially health service. Due to poor education, little or no professional training, low wages or unemployment, Afro-descendant women on the one hand have difficulty in accessing rights mechanisms and, on the other, they have no power to take decisions on matters related to their healthcare in the spaces of decision on public services.
The effective participation and monitoring by Afro-descendant women in the councils and forums that manage the implementation of public policies in the State of Paraná is still incipient. No municipality has implemented the National Policy on Health Care of Afro-Descendant Population of Paraná and no other organization of the Afro-descendant movement works with that issue. Thus, these women’s participation in the monitoring of public policies of which they are users aims at ensuring their rights and guaranteeing equal treatment in public services.
(1) N.T.: Quilombola is a person who lives in a quilombo. Quilombo is a century-old community set up by former slaves in Brazil. ‘The contemporary concept of the remaining communities of quilombos encompasses the prevalence of an autonomous process of production within the communities, based on specific territorialities socially established as a result of acts of resistance.’ (ALMEIDA, Alfredo Wagner. ‘Os quilombolas e a Base de Lançamentos de Foguetes de Alcântara’. Ministry of Environment, Brasília, 2006.)
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