Vitória de Santo Antão Women’s Center

Black Women Manioc Peelers Fighting for the end of institutional violence


Objectives and target audience

Offering women participants knowledge of the instruments available to confront human rights violations stemming from patriarchal, misogynist culture. Allowing for reflection on the structure of power relations and how women can overcome the inefficiency and neglect of public organs. Contributing to the development of strategies for overcoming lack of assistance or mistreatment of domestic violence victims.

Main activities

– Creation of a questionnaire in municipal police stations on the quality of service and regarding institutional violence against women.

– Public hearing.

– Workshops focused on institutional violence, domestic violence and specific public policies with regard to services for women.

– Seminars on the Maria da Penha Law and the role of public institutions in society.

– Campaign on institutional violence.

– Evaluation meeting.

– Meetings for mobilization and networking with women and partners.

– Visits to mobilize and organize women.


The micro-region of the Goitá basin is comprised of the municipalities of Glória do Goitá, Feira Nova, Lagoa de Itaenga, Pombos and Chã de Alegria, situated in the transition zone between the forest and the desert. Its rural economy is based on family agriculture and mainly on manioc production. The work of women manioc peelers for flour production is thus an important part of the economy.

In the Goitá basin region, women manioc peelers — making up the absolute majority of the labor force in all stages of processing — live with inhumane and unequal working conditions, with exploitation and lack of labor laws, excessive shifts, humiliating wages, while also being exposed to unsanitary conditions during the work day, which can extend to 12 hours, practically without any breaks.

According to market research data from UFRPE (Federal University of Pernambuco), 62% of these women live below the poverty line and 54% of the manioc peelers are illiterate.

About the organization

The Vitória de Santo Antão Women’s Center has been developing the Black Women Building Financial Autonomy project since 2011 with black manioc peelers. It is an effort in sociopolitical training working with gender, race and income generation. It intends to confront the challenge of institutional violence suffered by women related to domestic violence and the difficulty of access to rights guaranteed by the Maria da Penha law and the Constitution of 1988.


- Network in Defense of Human Rights in the Northern Forest Zone.

- Redhuma Center.

- State Urban Reform Forum (Feru).

- Women’s Center of Feira Nova.

- Federation of Social and Educational Assistance Organs -- Fase/Pernambuco.

- Habitat for Humanity.

- Women’s Secretary of Pernambuco.

- Women’s Coordinator of Lagoa de Itaenga.

- Women’s Coordinator of Feira Nova.

- Municipal Women’s Secretary of Vitória de Santo Antão.


Visits were conducted with the intention to form networks and mobilize women in the municipalities for the task of listening to their own stories about domestic violence. The importance of women’s participation in the activities, strengthening the perspective of women and the understanding of the process of violence, was the main topic of meetings with women in four municipalities. A seminar on the Maria da Penha Law (federal law against domestic violence) and the role of public authorities was also held. The participants exposed the discrimination and neglect suffered in police stations. Issues such as protective measures, shelter houses and reference centers, as well as the procedures of women’s secretariats,  specialized police stations and women coordinators were addressed in dialogs with women. Public hearings, a campaign about domestic violence and questionnaires concerning the subject were also part of the project.

Funding Line

Annual Call for Proposals



Total Granted

R$ 37,260.00


12 months

Main Themes

Women’s Rights

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