Project Factsheet
Tools for » Inter-agency Programme for the Promotion of Gender and Ethnic-Racial Equality
Project ID:00067148Description:MDGF-1662-B-BRA Gender
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 5 Sep 2007
MDGF Gender Equal & Empowermt
End Date*: 14 Sep 2012
Country: Brazil Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


Brazil is a country that has experienced enormous progress in recent years. However, it is still marked by considerable social and economic inequalities directly related to unequal access to opportunities along with gender and ethnical-racial discrimination. This is intensified by the wide gap between the country’s legal and political frameworks and the current reality of women, afro-descendants and ethnic populations that are most exposed to these inequalities. The government has acknowledged gender and ethnic-racial inequalities and begun to address them in both the National Pluri-annual Plan (PPA) and in the National Plan of Women’s Policies (NPWP).

The III National Conference for Women’s Policies organized in Brasilia in December of 2011, with the participation of the UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, resulted in the update and ratification of the II Plan of Policies for Women, which was recently approved. During the Conference, over 2,000 women established a platform for women’s policies at municipal, state and national levels. In addition, there is a National Plan of Policies to Promote Racial Equality (NPPPRE) designed to address a set of resolutions from the 2005 I National Conference of Policies to Promote Racial Equality. More recently, the National Plan of Sustainable Development of Afrodescendant Traditional Communities and People (NPSDATCP) was launched.

The Interagency Programme came to complement the work of the government. However, given the geographical and demographic size of the country, the intervention, limited in scope and reach, concentrated its efforts around four outcomes. While in some cases attribution of results to the Interagency Programme is difficult and, at times, not yet supported by quantitative or qualitative evidence, it is possible through construction of the comprehensive logical counterfactual approach to identify evidence and examples that support the idea that the Interagency Programme effect or impact towards development, although limited, was indeed important in the scope of the Brazilian development context in relation to the promotion of gender, and ethnic-racial equality. For example, the financial support of the JP was crucial in ensuring substantive participation of indigenous women to the III National Conference for Women’s Policies. Another example is the technical and financial support provided to the development of the NPSDATCP. The gender, race and ethnicity indicators of the governments’ new PPA 2012-2015 did not allow comparison with results from previous yeras. There is, however, evidence of progress and increased mainstreaming in the PPA 2012-2015.  From the results of the qualitative indicators of the Bulletin of Social Research of the IPEA (a research institute linked to the Federal Government), there is progress on issues of mainstreaming gender and race into public policy, but much remains to be done.  

Due to the time-frame of Programme’s evaluation it is not possible to adequately estimate the attribution that the implemented initiatives will have in terms of development outcomes. A proposal was therefore made for a new assessment four years from now to infer whether, and how, the JP contributed to the achievement of the development outcomes.

As a result of the mid-term evaluation, striving to strengthen its ethnicity component, the Interagency Programme included Afrodescendant Religious Groups, Quilombolas, Roma and Kalom populations. There has been a noticeable increase in participation and dialogue of excluded populations in decision-making processes, thanks to the openness of national counterparts in the policy dialogue.


Outcome 1:

Crosscutting gender and racial dimensions of policies, programmes and public services expanded and enhanced.

Outcome achievements:

  • The JP had some effect in the broader process, but the challenge is to define to which extent the activities and products (mainly research and advocacy) of the programme were instrumental in this process. One example was the participation of people linked to the Programme in high-level participatory space of the Federal Government, including, for example, the Joint Monitoring Committee of the NPWP, and the development of several studies and consultancies.


Outcome 2:

Local and regional capacities for reinforcing gender promotion and racial equality strengthened and integrated.

Outcome achievements:

  • The JP provides four quantitative indicators, all of them linked to increased institutionalization of gender, race and ethnicity structures on local government, including state capitals. In the case of local government and gender equality bodies in state capitals there was no change in the indicators (but it should be noted that most states already have these bodies in place).
  • The indicators aiming to measure institutional strengthening of racial equality bodies recorded advances. All the states joined the Intergovernmental Forum on the Promotion of Racial Equality, and there was a 15% increase in the number of municipalities that have joined the Intergovernmental Forum. There is, however, no direct causal relationship between the activities of the Interagency Programme and this result of institutional strengthening of organizations of gender and race in local governments.
  • One of the good practices of the Programme is the case of the creation of a Working Group (WG) on Gender and Race in the Conleste (consortium of 15 municipalities in the State of Rio de Janeiro) – this was directly linked to the intervention, as the Programme organized an event to raise awareness and promote capacities for gender mainstreaming with public managers of Conleste (organized by UN-Habitat). More than 100 participants attended the event, most of them men and most of them Secretaries from the Conleste Municipalities. The creation of the WG has been proposed and approved during the event.


Outcome 3:

Egalitarian, plural, and multiracial participation of women in public decision-making forums strengthened and expanded.

Outcome achievements:

  • There are various macro - indicators for this outcome, and they are meant to increase participation of women and people of African descent in the Federal civil service and in leadership positions in the government and private sector. The number of women civil servants increased by 3%, while the number of women in commissioned positions in the Federal Government remained constant, as did the number of women occupying high-level senior leading roles in the major private companies in the country.
  • Within the private sector, there was an increase of 19% in the number of women in executive positions and 51% in the number of African descent in executive positions. In addition, in relation to the population of African descent, there was a decrease in their participation in management positions (22%) and an increase in participation in supervisory positions (47%). Although significant, these important advances were not able to promote the overcoming of gender and racial inequities in public and private management.
  • The changes cannot directly be linked with the JP products and activities, but a seminar on racism and institutional sexism in governmental organizations was conducted in 2010, and it was cited as a tipping point in promoting the inclusion of this issue in the government’s agenda. Another activity with a great potential to cause development changes is the production of case studies for use in the classroom developed with the National School of Public Administration (ENAP), responsible for training all public servants occupying managerial level positions in the Federal Government.


Outcome 4:

Contents related to gender promotion and racial equality featured and given prominence in the media.

Outcome achievements:

  • Two macro - indicators were identified, qualitative and quantitative. The second is the number of unique hits per day received by the Programme’s website, which increased from 315 in 2011 to 543 in 2012.
  • One qualitative indicator is based on the analysis of the Observatory of Gender Equality in Brazil in relation to the presence of the themes of gender, race and ethnicity equality on the media. According to the report’s analysis the traditional media still disseminates a stereotyped view of women, indigenous and ethnic populations, as well as people of African descent. However, given the size of the media sector in Brazil the attribution of development results to the Interagency Programme cannot be established. Nonetheless, there are indications that the Programme’s initiatives have the potential to generate cultural changes in the medium - to long term.  For example, the course of Gender, Race and Ethnicity for journalists was implemented in nine cities and capacitated more than 400 media professionals. According to the post-course survey, some three quarters of the participants believed they would use what they learned in the course during their daily work.
  • Another initiative with a high potential was the launch of smart phone applications aiming at promoting gender and ethnic-racial equality. One of the applications, which provides access to the Maria da Penha Law, had over 1,500 downloads in just over two months without any publicity (whereas a successful applications in Brazil is one that tops 10,000 downloads).


Best practices:

  • The Programme was cited as opening opportunities for excluded population to dialogue with the UN and the government, particularly domestic workers, Kalon and Roma people, as well as Afrodescendant Religious Groups, and created institutional spaces that demonstrated the interest for dialogue and recognized the importance of these populations.
  • Another good practice was the UNFPA-led mobilization of one thousand people to promote health of the black population and in the same line the UNICEF’s campaign to advocate for the end of racism in childhood.
  • To identify and incorporate the experiences of other countries in the LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) region and worldwide was a strategic decision that generated positive effects since it stimulated the articulation and expansion of inter-agency programming, as well as promoting exchange of knowledge and the replication of successful initiatives.
  • The identification of networks of partners and the establishment of supporting activities were essential to the strengthening of civil society organizations working with intersectional issues.
  • The strengthening of women’s organizations, black and ethnic population cohorts, is critical to ensure the sustainability of the achieved results, as well as, to integrate capabilities from the regional level during the decentralization of the actions.


Lessons learned:

  • The Interagency Programme should have invested more in the involvement of CSOs and citizens, although it did increase CSO participation after the mid-term evaluation, but the public sector was mostly involved in the Programme management.
  • The inter-agency institutional arrangements aggregate value to the UN work and stimulates the achievement of outcomes.
  • There are many challenges related to intersectionality and joint-programming approaches. These obstacles call for better integration of administrative procedures and monitoring and evaluation activities.
  • The adoption of innovative tools in the area of communication was a successful and cost-effective initiative to disseminate information and sensitize the media about gender, race and ethnicity issues.
  • The institutional strengthening process of national counterparts should be based in the exchange of knowledge and shared managerial practices.

More details can be found in the final project report:

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Brazil or the lead agency for the programme.

The persons with GATEWAY access rights to upload and maintain documents for the programme:

  • Larissa Leite, Coordination Analyst; Telephone: 55 61 3038-9061; Email:; Skype: larissinhavl
  • Margarita Nechaeva, RCO M&E Coordination Associate; Telephone: 55 (61) 8178-7576; Email:; Skype: margarita.nechaeva
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