Citizenship and Democracy in School - Brazil

The Citizenship and Democracy in School project has as its objective the creation of spaces for the promotion of a pluralistic dialogue that are based in mutual respect and recognition of diversity within the classrooms of the Brazilian public education system. It works as a tool that prevents increases in prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination while promoting the participation of young people in the construction of a more tolerant democratic, and solidarity-minded society.

Developed in partnership with the Ministry of Human Rights and the Federal Prosecutor for the Rights of the Citizen (Procuraduria Federal dos Direitos do Cidadão, MPF) of Brazil of the planning phase of the project began in 2016 with an initial mapping of existing initiatives and a consultation process that included the participation of more than 100 individuals including representatives of civil society, public officials, educators, and, most importantly, students.

Starting with the existing educational framework in Brazil and keeping in mind the reality that educators live in their schools, the project represents a proposal for working throughout the school year with students between 13 and 18 years old.

Currently divided into two parts, the project considers a series of questions with students in the classroom. Spread across five different thematic axes, the first phase provides a framework for covering a broad series of themes, including:

  • Identity and diversity
  • Dignity and respect
  • Human rights
  • Democracy and the right to information
  • Citizenship, cooperation, and solidarity

The second phase, for its part, works to stimulate students' participation by developing their own research projects. These projects, completed in groups, allow students to explore and develop their own particular interests and concerns. As a final product, each group produces a video representing their work on a specific topic or theme. These videos can be presented to the community as a tool for peer-to-peer education.

Teachers participating in the initiative complete a training process through the Warren Educational Policies Program's Distance Learning Platform. Participants also receive a physical copy of the project's pedagogical guide. The guide contains all of the necessary information to be able to roll out Citizenship and democracy in school to the classroom.

The project implementation started in 2018 as a pilot in seven public schools – two in the Federal District of Brasilia and five in Sao Paulo. In the beginning, we reached 25 teachers and 620 students. Since then, the project has grown significantly, and the work carried out with our 16 institutional partners, including state and municipal Secretaries of Education and Human Rights, has trained more than 4,000 teachers and impacted over 120,000 students. In the latter half of 2022, the WEPP team evaluated five schools in São Paulo, employing treatment and control groups to assess the project's impact on teachers and students. Subsequently, we published a report that delves into the study's methodology and highlights the positive outcomes of the initiative. These include transformations in pedagogical practices, as well as shifts in students' perceptions, attitudes, and values concerning human rights and democracy. A more concise version of the report is also available in the executive summary of the evaluation.

These educators make part of the network of teachers of the Citizenship and Democracy in School project, which has an online portal as a space for exchange and support for the activities they developed in the classroom.

Agendas of the Global Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention.



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