Overview

The Desafio de Acesso à Justiça is an annual award run by Institute Mattos Filho in collaboration with the Brazilian consultancy ponteAponte. It encourages and recognizes initiatives seeking to expand access to justice in Brazil, as well as those that strive to strengthen democracy, citizenship and human rights.

This award also fosters connections between people and organizations working with these topics, developing a network that aims to ensure the rights of vulnerable groups in Brazilian society are respected. Having received registrations from all over the country, the Desafio de Acesso à Justiça handed out a total of BRL 300,000 to seven winning initiatives in 2019 and 2020.

INSCREVA-SE ATÉ 7/6!

A 3ª edição do Desafio de Acesso à Justiça vai distribuir R$ 120 mil entre as iniciativas vencedoras. No formulário de inscrição, os candidatos deverão informar o montante estimado para viabilizar sua iniciativa dentro da faixa de R$ 10 mil a R$ 60 mil, de acordo com sua categoria.

Who can participate

  • Individuals
  • Collectives
  • Social movements
  • Alliances and networks (whether institutionalized or otherwise)
  • Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
  • Academic groups and groups linked to education institutions/universities

All registered initiatives must originate and operate in Brazil

Evaluation criteria

An illustration shows a set of scales, two books and a wooden gavel on a round wooden base. There is a large orange square and another smaller purple one in the background of the image.

Ability to promote, expand and strengthen access to justice in the country

An illustration shows a diverse group of people of different genders, races and religious beliefs. There is a large orange square and another smaller purple one in the background of the image.

Potential impacts of the solution presented in the initiative

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Multiplier effect

What is access to justice?

For Instituto Mattos Filho, access to justice is a broad concept that encompasses access to the judicial system and due legal process within the context of the stark, structural social and economic inequality prevalent within our society. Therefore, access to justice seeks to prioritize those who have had their rights violated and who lack the information or financial resources to resolve grievances via the justice system. The concept comprises various forms of guaranteeing rights that are provided for both in the Brazilian constitution and in international human rights treaties, which include legal channels, alternative dispute resolution, conciliation, mediation and education on rights.

Previous challenges

With 100 projects across 21 Brazilian states, the 3rd edition of the Access to Justice Challenge divided participants into new categories:

  • Large civil society organizations (prizes ranging from BRL 30,000 to BRL 60,000)
  • Small civil society organizations (prizes ranging from BRL 20,000 to BRL 40,000)
  • Academic initiatives (prizes ranging from BRL 10,000 to BRL 20,000)

Six winning initiatives from the states of Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul and Tocantins received a share of the BRL 150,000 in total prizemoney. The total amount distributed among the projects was 25% higher than expected at the time registration first opened. The winning initiatives benefit black women, people living with HIV/AIDS and urban squatter communities, among others.

Meet the winners

Prizemoney: BRL 40,000

This initiative trains black women with law degrees for civil service exams required to occupy positions in Brazil’s Judiciary. It focuses on fighting structural racism and sexism, as well as defending racial and gender equality policies. It is an innovative initiative to change the current profile of public professionals in the Brazilian justice system.

"We usually talk about the black population as defendants in the dock rather than in positions of power. Being considered in a call for proposals concerning access to justice is a significant boost toward our goal, which is to bring the power of black people into the courts, where this diversity is essential."
Juliana Lima, Education Director – Abayomi Juristas Negras
The Abayomi Black Jurists website is available at

Prizemoney: BRL 20,000

This project provides free legal and social assistance for vulnerable urban squatter communities, focusing on guaranteeing their individual and collective rights. The project provides for installing computers and internet connections in two occupied areas, expanding access to online legal advice offered by supervised law students from Unisinos, a Brazilian academic institution.

"We seek to empower the squatter communities to take ownership of their rights. We want to thank you for the opportunity you have given to us, this prize will allow us to develop and expand so many things in our project."
Maria Alice Rodrigues, Coordinator – Socio-Legal Practices Program, Unisinos
The Unisinos Legal Practices Program website is available at

Prizemoney: BRL 30,000

Gestos, an NGO based in Brazil’s Northeast, has pioneered a free service that works to guarantee access to treatment, social security, welfare and labor benefits for people living with HIV and AIDS. The project also provides legal assistance in cases involving discrimination and other forms of violence, and stimulates civic responsibility in people living with HIV/Aids – especially in regard to monitoring public policies.

"It was very important for us to receive this prize, which helps to make the importance of our legal work more visible so that people living with HIV and AIDS have access to their rights."
Kariana Guérios de Lima, Lawyer and Member – Gestos
Gestos' website is available at

Prizemoney: BRL 20,000

The focus of this project is to protect the rights of children and adolescents who are ordered to undertake social and educational correctional measures in the state of Tocantins. It works with families, giving youths access to lawyers who can work on their legal defense so that any measures are carried out in a dignified manner and in the shortest possible time. It also monitors important cases of serious human rights violations in institutions for children and adolescents.

"Confronting and strengthening the justice system has always been our institutional mission [...] guaranteeing access to justice and monitoring the issues of the right to a full defense and the right to adversarial proceedings, which is denied, above all, to boys and girls who deprived of liberty."
Monica Pereira Brito, Executive Secretary – Cedeca (Tocantins)
Cedeca's website is available at

Prizemoney: BRL 20,000

This initiative offers legal advice to collectors of recyclable material and farmers on formally organized collective settlements, and also assists with regularizing enterprises and accessing information on public policies.

"The prize came at an excellent time [...] Due to the [Covid-19] crisis, we only kept our scholarships for extension programs running so as not to lose our contact with the community. We work with people who are on the poverty line, offering legal advice and training in the solidarity economy."
Fernanda H. C. Alcântara, Program Coordinator/Creator – UFJF
The website for the Ambiente-se Program is available at

Prizemoney: BRL 20,000

Since 2017, this initiative has been working to fight against the wrongful conviction of innocent people in Brazil. The project receives requests for legal assistance from all over the country via letters or an online form – and has already managed to reverse important cases that have received nationwide coverage. It also takes a preventive approach, which seeks to highlight the problem of judicial errors for both the legal system and society.

"This prize has breathed life into the project, which motivates us to continue on this path – it is not easy, but very exciting. This recognition gives us the energy to keep fighting for something we believe in so much [...] which is to act in cases of wrongful conviction and to address the topic of miscarriages of justice."
Flávia Rahal, Director – Innocence Project Brazil
The project's website is available at

In spite of the difficulties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the second Desafio de Acesso à Justiça was as equally successful as the awards held during 2019. The four winning organizations received prizemoney totaling BRL 160,000 – 15% more than had been expected when registrations first opened in June 2020.

A total of 124 initiatives across all of Brazil’s five main regions took part in the challenge. Winning initiatives came from the Southeast, North and Northeast regions and all of them were led by women.

See the winners

_Prizemoney: BRL 50,000
With its psychosocial support project for prisoners, prison leavers and their families, the Labor, Prison, and Human Rights Studies Laboratory - UFMG was among the winners of the 2nd Desafio de Acesso à Justiça. With its psychosocial support project for prisoners, prison leavers and their families, the Labor, Prison, and Human Rights Studies Laboratory - UFMG was among the winners of the 2nd Desafio de Acesso à Justiça.

The proposal is based on three fundamental pillars: Psychosocial and legal assistance to prisoners, prison leavers, and their family members; ‘Plataforma Desencarcera,’ a platform for reporting rights violations; and ‘Curso de Desencarceradores Populares,’ a course designed to strengthen understanding of prisoners’ rights.

"We intend to use this award to continue offering psychosocial care, as well as to expand Plataforma Desencarcera in order to receive complaints regarding rights violations in the correctional education system. Moreover, we will also be able to offer the Curso de Desencarceradores Populares to people in the interior of Minas Gerais. Due to the size of the state, it is a significant challenge."
Carolyne Barros, project coordinator
SEE THE PROJECT PROFILE ON INSTAGRAM

_Prizemoney: BRL 50,000
Repórter Brasil was among the winners of the 2nd Desafio de Acceso à Justiça with its initiative combating slave labor in the city of Manaus. Repórter Brasil was among the winners of the 2nd Desafio de Acceso à Justiça with its initiative combating slave labor in the city of Manaus.

The purpose of this project is to ensure social and legal assistance to workers rescued from slave labor conditions in Manaus as a starting point for the defense of their rights. To achieve this, the initiative aims to provide social assistance training to professionals in the city of Manaus around the issues of slave labor, migration, and human trafficking.

"We are very happy to see that a diverse range of projects from many different have joined the struggle to ensure greater access to justice for vulnerable groups and communities. It is an honor to win this award alongside these other initiatives.”
Natália Suzuki, coordinator - Repórter Brasil
VISIT ESCRAVO, NEM PENSAR!'S WEBSITE

_Prizemoney: BRL 30,000
With a project involving the development of a game promoting children and adolescents' rights, Fast Food da Política was one of the winners of the 2nd Desafio de Acesso à Justiça. With a project involving the development of a game promoting children and adolescents' rights, Fast Food da Política was one of the winners of the 2nd Desafio de Acesso à Justiça.

Considering the 30th anniversary of the Brazilian Statute of the Child and Adolescent, the proposal involves the development of a game based on both the advances in and challenges to the rights of children and adolescents – designed with the participation of specialists, children, and adolescents.

"It is with great joy and satisfaction that we received the news of our award in the 2nd Desafio de Acesso à Justiça, together with other initiatives that are just as important and valuable. We are thankful for having had the opportunity and for being recognized."
Bruna Quirino, coordinator - Fast Food da Política
VISIT FAST FOOD DA POLÍTICA's WEBSITE

_Prizemoney: BRL 30,000
With a project involving the development of a game promoting children and adolescents' rights, Fast Food da Política was one of the winners of the 2nd Desafio de Acesso à Justiça. With a project involving the development of a game promoting children and adolescents' rights, Fast Food da Política was one of the winners of the 2nd Desafio de Acesso à Justiça.

This project promotes access to justice by presenting a theatrical play in public spaces, which addresses issues of law, gender, race, class, and the fight to stop violence against women in the northeastern state of Piauí. The project is carried out in collaboration with the Brazilian Bar Association’s (OAB) Commission for Supporting the Victim of Violence and the Commission for Truth on Slavery.

"The Trupe de Mulheres seeks to create discussion around racism and machismo, which though it oppresses us and makes our society so unequal, is taboo. This prize will help us reach many more municipalities and communities."
Talita do Monte, coordinator - Trupe de Mulheres Esperança Garcia
SEE TRUPE DE MULHERES ESPERANÇA GARCIA'S PROFILE ON INSTAGRAM

The first-ever Desafio de Acesso à Justiça mobilized collectives and organizations from all over Brazil, with 133 different initiatives registering. Three of these initiatives stood out and won awards totaling BRL 140,000. “This award is a way for us to start collaborating with these institutions. We have a lot to celebrate,” said the director of Instituto Mattos Filho, Flavia Regina Oliveira de Souza.

Initially, the amount of prize money to be distributed stood at BRL 100,000, though Instituto Mattos Filho later increased this to allow for the consideration of more projects. Ary Oswaldo Mattos Filho, one of Mattos Filho’s founding partners and an associate of Instituto Mattos Filho, stressed the social importance of the initiative. “The courts in Brazil are expensive and slow, so in this context the award makes sense. Through it, we seek to find more intelligent mechanisms for overcoming the challenges disadvantaged people face regarding access to justice.”

See the winners

_Prizemoney: BRL 60,000
The Maré de Direitos project, winner of the 1st Desafio de Acesso à Justiça, offers social and legal assistance to residents of the 16 communities that make up the neighborhood of Complexo da Maré (Rio de Janeiro). The Maré de Direitos project, winner of the 1st Desafio de Acesso à Justiça, offers social and legal assistance to residents of the 16 communities that make up the neighborhood of Complexo da Maré (Rio de Janeiro).

This project promotes access to justice for the residents of the 16 communities that make up Complexo da Maré, a low-income neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. By providing social and legal support to welcome and guide residents, the project aims to impact local public policies in the medium to long term.

"Being recognized by Instituto Mattos Filho is very important for us, as it gives our work credibility."
Edson Diniz Nóbrega Júnior, director - Redes da Maré
VISIT REDES DA MARÉ'S WEBSITE

_Prizemoney: BRL 50,000

This initiative empowers community leaders to exercise social control in the recovery of land, by means of political and legal approaches.

"The prize will help us to carry on offering our free legal services, as we have been doing for many years."
Eliseu José de Oliveira, director
VISIT CENTRO DE AGRICULTURA ALTERNATIVA'S WEBSITE

_Prizemoney: BRL 30,000
The team behind 'Transpasse', a project conducted byClínica de Direitos Humanos da UFMG, a winner of the 1st Desafio de Acesso à Justiça. The team behind 'Transpasse', a project conducted byClínica de Direitos Humanos da UFMG, a winner of the 1st Desafio de Acesso à Justiça.

The project significantly impacts the lives of transsexuals and transvestites by improving their access to justice.

"This financial assistance has come at the perfect time, as our resources are scarce. Now, we will be able to fly higher."
Júlia Vidal, project coordinator
VISIT TRANSPASSE'S FACEBOOK PROFILE

Frequently asked questions

How does the Desafio de Acesso à Justiça work? Which categories exist? Can my initiative take part in the Desafio de Acesso à Justiça? How are initiatives evaluated? Get answers for all your questions about the 3rd Desafio de Acesso à Justiça!

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