Health Promotion in Debate: The Role of Women Leaders in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Nilza Rogéria de Andrade Nunes (Lead / Corresponding author), Dais Rocha, Andréa Rodriguez

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This study aimed to discuss the actions of women leaders in favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, regarding the health promotion of people residing in territories affected by urban violence and inequalities. The understanding of SDH is not unequivocal and challenges us to expand our practices in health promotion and equity. A mixed-methods study was conducted with 200 women living in 169 favelas of Rio de Janeiro between 2018 and 2022. Questionnaires and semi-structured face-to-face interviews followed by thematic analysis were conducted. The analysis focused on the socio-demographic profile, community activism, and health promotion strategies undertaken by these groups, expanding knowledge on the experiences of these leaders in confronting social injustices. Results showed that participants performed health promotion actions by strengthening popular participation and human rights, creating environments favorable to health, and developing personal skills towards social participation in policy design through mobilizing health services and third-sector organizations. With the limited presence of government public agents in these spaces, these women assumed roles as managers of local demands, and, by means of resistance, intersectionality, and solidarity, they transformed this micro-power into the potential for social transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5926
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023


  • women leaders
  • favela
  • health promotion
  • participatory methodology


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