Mirian Assumpcao e Lima
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Fellow Since 2002
This profile was prepared when Mirian Assumpcao e Lima was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Mírian Assumpção e Lima, one of the first female police officers in Brazil, observed that the police's aggressive and violent law enforcement was not succeeding in reducing violence in poor urban communities. The repressive control and brutality that characterize police actions in favelas (poor slums) in Brazil are alienating community members, particularly youths, and contributing to escalating violence and social exclusion. The result is animosity between residents and police, with each side blaming the other for lack of public security, and a violent, dangerous environment. To change this, Mírian is promoting a more effective system for policing that involves community members and police. She has created value-based training for police officers, departmental management, and community programs that improve relations between the police and the communities they serve in order to reduce rates of violence, crime, and police brutality. Her approach makes police officers and young people take responsibility for peace and security in their communities and prevents violence by creating new educational, professional, and cultural opportunities for poor youth.