Catalytic Communities is a nonprofit organization based in Rio de Janeiro dedicated to destigmatizing Rio de Janeiro’s favela communities and integrating them into the wider society, generating global recognition of their heritage status through education, research, training, communications, technology, networks, participatory planning and advocacy. Our mission is to improve quality of life for all Rio de Janeiro residents by driving a more effective integration between the city’s informal and formal communities, and in this way develop a model for replication in developing cities worldwide.
In the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, CatComm is the only organization in Rio working at the intersection of community development, social media, and global networks. Realizing this important and timely position, in 2010 we launched www.RioOnWatch.org (Rio Olympics Neighborhood Watch), Rio's only English-language community news site. RioOnWatch serves to (1) inform local and international public opinion by publishing favela perspectives on the transformations Rio is experiencing in the lead-up to these mega events; (2) influence public policy through bringing visibility to strategic news stories and opinions; (3) inform journalists who cover Rio both from local and international media organizations, so they incorporate favela views, nuance and detail, into their stories; and (4) combat the stigmas associated with Rio's favelas, since poor public policies towards these communities have been made possible due to widespread misinformation about these communities, denying their diverse attributes and accomplishments.
Our recent work with social media, journalism and video trainings for community organizers has built capacity across the city’s favelas to communicate and attract visibility to community actions and perspectives in the lead-up to these mega-events.