17.10.2016 - UNESCOPRESS

UN Habitat III participants will learn about innovative experiences in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas

During UN Habitat III (17-20/10/2016, in Quito, Ecuador), the Spanish version of the publication “Bottom-Up Social Development in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas: A Toolkit” will be launched. It is a practical guide and manual containing tools, information and concepts based on evidence about the social development model found in grassroots organizations.

The Guide is aimed at opinion makers, activists, experts, community leaders, teachers, engaged young people and policy makers interested in successful strategies and innovative approaches on how to work with grassroots organizations and elaborate public policies in Brazil.

The theme is of great importance to the discussions that will produce a new urban agenda for the next 20 years, one of the objectives of the UN Habitat III. The content of the Toolkit contributes to a global model of bottom-up social development, demonstrating how ground-breaking experiences from favela organizations, with inputs and knowledge from the local reality, can provide a basis to innovative approaches and help promote real social change.

The publication builds on the research findings of Underground Sociabilities, an international and inter-institutional partnership that studied the identity, culture and resilience of favela communities in Rio de Janeiro, based on the NGOs AfroReggae and CUFA (Central Union of Favelas).  Since 2009, the London Schools of Economics (LSE) and UNESCO in Brazil have led a number of international events on the creative power of dialogue between government, policy makers, activists, NGOs, researchers and marginalized citizens.         

The launching will take place on 17 October, 2016, at 6:15 p.m., in the Centro de Convenciones Eugenio Espejo (Quito, Ecuador), following the debate on social inclusion and non-discrimination entitled “Sharing good practices in promoting urban inclusion and non-discrimination”, organized by UNESCO and the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities. Professor of Social Psychology and Director of the Masters in Social and Cultural Psychology at the LSE, Sandra Jovchelovitch, and the Deputy Director for Programme of UNESCO Office in Brazil, will participate in the events. 

Underground Sociabilities 

The research in which the discussions of the International Dialogue are based consisted on interviews with 204 residents of the communities of Cantagalo Cidade de Deus, Madureira and Vigário Geral. It also involved a study about AfroReggae and CUFA organizations, with the analysis of 130 social development projects and interviews with their leaders, as well as an assessment with experts, observers and partners of the two institutions in Rio de Janeiro, including the police.

The study, coordinated by Sandra Jovchelovitch, from LSE, and co-authored by the researcher Jaqueline Priego-Hernandez, from Bournemouth University (formerly at LSE), casts light on the so-called underground sociabilities in the favelas, social life practices that are part of the daily routine of Brazilian society, but remain invisible due to geographic, economic, symbolic, behavioral, and cultural barriers. Based on alternative forms of integration, socialization and social regeneration capable of breaking the barriers of exclusion and marginalization faced by favela communities, new possibilities arise to create different solutions to the social problems found in these communities.

More information: 

UNESCO Office in Brazil

Ana Lúcia Guimarães, (+55-61)2106-3536, (+55-61)9966-3287,


Fabiana Pullen, (+55-61)2106-3596, f.sousa(at)unesco.org

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 

Candy Gibson, Senior Media Relations Officer, LSE, (+44) 0207 955 7440,


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