Volunteers Needed for Final Favela Perceptions Survey

Are you or students you know interested in gaining hands-on experience as a survey researcher?

Catalytic Communities is seeking volunteer captains, surveyors and collaborators in major cities to help implement our final Favela Perceptions Survey. With this year’s Olympic Games coming to Rio and the international spotlight on Brazil, more people than ever are hearing about favelas. It’s time to find out what they think and how their views have changed!

Misplaced perceptions of Rio’s favelas are greatly responsible for the mounting sequence of ineffective policies towards them. This is because policies and programs are often written in response to trends in public opinion and as a form of marketing, rather than true investment in fundamental improvements to resident outcomes. Interesting findings from past years reveal that the vast majority of those with negative perceptions of favelas first heard of them through a mainstream news source and films or movies. While some of those who held positive views of favelas first heard of them through mainstream news sources, a larger portion of those with positive impressions first heard of favelas through traveling to Brazil, with significant numbers through NGOs and other channels. The survey also uncovers specific media influencers, the role of favela tours in affecting perceptions, and a range of other data.

This year’s survey will be the final of five and thus the most important. We plan to survey twice this year–late April/early May (prior to August’s Olympic Games) and again in September (following the Games) to learn how the Olympics affects these figures. The survey works in dialogue with the broader work CatComm is conducting, not least the longitudinal media analysis we’ve been undertaking. By gauging the current state of global perceptions, CatComm can develop strategies to inform international public opinion which has a direct impact on policies on the ground, advocate for more constructive policies, and provide a framework that can be used by similar communities struggling worldwide.


  • Easy access to one of these cities: New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London or Rio de Janeiro. If you have access to a different metro region of 2 million or more and can participate during both volunteer periods, please be in touch too.
  • Can volunteer approximately 20 hours from April 20 – May 10 as well as during the month of September.
  • Ability to print 20 surveys and then enter data within one week following surveying.
  • [If possible] Recruit four friends and lead a group of five as a team captain in your city.

You will receive training via Skype on how to conduct surveys as well as how to enter the data into SurveyMonkey (which has graciously donated their platinum service to us to facilitate data analysis). We estimate 20 hours of your time will be needed in total during each survey period (late April/early May and again in September). Our hope is to have five volunteers in each of the five cities, each collecting and entering 20 survey responses. Survey results will be published in November, analyzing all five years’ data, and will help steer CatComm’s strategy beyond the 2016 Olympics. In gratitude your name will be highlighted in the final report.

Interested?  Please contact us at survey@catcomm.org, and tell us why and where you’d like to participate as a survey researcher. Please let us know also if you can pull together a team of five.