Based in Rio de Janeiro and with a US 501[c][3] charitable status, Catalytic Communities (CatComm) is an empowerment, communications, think tank, and advocacy NGO working since 2000 on behalf of Rio’s favelas at the intersection of sustainable community development, human rights, local-global networks, communications, and urban planning. CatComm supports and empowers residents of informal settlements, evolving strategically to support their needs as they arise.

CatComm functions as a news source, agenda setter, movement builder and research collaborative with the intention of supporting community-led favela development. Providing strategic training and communications–and functioning as a connector organization between favela civil society (community journalists and organizers, neighborhood collectives and associations), global civil society (international media and international advocates and activists), and academics and researchers–CatComm draws on the tools and resources of its collaborative and adaptive network to address the broad issues facing Rio’s favelas. CatComm builds knowledge and awareness across local and international spheres, resulting in policy recommendations and transforming public opinion through advocacy strategies.

CatComm champions an asset-based approach based on favela qualities and working to incubate a fair, rights-based and participatory model of favela integration to be exported as a solution to the challenges posed by informal housing worldwide. We conscientiously incubate programs to support Rio de Janeiro’s informal settlements knowing such communities will constitute nearly a third of the world’s population by 2050 (3 of 9.7 billion), and documenting what we do to serve as an example for other cities across the globe.

CatComm’s Organizational Life Cycle

Catalytic Communities is here to perform a specific sequence of long-term activities that, together, will trigger the desired catalytic effect the organization was launched [...]


Catalytic Communities’ mission is to generate models for effective community-led and people-centered development of informal settlements in cities across the globe, based [...]


Focused on small, quality projects that leverage greater impacts, CatComm has been recognized numerous times for the care and quality we put into our efforts: Winner of the [...]