Empowering Favela Communities in Brazil

Themes: Education, Community Development

Related GLA Programs: Brazil: Rio & Amazon Expedition

Grant Recipient: Community in Action

Community in Action was founded in 2004 with the aim of exacting long-term change sustainably from the ground up in Rio de Jainero’s largest favela (shanty town) — today, they support several projects across seven favelas focusing on areas ranging from computer training to social outreach programs to urban gardening.

Donations support initiatives in education, youth development, environmental projects, women’s empowerment, youth programming and sports, and manual labor support.


1. Approximately six percent of Brazil’s population live in favelas. Today, there are about 1,000 favelas in Rio, which are home to about 25% of Rio de Jainero's population.

2. Community in Action is an established Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (OSCIP), the highest non-profit title given by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice.

3. Roughly 30% of Rio’s population is not connected to a formal sanitation system, which includes many favelas but also some of the city's more affluent neighborhoods.

Additional Information

Community in Action empowers Rio's communities in need through job training and education, striving to deliver the necessary skills and knowledge that allow community members in these low-income areas to compete in the job market, expand their economic horizons, and make wiser and healthier decisions for themselves and their families. The organization hosts hundreds of international volunteers each year who travel to Rio to support community development programs in the favelas.

In 2018 alone, CIA provided over 500 hours of English instruction, transformed and upgraded two community gardens, painted more than 100 houses and murals in the favelas, provided hundreds of hours of support for daycare centers and youth development programs, transformed two abandoned football fields, raised funds to rebuild a community building, and supported construction on two classrooms in an underserved school.