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UNESCO and LSE launch global model for bottom-up social development

Favelas 140A practical guide to tackling the social problems that arise in Brazil’s shanty towns – home to more than 11 million people – has been launched in Rio de Janeiro at a seminar organised by UNESCO and LSE.

The day-long event, on Tuesday 14 July, showcased the results of a lengthy research project between LSE researchers and the Brazilian government, policy makers, activists, NGOS, and members of Brazil’s favela communities.

Researchers launched a toolkit demonstrating how to get the most out of social development projects and how to successfully work with grassroots organisations in the favelas.

LSE Professor Sandra Jovchelovtich, the principal investigator, said the event built on the research findings of Underground Sociabilities, an international partnership that has studied the identity, culture and resilience of favela communities in Rio de Janeiro, based on two NGOs, AfroReggae and the Central Union of Favelas (CUFA).

“Since 2009, LSE and UNESCO in Brazil have led a number of international events on the creative power of dialogue between multiple voices from Brazil and the United Kingdom on bottom-up social development,” Professor Jovchelovitch said.

The programme included specialists from UNESCO and LSE who have mapped the approaches in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and are now disseminating them globally.

“This is a dialogue that still has much to teach us,” explained Professor Jovchelovitch. “These bottom- up solutions, with input and knowledge of the local reality, are essential to produce effective public policies and benefit many other communities.”

The research is the culmination of interviews with 204 residents from favela communities in Cantagalo Cidade de Deus, Madureira and Vigario Geral. It also involved a study about AfroReggae and CUFA organisations, analysis of 130 separate social development projects , and police interviews.

The study, co-ordinated by Professor Jovchelovitch and co-authored by Jacqueline Priego-Hernandez, also from LSE’s Department of Social Psychology, has cast light on day-to-day life in the favelas.

“These social practices remain invisible due to geographic, economic, symbolic, behavioural and cultural barriers, Dr Priego-Hernandez said.

“But through our research we have found ways to break down the barriers of exclusion and marginalisation faced by the favelas and create solutions to social problems found in these communities.”

What: Bottom up Social Development: a UK-Brazil Dialogue

Where: Candido Mendes University, Salao Marques do Parana, Rio de Janeiro

When: Tuesday 14 July, 9am-5pm

Additional information

• Programme of the Bottom-Up Social Development: a UK-Brazil Dialogue


Underground Sociabilities: Identity, Culture and Resistance in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro


• LSE blog: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/favelasatlse/ 

• Publication Bottom-Up Social Development in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas: a Toolkit – coming soon to UNESCO’s website www.unesco.org/brasilia .

Press contacts:

UNESCO in Brazil, Ana Lucia Guimaraes, +55 (61) 2106-3536, +55 (61) 9966-3287, a.guimaraes@unesco.org;  Demetrio Weber, +55 (61) 2106-3538, d.weber@unesco.org

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Candy Gibson, Senior Press Officer, LSE, 0207 955 7440 or c.gibson@lse.ac.uk

Posted 14 July 2015