Favelas toolkit for social change rolled out to another 400 million people

This toolkit shows how to successfully work with grassroots organisations in shanty towns like favelas

A toolkit aimed at improving the lives of the urban poor across the globe will be rolled out to a potential new audience of 400 million people this week when it is translated into Spanish.

Developed by researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in partnership with UNESCO, the toolkit provides a global model for bottom-up social development, based on the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Spanish favela toolkit 140pThe toolkit, which demonstrates a range of innovative and positive approaches adopted in Rio’s slums to bring about social change, was officially launched by UNESCO and LSE in Brazil in 2015.

UNESCO will launch the Spanish version on October 17 in Quito, Ecuador, at the UN’s conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III.

Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch, the principal investigator of the favela research project, said the toolkit demonstrates the power of bottom up social development in tackling social problems.

“It shows how to successfully work with grassroots organisations in shanty towns like favelas with input and knowledge from people living in those communities,” she said.

The Spanish version of the toolkit will benefit at least 21 countries in Latin America, Africa and Europe, where Spanish is spoken.

Sandra JovchelovitchProfessor Jovchelovitch will also form part of a panel at the Habitat III conference, addressing the social challenges which cities face, particularly those that are overcrowded with high unemployment, poverty and inequality.

“We will be discussing several themes, including the importance of cultural diversity, the inclusion of migrants and indigenous peoples in cities, the role of youth in cities and the potential of drawing on community generated data for promoting urban inclusion,” Professor Jovchelovitch said.

Behind the article

Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch is based at LSE’s Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. She is available for interviews in Quito, Ecuador, from 17-19 October 2016, while taking part in the United Nations conference. Her email is  Alternatively, contact Jacqueline Priego at

More information about the Habitat III UN conference is available at

Additional information on the toolkit, built on the research findings of Underground Sociabilities: Identity, Culture and Resistance in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, is available at: