In just over a year, Covid-19 has killed 5,166 just in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.* That's more people than in 165 entire nations around the world. Unfortunately, while hope is growing elsewhere with the arrival of vaccines, in Rio they have been hard to come by and slow on arrival. It is predicted that many cariocas will only see a vaccine in 2022. Meanwhile, with the end of emergency aid from the federal government and high rates of unemployment, we are seeing people returning to their 'normal lives', ignoring the pandemic while a new more deadly variant prospers.
As a result, Brazil is seeing boom in hunger. Years ago removed from the World Hunger Map, hunger in Brazil is back with a vengeance. Favela residents, consistently the most vulnerable of Rio's population, are now having to choose between dying of Covid-19 or dying of hunger. According to data collected by Data Favela, for every 10 people interviewed, 8 did not have enough money to feed themselves, without donations. The same data show that for every 10 people, 7 said that the pandemic has worsened their quality of their nutrition.
Over a year now, we at Catalytic Communities have ramped up our efforts to support favela organizers at the frontlines of Covid-19 prevention and mitigation. We dedicated our community reporting platform RioOnWatch to constant coverage as resistance efforts unfolded. We quickly developed, launched and expanded the Covid-19 In Favelas Unified Dashboard, which has become the primary reference on Covid-19 in Rio's favelas. In 2020 we held over 150 live community Zoom meetings hosting some 2000 people, provided food stuffs to those on the frontlines and distributed sanitizer in partnership with Engineers Without Borders. We raised funds for waste pickers who conduct 90% of Brazil's recycling yet are among the hardest hit by this pandemic. We connected favela organizers with global media outlets who covered their stories, and spoke globally about what was happening.
In 2021, these efforts continue, alongside our other programs, which range from reporting on antirracism and energy justice in favelas, to realizing the first virtual international exchange of sustainable favela projects and the national expansion of Favela Community Land Trusts.
But continuing with all of this vital work depends on you taking action now.
On this page you can offer three kinds of assistance:
- Immediate humanitarian support to favela households facing down hunger, through CatComm's network of trusted community parters. Favela-based organizations have been responsible for keeping the situation from getting much worse, and they need our help now to fight the latest consequence of Covid-19: widespread hunger.
- Ongoing, strategic community organizing support to favela organizers on the frontlines, through CatComm's communications, networking, training and capacity-building programs.
- General support to CatComm or our specific programs: RioOnWatch community reporting platform, the Sustainable Favela Network, the Favela Community Land Trust program, or the Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard.
Please know that your support is important. We have only been able to respond to favelas' urgent needs since March 2020 thanks to one-time and recurring donations from supporters like you.
But to keep it up we need existing supporters to renew their support and new donors to join them. Please take a moment today to set up a one-time or recurring donation, of any amount, and to ask friends to do the same.
We are counting on supporters like you.
—CatComm Team and Rio de Janeiro community partners
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*Data from the Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard, a community data-sourcing initiative of Catalytic Communities. Please note that these numbers represent an underassessment: they only reflect confirmed deaths covering 66% of Rio's favela households.