Community in Action

About Community in Action

Community in Action (Comunidade em Ação) is a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) located in one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela (shanty town) communities. The organization was established in 2004, founded on three over-arching principles: (1) community change truly begins from the ground-up: individuals helping individuals, neighbors helping neighbors, the community helping the community; (2) unique perspectives and skill-sets from outside the favela help facilitate community development; (3) a well-organized administrative structure that includes short- and long-term strategies is the key to sustainable community development.

Local Human Resources:

Since 2004, community members have staffed the majority of human resource and administrative positions at the NGO; and they also make up our local network. The majority of NGOs in Rio offer educational outreach programs on a service model: favela inhabitants simply use the services that others – who live outside the community – deem they need. We implemented a new approach, a new vision – one that fosters the possibility of long-term educational growth and community change by putting problem solving directly in the hands of local residents. Today, volunteers help identify problems and work alongside local residents to support community development initiatives.

Foreign Volunteer Support:

Favela residents represent the true change agents who can ensure long-term community transformation. To support this, foreign volunteers are able to deliver unique perspectives and educational tools based on background expertise. It is a two-way street when volunteers from abroad work in the favela: local residents learn best practices and foreign social entrepreneurs gain valuable community development experience. Both avenues serve as building blocks to help others pursue their educational development goals. Since 2004, Community in Actions has hosted more than 1,000 foreign volunteers, who have traveled to Rio and delivered diverse outreach initiatives, such as cultural and educational programs, vocational training, sporting and leisure events, manual labor support, and much more. In 2012, we expanded our volunteer placement services, connecting foreign social entrepreneurs and volunteers with community organizations throughout the region to make an even greater impact.

Strategic Planning and Administration:

A comprehensive administrative structure and flexible operating model leads to long-term sustainability with grassroots development programs. One year before opening in 2004, the Community in Action team developed strategic business plans for all areas of the NGO: educational classes, marketing, finance, human resources, and other administrative processes. Since this time, Community in Action’s Executive and Program Directors have followed this mindset, continuously building upon and enhancing the organization’s framework. Combining local human resources with a well-organized administrative structure has allowed Community in Action to serve more than 10,000 underprivileged favela residents for the past 11 years.

Legal Status:

ASSOCIAÇÃO COMUNIDADE EM AÇÃO (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 whose purpose is to facilitate the emergence of partnerships and agreements with all levels of government and public agencies (federal, state, and municipal). The institution is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (CGC / CNPJ No. 07121.369/0001-00) and is also recognized as a non-profit community based social service agency under section 501 (c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code: EIN # 208421010.

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