Thursday, November 24, 2005

Tell Your Friends

Here are some ideas of what you can tell your friends about CatComm when you encourage them to sign the Pledge!


From our 3-Year Plan Executive Summary:

Tailored solutions exist, isolated in communities across the globe, for virtually any mentionable social or environmental challenge. Community sewerage systems, housing programs, HIV prevention initiatives, actions for democracy, day care, religious tolerance, and forest preservation are but a few of the projects one may stumble upon in some of the lowest-income communities in the world, all organized by local residents. Yet these initiatives struggle to survive for lack of visibility and support. And others who could be inspired by them have no idea that they exist.

It is for these reasons that Catalytic Communities (CatComm) was founded in 2000: to develop, inspire and empower a global network of communities generating and sharing solutions. Communities generate solutions all around us. But these efforts have never before been networked and publicized, nor have their protagonists had widespread access to one another, broader visibility, or tools and resources that can support them.

CatComm provides a unique new approach to community empowerment. By developing physical and virtual spaces for community exchange, we are creating for the first time in history the basic infrastructure that allows communities to share solutions across borders. The "Casa," our model networking hub in Rio de Janeiro offers a space for face-to-face events and Web access for community leaders across that metro region, while our Community Solutions Database and other online tools ( make searchable, detailed, community-generated solutions to everyday challenges available across languages and borders. Our full website is now available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

When we began, a decision was made to develop CatComm during a slow and thoughtful “proof of concept” period working closely with local leaders. Rio de Janeiro was chosen as the pilot city. From its inception in late 2000 through the end of 2004, close relationships and trust were built with local leaders and needs were assessed. The importance of physical space and face-to-face interactions among community leaders, along with Web-based tools and spaces, was made clear. During this period CatComm became a reference in Rio de Janeiro among local leaders, and the organization’s network grew to well over 1100 by word-of-mouth.

Today, our website has grown to include over 100 thoroughly detailed community projects from eight countries, with an equal number of positive success stories relayed to us by community organizers making use of CatComm’s networking spaces: the Casa and website. Over 11,000 visitors come to our site each month.

Some quotes from friends:

Patrick Donohue explains: "Catalytic Communities is organized around the belief that for every problem a community faces there exist other communities throughout the world experiencing similar challenges, many who have come up with solutions to such problems on their own. CatComm therefore focuses on creating a new type of community: a global network of community leaders generating and exchanging local solutions, both via CatComm’s physical spaces in Brazil and its virtual spaces (,,

'Everybody knows the proverb about how it’s better to teach a man to fish than just to give him a fish, but there’s a step beyond that: it’s better that a man’s neighbor is the one teaching him to fish, his peer. If some expert swoops in from afar you miss half the value of the interaction because of the inequality in that relationship. But if it’s his peer teaching him? Then the man is much more likely to offer something in return. You are much more likely to create a real living relationship rather than just a new dependency.'"

  • In Rio de Janeiro alone, Catalytic Communities has documented over 80 community initiatives, from the manufacturing of ecological bricks and couches made of plastic bottles, to community sewerage and housing programs. We've found communities that peacefully rid themselves of drug traffickers, and communities that avoid them from the get go. Community soup kitchens, daycare centers, and cultural preservation initiatives. After school sports, theatre groups, and fieldtrip programs...
  • Today CatComm supports over 500 community leaders from 72 neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro at its Casa and, through its website, some 11,000 unique visitors monthly from 65 countries, that learn from the 110 community programs now listed in the organization's unique Community Solutions Database. Look where we've come in 5 years! Imagine where we'll be in 5 more!
  • More importantly, community groups from Rio's favelas and African communities have shared with us over 100 successes they have experienced thanks to their participation in this vibrant and growing network! To view these success stories, click here.


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