Daiene Mendes

Favela-based journalist, human rights activist

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


“I believe we can build a collective narrative and be the subjects of our own stories.”

Leadership: Daiene Mendes is a journalist and human rights advocate in Alemão, a favela in Rio de Janeiro. She served as a correspondent for the Guardian during the Olympic Games in Rio, reporting on the event’s impact on life in the favelas. With the help of a WhatsApp group she founded with 30 favela-based journalists, her coverage provided an alternative view of the widely covered Games.

Daiene’s work weaves together journalism and popular education. She is growing a movement of journalists who are telling the stories of their communities, breaking down stereotypes of the favelas, and organizing against inequality in the media. She also works at Witness, an international nonprofit that helps people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. She previously organized a data journalism course with the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism, interned with Amnesty International, and created a portal of news from the favelas called Favela em Pauta.

Vision: Affirmative action policies in Brazil have led to a rising generation of educated individuals from favelas who continue to face prejudice and lack of opportunity. Daiene hopes to lift up community-based journalists and media-makers and help them counter mainstream narratives on inequality and violence in Brazil.