Asili in action: Nespresso, farming families, and a new vision of commerce

Friends, it’s official: last year, we acquired Asili, a revolutionary new model for providing world-class services in the world’s most challenging places — not just during emergencies, but for life. 

You’ve heard how the Asili business model will let ECI take our transformative vision for health, freedom and prosperity farther than ever before. But what does that mean in practice?

Today, we are proud to present just a taste of the beautiful work ECI and Asili are doing together.

The Asili business model is a transformative way to build and sustain world-class services in the communities who need them most. That’s why some of the world’s most visionary companies have begun to invest in Asili services to build a long-term relationship with the people and communities who supply the products they need. 

“For centuries, international supply chains have extracted resources from the global South without giving anything back, with disastrous results for the natural environment and human societies,” says ECI executive director Abraham Leno. “But finally, that is changing for the better. Companies today are beginning to work with nonprofits, the public sector, and communities to build a new kind of global business, which respects the interdependence of environmental stewardship, economic justice, and human dignity.”

That is exactly what Nespresso is doing in the beautiful coffee-growing communities of the DRC’s Minova region, on the shores of Lake Kivu. This beautiful part of the world was once a leading supplier of gourmet coffee beans, but a generation of constant armed conflict almost destroyed Congo’s coffee sector. But the farmers in Minova persevered. Even through violence, deep poverty and disease, these agricultural communities had faith that they would one day sell their coffee again. 

We are proud to say that these farmers’ faith and endurance was not in vain. 

Presenting Kahawa ya Congo

The shore of Lake Kivu is one of the world’s great coffee regions, but most Congolese farmers are not coffee drinkers themselves. Gaudencia Mw’Hungwe, one of the ECI’s partner smallholders, is among the farmers who are growing the beans for Nespresso’s new organic coffee, made exclusively by the farmers of Minova, South Kivu. In these photos, Gaudencia tries her own coffee for the first time. It was surprising!

In partnership with ECI and the farmers of Minova, Nespresso has released an exclusive single-origin coffee called Kahawa ya Congo, created exclusively from USDA-certified organic beans grown by the farming families of Minova, DRC. Customers in the United States can buy this exquisite coffee direct from Nespresso

But that’s not all. To realize the potential of the Lake Kivu coast as a world-class coffee region, Nespresso is investing $1.2 million to fund the initial capital cost of Asili water and healthcare infrastructure in Minova. “Working with partners to help cultivate and nurture sustainable coffee farms has been the heart of our business for over 30 years, with a goal to truly realize the transformative power of coffee and deliver the highest quality coffee to consumers across the globe,” said Alfonso Gonzalez Loeschen, CEO of Nespresso North America. “We’re proud of our partnerships, the work and the long-term positive impact for farmers and their communities.” 

Pour a cup of Congo

Our coffee-farming friends in the Congo need you to help spread the word! Here’s how:

  • Buy Kahawa ya Congo coffee. You can buy directly  from Nespresso here. The organic beans our friends grow in Congo produce an exquisite and distinctive coffee, with flavors of delicate fruits, toasted grains and rich nut flavors..
  • Learn about Congo’s coffee industry. After a generation of conflict, the farmers and cooperatives of eastern Congo are bringing one of the world’s great coffee-growing regions back to life. See where they are and what they do in the Congo Coffee Atlas
  • Chip in to support Congolese farming families. Donate to fund the work of ECI and Asili here. ◼