We believe that local, community-based approaches are the key to a successful society in eastern Congo.

We also believe that current aid structures aren’t working as effectively or efficiently as needed for communities to thrive. If we are to see a shift in Congo’s self-sustainability, international power imbalances need to be addressed, the global commitment to localization must be prioritized, and equal-stake public-private partnerships must be encouraged and grow.

Objective 1: Promote implementation of localized funding

Founded to fund local organizations in eastern Congo, ECI has distributed over $10.5 million to 45 community organizations.

In 2020, the United States and other Grand Bargain signatories only designated an average of 2.1% of aid dollars to local actors. As these countries work to increase this to 25%, ECI is uniquely positioned to expose implementation barriers and build solutions.

A selection of current actions:

  • Collaborative research on correlation of local support and long-term success of WASH projects in South Kivu
  • Support with elected officials on effective international aid and the role of local organizations, community leaders, and businesses
  • Newest member of the Millennium Water Alliance, advocating for local water solution support

Objective 2: Improve support for economic development and collaborative private-sector engagement in the Kivus

We interviewed dozens of local organizations in 2021, seeking to better understand their communities needed most. The resounding answer: support for economic development.

If people have access to stabile income, their children go to school, they access health care, they can dream and build a better tomorrow.

Beyond our direct grants to entrepreneurs, ECI works to increase international companies investment in Congo with a focus on inclusive growth. To learn more about our work in strengthening markets, visit our partners page.


ECI uses targeted methods to communicate directly to select individuals who can help shape policies and action in the government, academic and private sectors. Our advocacy efforts pair robust scholarly research with authentic voices from eastern Congo shared via media and strategic outreach. The issues are complex and the lack of verifiable information discourages many Congo observers from becoming Congo advocates. ECI will continue to fill the DRC information gap by gathering original source information through our work in grant making, expert field research, and direct polling. This information enables ECI to effectively engage the US executive and legislative branches, as well as the private sector through policy briefings, testimony, meetings, learning tours, published reports, and social media.