Posted on May 19, 2020
Months ago, Un Jour Nouveau (UJN), a local community organization in the Congo, was planning to use $500 in capital from ECI to strengthen their dressmaking program, a social enterprise that helps women in North Kivu uplift their communities with training in business, leadership and in-demand skills. UJN planned to use half the money to set up a display of students’ handmade clothing at the 2020 Women Of Congo exhibition, and to use the other $250 to buy fabric and supplies. As the pandemic overtook their plans, the women’s entrepreneurial agility transformed that $500 grant into infinitely more.
Posted on May 11, 2020
Living in conditions of fragility and scarcity is a profound misfortune, to be sure. But misfortune survived turns into enduring wisdom. At this moment of global crisis, I want to share some simple ideas I have learned from a lifetime of partnership with people who have been through the unimaginable and survived.
Posted on Apr 29, 2020
In DRC and other difficult places, where suffering is unavoidable, people find reasons to live with their suffering. I have seen people find the most sustaining reasons for living when living is hardest to bear.
Posted on Apr 28, 2020
A disaster, even a very long-lasting one, has a beginning and an end. It is important to remember that we were human before the disaster, and we will be human after the disaster too. During times of crisis, our most important duty is to meet people’s most immediate needs — safety, shelter, medical care, food and water. But everyone’s humanity transcends those urgent needs. .
Posted on Apr 27, 2020
It isn’t just health care professionals who have the opportunity to be powerful in this moment of crisis. Around the world, essential workers are building their own power every time they make a delivery, clean a toilet, or cook a meal. And in doing their work, these essential workers — like Georges, Pierre, and Dr. Johny — are giving the rest of us the power we need to get through the pandemic.
Posted on Apr 27, 2020
As executive director of ECI, it gives me great pride to see that our teams in Congo are as committed as ever to serve their own people. Our programs are resilient, our staff is the best in the world, and our mission to serve the Congolese people is stronger than ever.
Posted on Apr 26, 2020
In a crisis that requires handwashing, clean water is indispensable. In a crisis that demands quarantine and medical treatment, clinics and clinicians are indispensable. If our businesses were to survive to serve our communities after the pandemic, we had to serve our communities during it — cost what it might. If you are in the position to make choices about whom to help during this disaster, be aware of what you are doing. How you use the power you have right now will clarify what business you are in.
Posted on Apr 25, 2020
Misfortune survived turns into expertise. When ECI began ten years ago, our founders, Ben Affleck and Whitney Williams, decided to invest in exactly that kind of expertise. Rather than parachuting into eastern Congo to set up well-meaning “programs,” the way most international humanitarian organizations do, Ben and Whitney realized that Congolese people were already solving the challenges they faced — with greater skill, wisdom and ingenuity than foreigners ever could.
Posted on Apr 24, 2020
Part of what makes the coronavirus pandemic so difficult for many Americans is the sense of shock that comes with it. But most of the human family has endured prolonged suffering like this before. The experience of survivors can provide comfort, hope and wisdom.
Posted on Apr 23, 2020
At this moment of global crisis, our executive wants to share some of the ideas he has learned from a lifetime of partnership with people who have been through the unimaginable and survived. At a time of confusion and despair, these ideas might help you find your way to clarity, and even hope. We're calling this series "How to Survive a Disaster."