Blog

How the women of Un Jour Nouveau turned $500 in fabric into $50,000 in sales — and saved countless lives

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.

News from ECI, February 2020

Posted on Feb 20, 2020

I am writing to you from Bukavu, where the year is off to a busy start. Congo has been going through an Ebola outbreak, but I am happy to say it seems to be under control. The new government of President Félix Tshisekedi is reaching out to the governments of Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi — a promising start to the healing of old wounds in our region. Meanwhile, we are expecting Monusco, the UN peacekeeping force in DRC, to step down their troop levels. We’re keeping an eye on the situation, which has the potential to affect the economy and security of some of our partners...

Assessing the Growth Potential of Eastern Congo’s Coffee and Cocoa Sectors

Posted on Mar 13, 2018

This piece first appeared on the Center for Strategic and International Studies website and accompanies a new report from CSIS and ECI examining challenges and opportunities in the DRC cocoa and coffee sectors.  Assessing the Growth Potential of Eastern Congo’s Coffee and Cocoa Sectors Richard Downie, CSIS March 8th, 2018 During the past decade, donors and […]

The Amani Festival gives center stage to Congolese entrepreneurs

Posted on Feb 23, 2018

The Amani Peace Festival began in 2013 when the notorious rebel group, M23, occupied the city of Goma in eastern Congo. Now in its fifth year, the festival is inspiring proof of Congolese resiliency. It’s also just a lot of fun.  A day of music and art, the Amani Festival attracts people from across Goma’s multi-ethnic […]

ECI and partners bring new hope to survivors of landmine-related violence in eastern Congo

Posted on Feb 02, 2018

(Photos by Gerry Kahashy, ECI) In the Lake Kivu/Virunga National Park region of eastern Congo, landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) are a constant danger to coffee workers and their families. Indiscriminate as to their victims, mines and ERW have killed thousands of Congolese civilians. Children, especially, have been affected, accounting for more than […]

New York Times Opinion: Ben Affleck reflects on his engagement in Congo

Posted on Dec 19, 2017

(This article was printed in the New York Times Opinion section on December 4th, 2017)  When I first visited eastern Congo in 2006, it was difficult to understand how anyone could be hopeful about the region’s future. The Congolese had just emerged from a decade of some of the worst violence the world had known […]

Coffee: Providing an Economic Jolt to Eastern Congo?

Posted on Dec 05, 2017

This post is from Richard Downie at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Can the once-thriving coffee sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) be revived? An increasing number of players seem to think so, including donors, coffee companies, the Congolese government, and many thousands of farmers. Their initial investments, centered on the […]

Meet the coffee farming families supported by ECI

Posted on Nov 01, 2017

In rural communities in eastern DRC, coffee farming provides an essential source of income for tens of thousands of people. ECI assists farmers access international markets and provides technical assistance to coffee cooperatives. Click here to meet Jean, a coffee farmer at an ECI-supported cooperative, as he explains the challenges of coffee farming in the […]

ECI’s Dane Erickson speaks to the Brookings Institute on DRC elections & prospects for peace

Posted on Sep 15, 2017

On April 10th, ECI’s Managing Director Dane Erickson spoke on a panel discussion at The Brookings Institution with Michael O’Hanlon on April 10, 2017.  The panel discussed current security, political, and economic challenges in DRC, and what potential future scenarios might look like. Below is an excerpt from Brookings on this important panel discussion. To listen to […]

How YOU can support the Congolese people

Posted on Sep 11, 2017

The Congolese are hard at work creating a peaceful and prosperous nation – and you can help! From Congolese community-based organizations to an emerging coffee and cocoa sector, below are a few excellent ways to lend a hand to this deserving nation.   Eat chocolate, drink coffee, support Congolese farmers! Congolese farmers have fertile land […]