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.

Boston Herald: Lessons from Eastern Congo

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.

How to Survive a Disaster, Part 7: You can still have joy

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.

How to Survive a Disaster, Part 6: Humanity matters more than anything

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. . 

How to Survive a Disaster, Part 5: Be powerful when you can, and help others be powerful too

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.

How to Survive a Disaster: Lessons from Eastern Congo

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." 

Questions et Réponses sur COVID-19

Posted on Apr 11, 2020

Élaboré pour les amis et les familles des personnes qui pourraient avoir COVID-19 Pourquoi la clinique Asili ne peut-elle pas prendre soin des personnes qui pourraient avoir COVID-19? Le virus qui cause la maladie COVID-19 est très contagieux. Il est facile pour le virus de se transmettre par voie aérienne. Les personnes qui peuvent avoir […]

Minneapolis Star Tribune: What people face daily across the world

Posted on Apr 08, 2020

As we trudge through this difficult time in our history, it is worth looking at the comparable realities of those of us in prosperous nations and those living in impoverished ones. In addition to gaining a sense of gratitude, we might be able to even glean a lesson or two.

Montana Standard: We have reason to be optimistic

Posted on Mar 30, 2020

I travel to Congo frequently and I was there during the recent Ebola outbreak, a challenge that is in many ways is precedent to what we face with coronavirus. Here’s a reason for optimism: The Congo just celebrated a major milestone with the passing of an entire month without a new case of Ebola. The Congolese can beat Ebola and we can do the same with coronavirus, especially if we pay close attention to the biggest lesson from that faraway epidemic. Citizens across Africa have beaten Ebola by beating an attitude of distrust in institutions, science and expertise.