Blog

Josée Ruhara teaches children about handwashing in March 2019. Photo: Gerry Kahashy

Mama Josée: What is Asili?

Posted on Aug 07, 2020

During the development of a new branding strategy for ECI, I was asked, What is Asili? As supervisor of water operations and steward of the Asili brand in the community, and someone originally from Kabare myself, I have some thoughts on this question.

Seven women wearinng white aprons model beautiful fabric facemasks.

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.

Responding to the pandemic the Asili way

Posted on May 01, 2020

Traditional humanitarian aid is built for emergencies, not for people. We know we can do better — because we do better every day. Even during the pandemic.

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.