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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 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.

News from ECI, April 2020 / Nouvelles d’ECI, avril 2020

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. 

How to Survive a Disaster, Part 4: In a crisis, you learn what business you’re in

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. 

How to Survive a Disaster, Part 3: Survival builds expertise

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.

UPDATE! The Lake Kivu Coffee Alliance chosen as a finalist in the P3 Impact Awards

Posted on Apr 26, 2018

UPDATE! On July 23rd the Lake Kivu Coffee Alliance was chosen as a finalist in the P3 Impact Awards. Click here to read the article from the US Department of State’s website. The Lake Kivu Coffee Alliance: Helping farmers in eastern DRC regain lost ground In 2013, while fleeing fighting between DRC government forces and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ben Affleck reflects on his tenth trip to Congo.

Posted on Sep 01, 2017

(Ben Affleck recently returned from a week long visit to eastern Congo. This was his tenth trip to the region. Sign up to the ECI newsletter for more updates.) Just back home from a listening and learning trip throughout rural eastern Congo. Seven years ago, I founded Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), a grant making and advocacy […]

Meet ECI’s Congolese Partners for Progress

Posted on Jul 24, 2017

At ECI, we believe a robust and stable civil society is the bedrock of social and economic progress. In practice that means we support a wide range of Congolese organizations providing essential services to the citizens of Congo. From social justice to education to journalism, below are just a few of our brave and hardworking […]