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.

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.

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...

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

From Starbucks Newsroom: Congo coffee returns to 1700 Starbucks locations this summer!

Posted on Aug 01, 2017

This post originally appeared in the Starbucks Newsroom. ECI is incredibly proud to see coffee from Congo come to 1700 Starbucks stores (and online) this summer!  By Heidi Peiper / Starbucks Newsroom When green coffee arrives in burlap bags each day for roasting at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, they have already traveled thousands […]

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 […]