Spark Economic development.
ECI seeks out pathways to self-sufficiency for our partners. By leveraging our relationships and seed funding, we have helped farmers, entrepreneurs, and organizations grow in bold, big ways.
60 startups have completed entrepreneurship training. 56 have been legalized.
20 received World Bank funding this year.
Cocoa cooperatives have sold 5,400 metric tons of cocoa.
1,700 Starbucks have sold single-origin organic coffee from our partner coops.
Story Highlight: From $500 to $50,000
Last year, 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.
Program director Claudine Nshokano explained: “When we noticed that our clients weren’t interested in buying clothes because of the COVID-19 crisis, we pivoted to making fabric masks. Individuals, businesses and organizations quickly came to us to stock up. The ONG BENAFENACE bought 120 masks for $1 each. Then we won the contract to make 50,000 masks for MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping force in the Congo, to distribute between now and June. We hired 50 dressmakers, 47 women and three men, to work tirelessly in order to produce an order of that size. And if all goes well, we will deliver another order of 50,000 right after that.”
These are no ordinary masks. The women in the UJN program are training to be dressmakers, so they bought fabric for dresses. People in the Congo are wearing what might be the most beautiful coronavirus masks in the world. “At a time like this, a little bit of beauty can make a profound difference in someone’s life,” said ECI executive director Abraham Leno. “I am very proud of what Un Jour Nouveau has done, and I am honored we could be part of their work.”
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All donations to ECI are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Tax ID number: 45-4103655. All donations will be used for the most urgent needs of ECI, Asili, and the communities we serve.