Eastern Congo Initiative

The Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) is an American nonprofit organization established by Ben Affleck and Whitney Williams in 2010 as “the first US based advocacy and grant-making initiative”. [1] ECI provides development grants and international advocacy for community-building initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo .

Background

Affleck Began to explore the possibility of Becoming More Actively Involved in philanthropy and in 2007 Was drawn to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof ‘s coverage of human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo . [2] During two 2008 trips, Affleck reported on the humanitarian crisis for ABC News Nightline [3] and directed a short film, Gimme Shelter , for the UN Refugee Agency . [4] He also spoke on the Combating Global Poverty event during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. [5] In 2009, he wrote an essay for Time , [6]spoke at the Global Leadership Awards , [7] [8] and served as executive producer of the HBO documentary film Reporter , which focused on Kristof’s work in the Congo. [9] After five visits to eastern Congo between 2007 and early 2010, [10] [11] Affleck developed “a clearer sense of what I wanted to do … [10] What I found was the people doing the best work , with the real expertise, who understood what was needed intuitively, just like they would be in my neighborhood, who knew who the guy was to talk to, were community-based organizations. ” [12] [13]

Aims

In 2010, Affleck and Whitney Williams co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative. [14] [15] Early investors included Howard Graham Buffett , Google , Laurene Powell , Pam Omidyar and Cindy McCain . [16] ECI acts as a grant maker for Congolese-led, community-based organizations. [17] ECI, with two employees in the US and 12 in the Congo, [18] fundraises, makes grants and offers capacity-building support to over 20 charities. [19] [20]These local charities support survivors of rape and sexual violence, help to reintegrate child soldiers into their communities, promote economic opportunity, increase access to health care and education, and promote community-level peace and reconciliation. [17] [21] In a effort to create sustainable wealth, [13] ECI offers training and resources to cooperatives of Congolese farmers while leveraging public-private partnerships. In 2010, ECI partnered cacao farmers with the Seattle-based Theo Chocolate and, [22] [23] as of 2014, Theo is the biggest sourcer of cocoa beans in the Congo. [24]In 2011, ECI introduced the production of coffee; Starbucks launched its coffee beans in 2015. [25] [26] [27]

ECI also advocates with the United States of America to raise public awareness and drive change in the US. [28] In this effort, ECI has published a white paperand a USAID -supported landscape analysis and searchable database of the most effective community-based organizations. [29] [30] Affleck has made nine media-documents trips to Central Africa since 2007 ECI’s work in many television interviews. [31] [32] In 2010, he wrote a column for The Washington Post , [33]contributed an essay to The Enough Moment [34]and appeared as a panelist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies . [35] In 2011, Affleck and Cindy McCain, an ECI board member, testified before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights . [36] [37] Also in 2011, Affleck was a speaker at the Global Philanthropy Forum . [38] In 2012, he spoke alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Washington ‘s Child Survival: Call to Action Forum and Senator John McCain at the Sedona Forum . [39] [40] [41] He wrote op-eds for The Washington Postand Politico . [42] [43] During the Kony 2012campaign, Affleck wrote an essay for The Huffington Post . While welcoming increased awareness of the issue of child soldiers, he warned that Western ‘saviors’ are “ineffective at best and deadly at worst” and stressed the importance of funding “remarkable local organizations.” [44] Later in 2012, Affleck testified before the House Armed Services Committee and met with members of the Foreign Relations Committee . [45] [46] In 2013, Affleck introduced the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra at TED conference [47] [48]and starting developing an Africa-set movie. [49] Also, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame was photographed arriving at Affleck’s Los Angeles home; Affleck had testified before Congress in 2012 about the Rwandese government’s support of rebel groups in eastern Congo. [50] [51] In early 2014, he and US Special Envoy Russ Feingold testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee and met with Secretary of State John Kerry . [52] He also spoke at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards, where Denis Mukwege was honored. [53] [54] [55] In 2015, Affleck testified before theSenate Appropriations Committee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Projects [56] while in early 2016, he was a speaker at the Starkey Expo . [57]

Affiliates

  • Howard Graham Buffett , philanthropist – Founding member [58]
  • Faida Mitifu , DRC Ambassador to the US – Advisory Committee member [58]
  • Humanity United – Founding member [58]
  • The Bridgeway Foundation – Founding member
  • Jewish World Watch – Founding member [58]

References

  1. Jump up^ “ECI: Overview” . easterncongo.org . Retrieved 2010-03-22 .
  2. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck talks chocolate bars as sustainable aid in Congo” . CBS News . October 9, 2012 . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  3. Jump up^ Escherich, Katie (June 23, 2008). “Ben Affleck’s Journey Through the Congo” . ABC News . Retrieved June 30, 2008 .
  4. Jump up^ “UNHCR – Ben Affleck unveiled video for UNHCR” Gimme Shelter “campaign” . UNHCR . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  5. Jump up^ “Combating Global Poverty Panel Discussion” . FORA.tv . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  6. Jump up^ Chi, Paul. (February 16, 2009)Ben Affleck Urges Hope in Eastern Congo – Good Deeds, Ben Affleck. People.com. Retrieved on June 5, 2014.
  7. Jump up^ “Clinton named Global Trailblazer” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  8. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck Moved by Victims’ Testimonies – Vital Voices” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  9. Jump up^ “Actor join panel discussion about Africa” . Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  10. ^ Jump up to:b “In Conversation With Ben Affleck” Global Philanthropy Forum ” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  11. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck launches foundation to help victims and women in eastern Congo” . NY Daily News . New York. March 22, 2010 . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  12. Jump up^ Murphy, Tom (August 23, 2013). “Want to help Congolese? Give them money – directly, says Ben Affleck” – via Christian Science Monitor.
  13. ^ Jump up to:b “Ben Affleck are sustainable aid in the Eastern Congo” .
  14. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck Launches Aid Group for Eastern Congo” . CNN. March 23, 2010 . Retrieved August 31, 2010 .
  15. Jump up^ “Just Ask Whitney” .
  16. Jump up^ Kerry A. Dolan (April 18, 2011). “Ben Affleck’s Congo-Billionaire Connections” . Forbes . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  17. ^ Jump up to:b “Ben Affleck launches initiative for Congo aid ‘ . CNN . March 23, 2010 . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  18. Jump up^ Cassata, Donna (February 26, 2014). “Ben Affleck harnesses celebrity to spotlight the Congo” . USA Today . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  19. Jump up^ 4. “Event Eleven – What do Bill Clinton and Ben Affleck have in common” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  20. Jump up^ “An Evening of Entertainment, Poker, and Giving Back Benefit Eastern Congo Initiative and water.org – Entertainment Industry Foundation” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  21. Jump up^ “Grantmaking” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  22. Jump up^ “CBO Success Story Details” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  23. Jump up^ “Seattle News and Events – Theo Chocolate Sources Beans From the Congo-and Ben” . Seattle Weekly . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  24. Jump up^ Marc Gunther. “Theo: the small chocolate company taking a big stride in the DRC” . the Guardian . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  25. Jump up^ Brancaccio, David (December 8, 2014). “Ben Affleck on Sustainable Aid in the Eastern Congo” . Marketplace . Retrieved March 27, 2015 .
  26. Jump up^ Olsen, Dave (February 20, 2015). “Coffee beans bring hope to war-torn nation” . Seattle Times . Retrieved March 27, 2015 .
  27. Jump up^ “Coffee from Eastern Congo Arriving in Starbucks Stores” . March 16, 2016.
  28. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck Launches Initiative to Local Support Solutions in Eastern Congo” . March 22, 2010 . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  29. Jump up^ Tom Murphy (August 23, 2013). “Want to help Congolese? Give them money – directly, says Ben Affleck . The Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  30. Jump up^ “Archives” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  31. Jump up^ ABC News. “Ben Affleck Aims to Give Back With Work in Congo” . ABC News Blogs . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  32. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck ‘This Week’ Exclusive Interview: Hollywood Actor, Activist Discusses Violence in Congo” . YouTube . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  33. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck – Ben Affleck: How the United States can help secure Congo” . The Washington Post . November 30, 2010 . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  34. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck: Supporting African Solutions” . Retrieved October 8,2014 .
  35. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck, John Kerry join forces” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  36. Jump up^ “Congo crisis peers Ben Affleck, Cindy McCain – PATRICK GAVIN | POLITICO CLICK” . Politico.com. March 8, 2011 . Retrieved June 29,2014 .
  37. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck and Cindy McCain’s Passion (03.07.11)” . YouTube . Retrieved June 29, 2014 .
  38. Jump up^ “In Conversation With Ben Affleck and Laurene Powell Jobs” . YouTube . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  39. Jump up^ ABC News. “Ben Affleck, Hillary Clinton Lobby for World Child Survival” . ABC News Blogs . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  40. Jump up^ “Why Kelly Ayotte Is Talking To Ben Affleck Actor” . wmur . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  41. Jump up^ “Frances Townsend on Twitter:” Ben Affleck in Sedona w Cindy McCain at the McCain Institute talking about his effort in East Congo http://t.co/5heVBhLI ” ” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 . External link in(help ) |title=
  42. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck: Congo urgently needs US help” . Washington Post . November 29, 2012 . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  43. Jump up^ “Opinion: Ending Child Mortality – Ben Affleck and Rajiv Shah” . POLITICO . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  44. Jump up^ “Kony 2012: Westerners Are Not And Will Never Be The ‘Saviors’ Of Africa . The Huffington Post . March 14, 2012 . Retrieved October 8,2014 .
  45. Jump up^ Horn, John (December 19, 2012). “Ben Affleck Testifies in Congress about war-torn Congo” . Los Angeles Times . Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  46. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck Passes On US Senate Run” .
  47. Jump up^ “The Congo is not hopeless: Ben Affleck at TED2013” . TED Blog . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  48. Jump up^ Barnes, Brooks (March 15, 2015). Hollywood’s New Role Model (Beard Optional) . New York Times . Retrieved March 27, 2015 .
  49. Jump up^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (October 25, 2013). “Ben Affleck Plans Geopolitical Africa-Set Warner Thriller Bros. Will Staples Scripting” . Deadline . Retrieved October 7, 2014 .
  50. Jump up^ “Kagame Paul Visits Ben Affleck’s House” . Zimbio . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  51. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck urges more robust US diplomacy in DR Congo” . The Australian. December 20, 2012 . Retrieved March 27, 2015 .
  52. Jump up^ “Affleck casts spotlight on situation in Congo” . The Big Story . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  53. Jump up^ “Clinton Presents Advancing Women in Peace and Security Awards” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  54. Jump up^ “Tina Brown on Twitter:” Very friendly dinner after Clinton Awards.@BenAffleck showed up & donated toast of @WilliamJHague & Mukwege w / @HillaryClinton ” ” . Retrieved October 8, 2014 .
  55. Jump up^ “CelebEstateMgr on Twitter:” Where was @BenAffleck last night? Last week in DC with @HillaryClinton at Evermay http://t.co/6mNsvuLJNi ” “. Retrieved October 8, 2014 . External link in( help ) |title=
  56. Jump up^ “Ben Affleck, Bill Gates nonprofits praised at Senate hearing” .
  57. Jump up^ Technologies, Starkey Hearing. “Starkey Hearing Technologies Announces Keynote Speakers and Guests for the 2016 Hearing Innovation Expo” .
  58. ^ Jump up to:d “Ben Affleck Launches Initiative to Support Local Solutions in Eastern Congo” . PRNewswire . Retrieved 2010-03-22 .

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