The best solutions come from the brilliance of the people who live them.
Eastern Congo Initiative
Eastern Congo Initiative began a decade ago, when our founders, Ben Affleck and Whitney Williams, made a commitment. They wanted to be of service to the people of eastern Congo, whose creativity, energy and joy were undiminished by deep poverty and a generation of conflict. Rather than imposing preconceived solutions, Ben and Whitney decided to support the community-based organizations who were already solving the most challenging problems the Congolese people face. That's what ECI has been doing ever since.
ECI joined the Alight family of organizations in early 2020. For years, we've admired the work of ECI, supporting grassroots Congolese organizations and changemakers. Their connections run deep in eastern Congo and extend across the globe to the benefit of everyday Congolese people. Legally speaking, ECI is now a subsidiary of Alight but will maintain its autonomy to collaborate with individuals, communities, local organizations and international partners to create opportunities for Congo. ECI also now operates Asili - the social business platform Alight co-designed with Congolese communities.
ECI works shoulder to shoulder with communities in eastern Congo as they build a future of health, freedom and prosperity for life.
With partners like Starbucks, Theo Chocolate, and Nespresso, ECI has opened global markets to Congo's coffee and cocoa sectors.
ECI has invested more than $10 million in the visionary community organizations that are creating the future of eastern Congo, with a special emphasis on justice and empowerment for women and youth.
In partnership with distinguished American and international leaders, ECI has brought unprecedented international attention to the ongoing challenges and limitless potential of the DRC.
Through Asili, our social business platform, ECI is helping communities provide world-class essential services in a revolutionary new way.
Eastern Congo Initiative: Recent Info
A revolutionary model for people in the world’s most challenging places to build lasting, world-class essential services — for life.In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Asili is using co-creation to transform what it means to deliver humanitarian aid. Reimagining philanthropic aid as startup capital for self-sustaining businesses—and joining forces with like-minded partners along the way—Asili is not only operated by and for the people it serves, but is creating world-class service infrastructure for those who need it most. Read More
In Congo, women form the core of their families, their livelihoods, their townsWomen are the backbone of Congolese culture. And the same is true for Asili. In the communities where Asili operates, its women who run our businesses. From Dr. Ange our Medical Director, to Adrienne our head nurse, to Mama Faida who operates our water kiosk in Cirunga, Read More
—Last month, we sat down with some of our Congolese teammates who’ve been with us since the very beginning. People like José Katumba, who was instrumental to paving the way toward the first launch in Buhanga, to Michelline Engiteyo, who was based in Kinshasa for years, working with the Congolese government to get the permits and licenses we need to perate. We asked them what keeps them motivated - what gets them to work everyday. And it was amazing to hear their responses. Read More
—Since the day Asili launched in 2013, we’ve been learning – talking to the communities where we work, tracking our business model, adjusting as we grow. And now, we’re excited to announce that we’ve taken that knowledge and applied it to our newest venture – the launch of Zone 4! Read More
—From the very beginning, Asili has been about getting world-class quality services to communities. We’ve followed through on that promise with water facilities and healthcare clinics that not only work, but offer never before seen quality. But now, we’ve focused our efforts on making sure that communities not only have access to our services, but that everyone in those communities can afford them. Introducing our third party payor system. Read More