Ben Affleck is launching an aid and advocacy group designed to help a conflict riddled section of Africa.
The "Good Will Hunting" star returned from a five-day tour of the eastern Congo last week, and announced Monday that he is starting the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), which is designed to foster economic and social development for the Congolese people. Other founding members include Howard G. Buffett, Humanity United, the Bridgeway Foundation, Jewish World Watch and others.
The group will work with survivors of rape and sexual violence, former child soldiers, and peace and reconciliation programs. It also hopes to increase access to health care and education.
The organization says it will support the development of CBOs through grants and will also work to raise awareness among policymakers and the media through its website www.easterncongo.org.
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"The situation in eastern Congo has been neglected for far too long – it is one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in the world," Affleck said in a statement. "I brought together this unique collection of partners in order to bring their experience in humanitarian relief and sustainable development to bear as we focus like never before on local solutions to challenges in this region. Right now, the attention paid to this crisis doesn't match the needs of those affected by it. We will raise that attention level, and work with the extraordinary Congolese people who are making a positive difference in their own communities."