The Eastern Congo Initiative is an American nonprofit organization established by Ben Affleck and Whitney Williams in 2010 as "the first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo". ECI provides developmental aid and international advocacy for community-building initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.HistoryThe Eastern Congo Initiative was founded by Ben Affleck in March 2010 after he researched the war-ravaged region's humanitarian crisis though five trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2007 and 2010. At its launch, ECI revealed its goal to fund and raise awareness of local community-based organizations in the area that work towards: supporting survivors of rape and sexual violence; returning and reintegrating child soldiers into their communities; running community-level peace and reconciliation programs; increasing access to health care and education; and promoting economic opportunity. Affleck stated:"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."