Media CenterActor Ben Affleck Highlights Partnership with CRS in DRC Coffee Project

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Yesterday actor Ben Affleck testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs on the topic "Development & National Security." As an example of effective U.S. foreign assistance, Affleck highlighted the partnership between his organization Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), Catholic Relief Services, USAID and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation on an agriculture program aimed at revitalizing the coffee sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In his Senate testimony, Affleck said:

I’m here to offer a case study of the difference our nation’s foreign assistance and diplomacy is making, where small, targeted public and private investments are transforming communities in need, advancing our nation’s interests, and creating opportunities both in the countries we assist, and here at home....

Three years ago ECI saw an opportunity to revitalize Congo’s coffee sector. In our work we've met struggling rural farmers living on less than a few dollars a day, and we knew that with the right partners, we could help give them the skills and resources they need to transform their communities, and we were thrilled that USAID agreed.

Our government made the bold decision to help us create a public/private partnership together with ECI, the Howard G. Buffet Foundation and Catholic Relief Services. Together in only two years, we’ve trained and supported 4,500 coffee farmers across four cooperatives to dramatically increase the quality and quantity of their crop.

Watch Affleck's full testimony in the video above. He describes the program in which ECI partners with Catholic Relief Services starting at 3:20 on the video timeline.

Tags: Coffee


Jim Stipe

Digital and Social Media Manager

Jim Stipe
March 27, 2015

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the digital and social media manager, Jim oversees Catholic Relief Services’ social media channels, shoots photos and video, and uses digital and visual tools for creative storytelling. He also manages the CRS Newswire, which provides a range of information related to poverty and development....More