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Affleck launches mission to help women in Eastern Congo

Ben Affleck, founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative,

Ben Affleck, founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, sits beside an official of the Eastern Congo Initiative on Thursday, March 18, 2010. Photo Credit: AP / Barbara Kinney

Ben Affleck launched a new initiative to raise money and awareness over atrocities committed against women and children during years of conflict in eastern Congo, The Associated Press reports.

The American actor and director spent five days in the country last week, where he met with former child sex slaves and prisoners convicted of rape in the hope of gaining a better understanding of Congo's troubles.

The new foundation - the Eastern Congo Initiative - will support community-based, Congolese groups, said Affleck on the heels of his fifth trip to the country.

"It was folks in these communities that were addressing the humanitarian crisis who were doing the most, in my view, to solve it, because they understood the community, because they understood the problem, they were the most dedicated and the most committed because it was their lives," Affleck told AP over the weekend at Nairobi's international airport.

"Naturally they were best equipped to solve it. Their impediment was they didn't have the means, the funding," he said.

The new initiative is funded in part by founding member Howard G. Buffett, son of investor Warren Buffett, to whom Affleck pitched his vision of a new aid group by describing eastern Congo's dire situation.

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