WASHINGTON — Academy award-winner Ben Affleck is using his celebrity to draw attention to the strife and suffering in the Congo.

He launched the Eastern Congo Initiative four years ago, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to peace and prosperity. On Wednesday, he met with Secretary of State John Kerry and testified on Capitol Hill.

Affleck also met individually with several lawmakers and sat down for interviews along with former Sen. Russell Feingold, the special envoy for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The star and director of last year’s best picture “Argo” and the upcoming “Gone Girl” was delivering a message of cautious optimism, citing the surrender last November of the armed militia M23 and the appointment of Feingold. His initiative, with two employees in the U.S. and 12 in the Congo, has had success through its community-based partnerships and, as he noted, capitalism.

Theo, a Seattle chocolate company, is getting tons of its cacao beans from eastern Congo. Coffee is next, Affleck said.

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