With his new film "Argo" receiving steady praise and strong Oscar buzz, Ben Affleck is once again the toast of Hollywood. But for the Congolese people, the 40-year-old has been a champion for several years now - and is one of the few big names making a gigantic push to help the country recover from decades of violent conflict, disease and poverty.


“I saw terrible things,” he recently told The Hollywood Reporter of his first visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo. “You know: the amount of sexual-based violence against women; people suffering from preventable disease; child soldiers who needed to be integrated into society; children without schooling at all. So we started to get involved in those areas.”


In 2009, Affleck launched the Eastern Congo Initiative aimed at raising awareness of the hurdles faced by Congolese - and the local actions that can be implemented to create social change. This November, he will make yet another trip to the country (he's already made nine) to continue his work. 


Also on MNN: Ben Affleck urges support for Congolese children (Video)


While talking with CBS News about “Argo”, Affleck expanded upon the role of his organization in the Congo; saying that it’s not about providing aid, but opportunity.


“We hooked up them up with Theo chocolate, who does a great job and we now have our first Congo bar,” he said. ”It’s not aid, it’s not giving somebody money, it’s we’re going to get you to a place where you can manufacture on the open market so that you can sell your market…so you have an ongoing business where people can make money through their own work.”


CBS also had a recent opportunity to travel with Ben to the Congo to see his charity work first hand. Check out the video below. 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Ben Affleck returning to Congo in November
'Argo' actor and director is committed to helping the war-torn Congolese people receive access to opportunities for economic and social development.