Ben Affleck is launching the Eastern Congo Initiative to help charitable causes in the region.

The actor - who has just returned from a five-day trip to Africa - plans to support local organisations that help survivors of rape and sexual violence, helps to reintegrate child soldiers into their communities, promote economic opportunities and boost access to health care and education.

He said in a statement: "The situation in eastern Congo has been neglected for far too long - it is one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in the world. 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."

News of Ben's organisation has been praised by officials in the Congo

Faida Mitifu, the ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States, said: "The Eastern Congo Initiative will help to bring much-needed attention to a region that has suffered for too long.

"We applaud Ben and the founding members for their foresight and commitment and look forward to working closely with the Eastern Congo Initiative."