It has been a very busy year! Bandi’s TEDxExeter talk was featured on TED.com and quickly sparked a huge amount of interest in campaigning for fairtrade tech. Since then he has taken part in over 150 meetings, worked with student groups, given lectures, spoken at conferences, written articles, been interviewed…
We are working to build a mass consumer movement in the UK and the EU which demands conflict-free technology. To do this we have built strong partnerships with a wide range of key groups including faith groups, early adopters of new tech, environmental campaigners, student activists, academics and NGOs.
Bandi’s work has inspired student groups to launch campaigns demanding that their student unions become conflict free. Bandi has worked with and spoken at events organised by students at the University of Exeter, the University of St Andrews, the University of Warwick, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and University College London. He has supported and mentored students from the University of Exeter in their successful campaigns for the student Guild and for the whole University to become conflict free. Students from Exeter and Durham successfully presented a motion to the UK National Union of Students, which means that their over 600 member Guilds and Unions now have a conflict-free declaration as part of their procurement legislation.
Bandi has also worked with academics and students across many disciplines. His TEDxExeter talk inspired the University of Exeter Grand Challenges programme to choose “Mineral Wealth: a sustainable and technologic future in a fair and conflict free society?” as a way to offer first year students the opportunity to work with top academics and inspirational world-leading experts to address some of the key dilemmas of the 21st Century.
As part of this programme Bandi gave lectures in October 2012 and participated in a week-long series of lectures and workshops in June 2013. Bandi was invited to deliver the Inaugural Lecture of Exeter Business School’s Responsible Business Module for the Business School, and taught at the Camborne School of Mines.
To ensure our work is informed by robust intelligence we have been developing a network of academics, practitioners and members of the diaspora. Bandi spoke at the Moving Forward in Eastern Congo conference at St Andrews University in April 2013, which brought together leading academics and diaspora activists from UK, US, Africa and Europe, and also at the Human Rights Festival at Kingston University, From Mines to Mobiles.
Our work is underpinned by accurate, up-to-date research, enabling us to respond accurately and quickly to developments and also informing the development of our own policy. We have built a strong partnership with Global Witness.
We have reached a wide range of consumers by writing for and being interviewed by a range of publications including:
- Natural resources used as weapons, New Internationalist, 15 August 2013
- The Socially Conscious Consumer : Birth of a Consumer Movement, McKinsey – Voices on Society Vol 4
- LA VENTE ET L’ACHAT ILLICITE DES MINERAIS CONGOLAIS, Soteria interview
- Africa UK Radio interviews
- Wired interview, 12 May 2012
- Forbes interview 19 December 2012
- Many blog posts have been written about Congo Calling including TED.com, TEDTalks Favourites of 2012 and the Enough Project
- Other blogs are more personal responses to Bandi’s TEDxExeter talk and Congo Calling’s work, which can only hint at the questions it has stirred and the impact it has had, for example Josh, Shashantia, non tech, and many others.
Influencing technology companies
In July 2012 Bandi spoke at Campus Party Berlin. Campus Party is the biggest electronic entertainment event in the world, bringing together 10,000 tech enthusiasts for a week of talks, debates and workshops. He will speak at their next European gathering in September 2013, and has been invited to speak in 2014 at Campus Party Mexico and Brazil.
Speaking at Campus Party enabled Bandi to make strong links with tech companies and to influence them to abide by the OECD Due Diligence code of practice.
We have built a strong relationship with Facebook, which is providing ongoing support to Congo Calling. Facebook promoted Bandi’s TEDxExeter talk and awareness raising work around International Women’s Day. It has also offered to host a technology conference with us and to advise on our social media strategy.
In June 2013, Bandi took part in a panel discussion about African tech at TEDGlobal, Edinburgh, as part of TED’s Open Translation project.
We are working towards the adoption and implementation of commercial, political and legal frameworks to promote ethical mining practices in conflict-affected regions including the DRC. Key lobbying activities include:
- In May 2013, we submitted a written statement to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade in connection with the Congressional Hearing in the US titled ‘The Unintended Consequences of Dodd Frank Section 1502.’
- In June 2013, we responded to theEU consultationon a possible EU initiative on Responsible Sourcing of Minerals originating from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and signed a joint NGO submission to the same consultation. We have been invited to take part in EU meetings at the European Parliament.
- We responded to a call for submissions to the EU Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
- We have engaged with UK parliamentarians and government officials to develop the UK’s response to the peace process in the DRC, and we are actively involved in a coalition of diaspora and leading UK NGOs to create mechanisms for lobbying Mary Robinson, the UN special envoy to the Great Lakes.
Looking ahead, we are now working to:
- Create a mass consumer movement in the UK and the EU which demands conflict-free technology
- Influence leading technology companies to commit to sourcing conflict-free minerals from within the DRC by implementing the OECD Due Diligence Guidelines
- Lobby UK and EU governments to adopt robust legal mechanisms requiring companies to abide by internationally-recognised frameworks that ensure the ethical mining of coltan, tin, gold and tungsten in conflict affected regions
The reach of our work is spreading: we have been invited to collaborate with activists in Central and South America, and speaking engagements in Europe and the USA are already in place.
Please join us!