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Making Peace with your Mobile

Giving old mobile phones another chance: protestant youth work enables conscious decisions on your old devices. Photo by: Malte Möring / UEM

The production of mobile phones, digital cameras and computers requires various materials, including coltan and gold. Because these materials are so important for production, the digitalisation of our world is unthinkable without them.

80% of the world's coltan is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the province of Kivu. This means that whoever controls Kivu has a virtual monopoly on selling the whole world a metal that the whole world absolutely needs and for which there is almost no competition on the market. This is why the rebel group "M23" and the armed forces of the DR Congo are fighting for control of the province of Kivu, with dramatic humanitarian consequences.

Over six million people have now fled because of the fighting. They need shelter, food and psychological support. That is why the UEM member church CBCA*, among others, has been active for years in helping refugees: it provides church buildings, organises food, psychological counselling and play therapy for affected children. The CBCA is currently pushing its limits every day to fulfil its mission of making solidarity among the people a reality and standing up for those who are socially marginalised.


There is a way to do something about the root cause of the problem and support the CBCA in its struggle:

In various regions of the German province of NRW, fair youth centres and church youth departments are calling for mobile phone collection campaigns. The collected mobile phones will be professionally recycled or, if they are still usable, reused after data erasure. As a result, less gold and less coltan is needed in global production - and the conflict gradually loses its basis.


The money raised from the mobile phone recycling will benefit among others a project of UEM member church CBCA: The church takes on important tasks in the supply of drinking water and food, in health care and in the construction of sanitary facilities.

Training courses in gardening, weaving and baking enable refugees to become economically independent. School lessons enable children and young people to continue learning, even in the context of displacement.


So: Do you have a mobile phone that you no longer need? If you are in Germany, you can hand it in and support the project of CBCA: Here you can find the webpage of Handyaktion NRW, where all the collecting spots will be mentioned in the near future.


*CBCA = La Communauté Baptiste au Centre de L'Afrique (Baptist Church in Central Africa)


IBAN: DE45 3506 0190 0009 0909 08