An evening gathering over 100 people
In collaboration with the commune of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium (JGI Belgium) organised the screening of the film ” Blood in the mobile” in the context of its new mobile phone recycling campaign. More than 100 people attended this event at the Commune’s cultural centre.
In the film, the mineral ore coltan is traced from Bisiye in North Kivu (Democratic Republic of Congo), where it is mined, to a big European company which uses it to produce mobile phones. The aim is to highlight the appalling working conditions in the mines, the constant conflicts to control them and the lack of transparency surrounding the big companies leading in the lack of traceability for this mineral.
Focus on today’s situation
The discussion after the film brought together three experts, who shed additional light on the current situation arising from the coltan.
Colette Braeckman, an expert journalist working for the newspaper Le Soir, gave an update on Congo’s tentative but nevertheless very real progress towards getting control of the mining operations and set out the conditions needed for peace and recovery in the region.
Dario Merlo, director of JGI DRC, stressed the importance of supporting education for young people in North Kivu. Through his ‘Education through Basketball’ programme in Goma, he aims at teaching young people to be enlightened citizens who respect themselves and others, work hard and are capable of working together to carry forward ambitious projects for the good of their country.
Ingrid Bezikofer, president of JGI Belgium, presented JGI’s recycling campaign, which aims at contributing to reduce the demand for coltan by initiating an urban mining movement in Belgium. It is estimated that towns and cities contain greater reserves of coltan than some mines. By encouraging to recycle, JGI hopes to help reduce mining from illegal mines, which is harmful to people, animals and the environment in the DRC. Furthermore, through the money raised by this campaign, JGI Belgium finances scholarships for the young basketball players of Goma.
An interested and engaged public
Towards the end of the evening, Serge de Patoul, alderman for education and international cooperation in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, gave his impressions: “This is a very complex issue, which we are familiar with. More responsible mining and better traceability of this mineral are essential!” Gauvain, 26, said: “I had a rather vague idea of the issue but I now see the link between the conflict and illegal mining”. He added: “It is difficult to get by without a mobile phone, but I keep mine for as long as possible”. Nele, 25,shared her enthusiasm: “JGI’s mobile phone recycling campaign is an excellent idea! We should all recycle more, rather than throwing our old equipment away.This campaign makes people more aware, which is exactly what we and our planet need!”