Earlier this year, Congolese activist Bandi Mbubi was chosen to speak at a TEDx Talk at the University of Exeter in southwest England focusing on “Sustainability and Our Interconnected World.” His words brought those in the audience to tears and have inspired many others throughout the world, including us here at the Enough Project. Last week, Raise Hope for Congo Campaign Manager JD Stier and I had the opportunity to talk to Bandi over Skype and discuss the amazing actions he is taking in the U.K. and Europe more broadly.
After giving his TEDx Talk, Bandi began receiving invitations to speak at schools and to work with student, community, and faith groups. He continues to engage and educate communities about the crisis in eastern Congo and how we are all linked to solutions. His organization, Congo Calling, is a campaign working to inspire both the public and European electronics companies to pay attention to exactly where the minerals in our cell phones and laptops are coming from.
Above all, he sees a strategic role for students, stating, “Change will not happen without a student movement.” Bandi has been a catalyst of the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative in Europe and continues to partner with the Enough Project at universities around the U.K., including contributing to an upcoming documentary with students from the University of St. Andrews. His grand vision is not only to see a change in legislation domestically within the United Kingdom, but also regionally by governments across Europe. Led by his passion for the issue, he is working to build a wide coalition across borders to call for a change in regulations as well as a change in consumer demand.
Our conversation with Bandi made one thing very clear: This campaign is not confined to the United States—it is global. We’re seeing a unified movement that is spreading quickly as activists raise their voices and people become aware of the inherent connection they have to the conflict in the Congo. In Bandi’s words, “If we come together globally, we can make a difference.” Activists like Bandi are going to carry the conflict-free campaign to the next level, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.
Watch Bandi’s TEDx Talk:
Photo: Bandi Mbubi