YouTube Takes on Conflict Minerals

06/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • John Norris Executive Director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative, Center for American Progress

I am pleased to announce that the Enough Project is now partnering with YouTube in a video contest focused on ending the trade in conflict minerals from Congo. We are the first non-profit to be highlighted by YouTube as part of its new 'Video for Change' program, which leverages the reach of the world's most popular video-sharing site to spotlight pressing social causes.

YouTube has not only highlighted our conflict minerals campaign prominently on its homepage, it has also set up a special page to feature the Enough Project and this contest. Check it out.

Our Come Clean 4 Congo video contest calls on contestants to craft the most compelling short video highlighting the link between conflict minerals used in cell phones and the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- the deadliest since World War II. The creator of the winning video will be flown to Los Angeles, where the video will be screened at an entertainment industry event; it will also be featured on the Enough Project's website and YouTube page. Judges for the contest are Oscar-nominated actor Ryan Gosling, actress Sonya Walger from "Lost," and Oscar-nominated director Wim Wenders. We already have some terrific videos up on the page, including one from several talented young actors, including Sandra Oh and Mary Louise Parker, that have already been viewed more than 127,500 times.

Much of the violence in eastern Congo continues to be driven by armed groups competing to dominate the illicit minerals trade. These are the same minerals that ultimately end up in our personal electronics devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and digital cameras. It seems only fitting that we can use something like YouTube and the immense creativity of its users to help end the scourge of conflict minerals.

We are calling on electronic companies to pledge that they will certify their products are 'conflict free.' We're not asking consumers to boycott electronic devices; we're working to help consumers be better informed so that we can all pressure electronic companies to audit their supply chains and shine some light on the illicit mineral trade. Next time you buy a cell phone, digital camera, or laptop, you deserve to know that you are not inadvertently helping sustain one of the worst conflicts in the world.