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Ads for laptops, cellphones, and MP3 players are everywhere, but what the media rarely presents is how the gold, tungsten, tantalum, and tin in our electronics fund war in Central Africa. In DR Congo, these “conflict minerals” finance weapons for militias who subdue populations and gain control of their resources through mass rape. Beginning next year, U.S. electronics companies will be required to trace and disclose their use of conflict minerals; Apple and Intel and other companies in the Conflict-Free Smelter Program have decided to stop using them altogether. To inform consumers and create advocates for Congolese girls and women, Raise Hope for Congo’s website features concise videos documenting the “trail of destruction” from the mines to our desks, and articles on how to petition for a conflict-free campus. A consumer guide ranking 21 companies who have (e.g. Dell, HP, Microsoft) or have not (e.g. Canon, Nintendo, Panasonic) taken action to become conflict-free indicates who needs to hear the message that, as one petition-signer wrote, “[We] want to use [our] electronics without getting [our] fingers bloody.”

—Angeline Schellenberg with files from fastcompany.com

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