WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP END THIS CRISIS?
It all begins with YOU!
STEPS TO TAKE:
1. Raise awareness about what is going on in the DRC (YOU CAN INFORM OTHERS USING OUR PRE-MADE POWERPOINT!)
-Keep yourself and others informed about what is going on
-Make a pledge to educate one person per day. Nothing can be done if no one knows about what is going on.
-Sign up for news alerts from reliable organizations working to make a difference
-Write to your local paper
-Write to TV networks to get them to cover the DRC crisis
2. Raise Funds
-These funds should go to a reliable organization working to end the human rights violations
-Take particular note of organizations dealing with issues of rape, since that is the primary weapon of war
3. Write a letter to your elected official
-You might not think this makes a difference, but in the U.S., based on the number of letters your representative gets about a certain issue, that lets him or her know how important this issue is to the constituency. Each letter makes a significant difference in prompting your elected official to take action. Check up on your officials in your country and find out how your voice can be heard. Speak up for those who canít speak for themselves.
4. Advocate divestment
-It is important that institutions or companies do not help fuel the crisis through their investments in unreliable sources.
5. Join a group or an organization
-Margaret Mead once said, ďNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.Ē You can make a stronger difference in a group than just by yourself.
6. Lobby your government to take action
-Be sure to ask them direct, narrow questions about the issue you are concerned with.
-Meet with your representatives in order to give greater weight to your cause.
*NOTE: These 6 basic steps were created by Enough, a project of the Center for American Progress.
FURTHER ACTION STEPS Brought to You by CATALYST1 TEAM:
1. Check your cell phones, playstations, and other products that contain coltan and look for other options. Buy different brands that are not tied to exploitation of minerals. Coltan helps fuel the conflict and without the profits from coltan, rebel groups will have fewer incentives to remain in the eastern DRC. The decisions you make at home affect people abroad.
2. Try to change your own and otherís perceptions of Africa. Itís not enough that many regions are not stable in Africa, but people often think of the entire continent as hopeless and not worth fighting for. There are reasons why countries function as they do in Africa, and reasons why countries are in their current states of instability. Learn more about how the crises are interconnected and the root causes of the conflict so you can develop your own innovative solutions. Itís not enough to just raise awareness about the conflict if you donít have a solid understanding of why the conflict is happening and why itís worth changing.
3. Many people say that after a while, reading about crises and mass atrocities gets kind of numbing. People often say, ďI no longer cry when I read those stories or watch films like that.Ē When the tears stop, thatís when we know the crisis has gone too far because people are no longer impacted by the stories. This fatigue of hearing about places like the DRC and Darfur, Sudan, a region plagued by genocide, is a strong indicator of the severity of the situation. Help people learn how to re-empathize with others - help them develop human connections between themselves and people in other countries.
4. Visit Africa. No, you donít have to go the DRC today, but you might learn a thing or two if you visited an African country and actually spoke to the people there.
5. If there is a refugee in your area, talk to him or her. The information you will learn from someone who has experienced the conflict is invaluable and no amount of research can replace that human interaction. Oftentimes, they are so grateful that people will even care to listen to their stories- that makes all the difference to them.
6. Remember, when you think about whether these actions will actually make a difference, think about how the situation would be if no one helped out. Any action is better than no action.