Congo Week 2024

The Cell Out

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 WORLDWIDE

Coltan Matters

The Cell OUT is a "digital moment of silence" starting at 12 noon on Wednesday, October 19 to commemorate the millions of Congolese lives lost, raise awareness about the ongoing conflict in the Congo and the vicious scramble for Congo's spectacular natural resources. One such natural resource, is columbite-tantalite or Coltan, a black tar-like mineral found in major quantities in the Congo. When coltan is refined it becomes a heat resistant powder that can hold a high electric charge. It is used in many electronic devices such as cell phones.


  • An estimated 6 million people have died in the Congo since 1996 due to a scramble for Congo’s spectacular natural resources. Coltan has a key source of the conflict in the Congo. It is a mineral widely used in numerous electronic devices such as cell phones and game consoles (Microsoft X-Box and Sony Play Station) and is mined illegally in the Congo by rebel militia and foreign forces then sold to multinational corporations.

  • The "digital moment of silence" is a way to raise consciousness about the conflict in the Congo, which started in 1996 and continues to this day. We encourage organizations on college campuses and in local communities to support the people of the Congo in their effort to bring about peace, stability and human dignity.

What do I do during the Cell Out?

  • TURN YOUR PHONE OFF for at least one hour starting at 12 noon on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2022. No texting!!!
  • Change your voice mail to reflect the message below:
    “Did you know that Congo has an estimated 64 percent of the world's reserve of Coltan, a natural resource that is central to the operation of our cell phones? As we benefit from Coltan millions of Congolese have died in the deadliest conflict since World War Two in part as a result of the scramble for Coltan and other minerals key to the functioning of modern technology. Join us in solidarity with the Congolese people and fast from your phone for at least an hour.” Upon turning on your phone, text SIX of your friends and encourage them to join the global movement for justice in the Congo.

What Can I do to help?