Local college student involved in human rights initiative

By Gary Scott on November 22, 2015 at 8:18am

Photo from the Enough Project website.

An Illinois College sophomore is hoping to raise awareness about usage of natural resources purchased from war zones.

International studies and political science major Allie McNamara is the campus organizer for the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. It’s part of the Washington D.C.-based Enough Project, which describes itself on its website as a project to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

McNamara tells WLDS-WEAI News she’s specifically involved in a campaign called “Raise Hope For Congo” by spreading the word on the Illinois College campus about avoiding use of “conflict-free minerals”.

“They’re used in our everyday electronics, like the cell phone I’m using to talk to you now, and the computers we use every day, TVs, printers. These minerals are actually stolen, basically, from the people of the conflict by conflict groups,” she explains.

“What I try to do specifically at Illinois College is, I want to pass a resolution through my college to change our buying policy towards all of these different electronics.”

McNamara, a member of the Illinois College Student Senate, says she was able to collect the most signatures out of any organizers for a letter to Tom Perriello, the U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Illinois College is one of only 19 colleges in the U.S. to pass a resolution supporting the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. McNamara says this is the first year the school has been involved.

McNamara says she’s always been interested in working in human rights.

“Last year, I took an international studies course with Winston Wells at IC and it really opened my eyes, that I really want to have an impact on the world,” McNamara says.

“Our civic engagement coordinator, actually emailed the leadership program members at IC, she emailed us this summer, told us of this opportunity and I was amazed because I didn’t even know about it. I didn’t even know this was happening, and that it was so devastating to the area of the Congo, and so that’s kind of where it started. It hasn’t been long, but it’s really been something that has became a top propriety for me,” she continues.

Allie says she’d like to eventually work in Africa. Before that, she says she plans on studying abroad in Argentina next year and working with human rights projects in that country.

Click here to contact McNamara with interest in the conflict-free movement.

You can hear the full interview with her on this topic below.