Close the Gap

I have been actively involved with Close the Gap (CTG) since 2002, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. CTG was founded in 2001 by Olivier Van den Eynde, who at that time was a student of mine at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. In July of 2003 Olivier successfully passed  his final exams at the VUB and two months later CTG official was established as a legal entity.

Close the Gap (CTG) is an international not-for-profit organisation that helps bridge the digital divide of access to ICT by offering cost-efficient high-quality used IT-equipment to projects in the developing world. Socio-educational programs such as schools, hospitals and other projects focusing on improvement of educational and information facilities are able to submit their request for support by Close the Gap.

Close the Gap wants to counter the digital divide and therefore collects computers from  donor organisations, has the hard disks cleaned, the hardware checked and subsequently configured according to the requirements of its end-users. The computers are then shipped to the destination country by air or sea transport. Locally, they are incorporated in a support and maintenance program provided by local partners to ensure good usage and sustainability.

Since its creation more than 250.000 computers have been donated and more than 80.000 computers were given a second life in a developing country. So far CTG has realised more than 700 projects in 40 developing countries. A large number of projects are in Eastern Africa but projects has also been realised in other parts of Africa, Asia as well as Middle and Latin America.

At this moment CTG is supported by some 30 strategic partnerships through computers donations as well as financial and in kind support. CTG is working closely together with almost 25 service partners who deliver services for devices locally. These services include transport, import, technical and pedagogical training, maintenance, refurbishing and recycling of hardware when it reaches it end of life. In 2011 CTG was recognised as an official NGO by the United Nations. In 2012 CTG submitted an annual report with a balance total of  € 5,6 million.