Bridging
the digital divide

Close the Gap is GDPR-Compliant

Click on the following link for our news bulletin announcing our GDPR-compliancy:

Close the Gap is GDPR-compliant

News bulletin content


Uganda Leap2 finalist announced!

On May 18th the final event of the third LEAP2 Innovation Challenge (focused  on women in tech)  took place in Hive Colab organised by Women in Technology Uganda.

We are very proud to announce that 8 out of 9 innovations reached their crowdfunding target! Based on this taget , these 8 innovations received matching funding of €2000 each to further develop their innovative ideas.

Close the Gap’s Head of Operations, Inge Knapen, was there: “What an inspiration to find so many talented women in technology that are willing to put themselves out there and create these innovative solutions for the social challenges their society is facing. I feel very honored to be part of their journey”.

And the winner is….

During this final event, a pitch competition was organized. The winner of this pitch was mSCAN (Mobile Scan Solutions Uganda Limited).  They developed low cost mobile ultrasound devices that seek to reduce maternal mortality by early detection of risk factors and easy accessibility to affordable ultrasound services. Phyllis, the founder of mscan, is a radiologist herself and she saw in the rural areas what early detection of certain issues in pregnancy could mean in terms of saving lives of babies and mothers.

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Other finalists are ….

Brandsoft. This Ugandan innovation trains women business owners in using digital tools for business growth. Their main focuses are Digital Marketing, Digital Accounting and Online Business registration.

Yaaka Digital network. This innovation designed a digital network with which learners are able to digitally access relevant Uganda curriculum academic content offline.

Coding in Heels. It is a team-work and project-based coding school providing free coding skills to women across Uganda.

mDex. mDex is a smartphone based, low cost and reusable screening tool aimed at increasing access to Sickle cell Diagnostic services in low resourced areas.

SafePal. They want to contribute to confidential reporting of sexual violence cases and facilitate survivors’ linkage to the nearest service providers for integrated support.

Uganda is Vivid Hire. Their goal is to reduce women unemployment by connecting women to digital work so they can work and take care of their families at the same time.

Entambula Yo. This is a mobile application that generates a digital address (which is navigable and accessible) for a given user (business or personal residence) and maps this generated address to a physical location.

Ask Without Shame. They provide emergency sex education via mobile technology to the Ugandan youth through an app and Hotline.

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Crowdfunding update on the third Leap2 Innovation Challenge in Uganda

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The third Leap2 Innovation Challenge is steadily progressing. This stage is devoted to the Crowdfunding campaign, which was launched on April 18th and will continue until May 18th. During this online campaign to raise funds, all 9 innovation projects try to meet target amounts to ultimately reach their full desired goal amount. The Leap2 organization continuously encourages the teams to keep on track by giving weekly tips and tricks on how to keep the momentum of their campaign alive.

Crowdfunding allows innovation teams to test their ideas and solutions on the market. Once they meet their crowdfunding goals, they will receive matching funding from Close the Gap.

The Crowdfunding period will end with a pitch day on May 18th, where teams will have the final opportunity to give their campaign a boost. Through crowdfunding and coaching, the Ugandan women entrepreneurs expand their network and reach potential investors for their digital solutions for societal issues. Click here for more information about this third Leap2 Innovation Challenge in Uganda.


Close the Gap and the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (VGC) support schools in Suriname

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One of Close the Gap’s most recent projects is located in Suriname. With the support of the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (VGC), Close the Gap is able to deliver IT hardware to local schools.

Since 2017, a collaboration agreement between VGC and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Suriname guarantees that the donated IT material will be used in school of three selected districts..

In total, 315 desktop sets have been sent. These desktops reached 25 schools and several local offices of the educational administration of the three districts.

The Brussels-Capital Region and the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie created a cooperation with the Ministery of Education, Science and Culture of Suriname in the spring of 2017. As in Brussels, I visited schools in Suriname. The need for decent ICT material was immediately apparent. Back in Belgium, we found in Close the Gap a suitable partner to improve ICT activities in Surinamese schools. Thanks to Close the Gap’s experience and professional approach, we were able to donate more than 300 computers to schools in Paramaribo, Groningen, and Albina. This way, students can gain access to the digital world.” Guy Vanhengel, Chairman of the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie.

Are you also interested in donating your company’s out-of-date IT material? Click here to support us.

If you have a project of your own that you would like to help flourish with the use of donated computers, click here to read and fill in the application form.


Close the Gap’s intern, Alec, doing research in Kenya

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Ever since I was an adolescent I’ve always been interested in African countries and their immense potential. During the post-graduate – innovative entrepreneurship – at the Catholic University of Leuven I got the opportunity to explore my interest and run an internship at Close the Gap. I was aspired to become a part of this team because Close the Gap empowers Africa by bridging the digital divide and enables communities to capitalize on the vast opportunities of IT.

I was given the challenging assignment to look into the agricultural value chain to determine whether or not there is a potential for Close the Gap to add value to this emerging, but struggling industry. A combination of desk research and field research gave me a better understanding of the challenges that rural small-scale farmers face and an insight into the appropriate existing ICT interventions. For this field research I was sent to Nairobi, Kenya for six weeks to interact with rural farmer cooperatives, high-end ICT solution providers, universities, established companies and several NGOs to gather profound insights.

So far it has been an inspiring experience where I learned a lot about myself and AgriTech in Kenya. I also find great pleasure in representing Close the Gap and looking for potential opportunities and partnerships. I’m grateful for the opportunity and responsibility I was given and hope that the results of the research are well-received.

Alec Marquenie, Project Assistent Intern

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9 innovations start their crowdfunding campaign in Third Leap2 Challenge in Uganda

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During the months of March, April and May 2018, Close the Gap is organising the third Leap2 Innovation Challenge in Uganda, together with GoodUp and Women in Technology Uganda (WITU). Leap2 is our platform to promote and support entrepreneurs that are creating digital solutions for societal challenges in emerging and developing countries.

From a pool of many strong applicants, Leap² selected 9 successful innovations to participate in the innovation challenge, with a focus on tech women in Uganda.

After the announcement of the selected innovations and a crowdfunding training in the beginning of April, the crowdfunding campaign was kicked off on Wednesday 18th April, together with Inge Knapen, Close the Gap’s Operation Director. The campaign will last a month and participants will also receive a pitch training. On 18th May, innovations will pitch their ideas on the final campaign day. On that day, the winner of this third challenge for tech women will be announced as well. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Video of the Silicon Savannah Mission to Kenya 2018

From 20th to 24th March, Close the Gap and startups.be organized a unique mission to Kenya, one of the most entrepreneurial countries in Africa. In the context of the Digital for Development (D4D-BE) project, the Silicon Savannah mission aimed at discovering the Kenyan tech and start-up scene, together with Mr Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services, and a delegation of 40 representing leading Belgian start-ups, corporations and NGOs.

To give everyone an impression of this truly unique mission to Kenya, a compilation video was created, using authentic material and interviews made during the mission. Watch the full five-minute video below, so you can also share in the experience of the Silicon Savannah mission. Click here for more info and the mission’s photo book.

 


Meet our new donor: Ordina

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Ordina has recently become one of Close the Gap’s new donors & business partners, with a first donation of laptops and expertise on GDPR implementation.

As a leading consulting firm, Ordina  (https://www.ordina.be) hereby follows its slogan ‘IT for People’, by joining the community of over 300 companies who donate to and support Close the Gap.

By refurbishing high-quality, pre-owned donated computers, Close the Gap is also working on ‘IT for People’. Close the Gap aims to bridge the digital divide by supporting educational, medical, entrepreneurial and social projects in developing and emerging countries. All the projects are demand-driven and share the common denominator of being non-profit-oriented initiatives.

“We are very grateful for this first donation of high quality used assets AND business advice. Being a global player, we look forward to assist Ordina and its clients, not only in Belgium, but also in other regions in the world, as our partnership could easily cross international borders. One of Close the Gap’s strengths is that we pick up material from pretty much all over the world in order to help bridge the digital divide.” Says Didier Appels, responsible for Strategic Partnerships within Close the Gap.

If you are also interested in becoming one of Close the Gap’s donors, do not hesitate to contact Didier Appels (didier.appels@close-the-gap.org  or +32472723393).


People Against Dirty supports Close the Gap as new donor

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In February 2018, the company People Against Dirty (who own the Ecover (ecover.com) & Method (methodhome.com) brands became one of Close the Gap’s new donors of used IT assets. By supporting Close the Gap, People Against Dirty uses its business assets & acumen as a powerful tool to establish change… Change for People, change for the Environment, change for Communities. By being a “B-Corp certified” business and enabling Close the Gap’s impact, People Against Dirty truly uses their business as a force for good.

 

“We are grateful for this first donation which consisted of 288 assets with a mix of servers, PCs, laptops and data carriers coming from their Belgian offices.  Being a global player, we hope People Against Dirty’s future donations will come from other regions in the world.  Because one of Close the Gap’s strengths is that we pick up material from pretty much all over the world in order to help bridge the digital divide.” says Didier Appels, Strategic Partnerships.

 

If you are also interested in becoming one of Close the Gap’s donors, click here to find out how you can support us or contact didier.appels@close-the-gap.org +32 472 723393.


D4D-Be: unique partnership between VIA Don Bosco, SettleMint and Howest

From left to right: Roderik van der Veer (Co-Founder & CTO SettleMint), Alexander De Croo (Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium), Els Meyvaert (Marcom Director SettleMint) and Filip Lammens (CEO of VIA Don Bosco). Photo credit: Settlement.com

 

The ultimate purpose of the Digital4Development platform, coordinated by Close the Gap and Agoria, is to create unique partnerships between public and private sector organisations. Today we are proud to announce such a partnership that ignited in the D4D-Be context through co-creation sessions.

VIA Don Bosco, SettleMint and Howest have decided to join forces and to work together on a project. During a joint press conference on the Silicon Savannah Mission to Kenya, which is an important part of the D4D-Be initiative, the three organisations announced their joint project.

The goal of their joint effort is to use blockchain technology to alleviate administrative overhead in the NGO financial management process and allow more time for its core mission, which is ultimately providing education across the globe. VIA Don Bosco, SettleMint, and Howest initiated this unique partnership to increase the impact of development cooperation in African educational projects.

Click here to read the English press release issued by SettleMint.