Bridging
the digital divide

Close the Gap supports Malaika with 60 donated laptops

Malaika

In July, Close the Gap provided 60 donated laptops to one of its newest projects Malaika, a school and community centre in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Malaika, which translates to ‘angel’ in Swahili, was founded 10 years ago by Noëlla Coursaris Musunka. The school focuses on education for girls and aims at empowering Congolese girls through education and health programmes.

The 60 laptops enabled Malaika to install a computer class for both children (through the school) and parents (via the community centre).  Such a computer class increases digital skills among children and adults, which ultimately leads to Close the Gap’s aim: to bridge the digital divide.

For more information about this particular project, click here.

If you are also interested in donating out-of-date IT material to support projects such as these, click here.


Recent changes regarding Close the Gap’s Board of Directors

Over the past few weeks, several changes have taken place in Close the Gap’s Board of Directors. Three board members, Mr. Willem Lageweg, former Executive Director of MVO Nederland, Michel De Brauwer, Chairman of the Pietercil Group N.V, and Guido Vandervorst, Managing partner Innovation Deloitte Belgium, have decided to make their position available. The whole Close the Gap team would like to thank them for their long-lasting and much appreciated dedication. Their expertise and insight have contributed largely to the growth and prosperity of Close the Gap.

A new member will also join the Board of Directors. The newest board member is Bjorn  Cumps,  who  is  a  Professor  of  Financial  Services,  Innovation  and  FinTech  at  Vlerick  Business  School. Click here to view the complete list of the members of Close the Gap’s Board of Directors.

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Bjorn Cumps, new member of the board

 

Finally, a board search company has been appointed to find a new incoming chairperson who will be mandated to build up a new Board of Directors, as well as a new Board of Expert Advisors. The new chairperson will be officially appointed at the end of 2018.


Laptops for refugee camp in North Kenya

UN refugee

The Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya has 200,000 refugees who flee war and hunger from Sudan, Burundi, DR Congo and Somalia. The camp has 30 schools that do not have power supply, 1 manual per 10 students and insufficient furniture. Offering education is quite a challenge.

Free education for refugees

During a first Skype interview, Koen Timmers, a Belgian teacher and lecturer, trained the teachers of Kakuma. Soon he discovered that it would be quite a challenge. Classes count up to 200 students staring at a single laptop screen. He decided to send his own laptop to the camp and started a crowdfunding campaign.  This enabled additional laptops, a projector and a mobile solar panel to be purchased. Internet bundles are purchased in collaboration with UNHCR and LWF.  Through his Project Kakuma, Koen succeeded in involving more than 100 teachers from 40 different countries in the project. These now give daily lessons in Mathematics, Science and English and talk about culture, religion, customs and … sports!

Koen Timmers was top 10 finalist of the 2018 Global Teacher Prize.

Close the Gap furnished them with 10 notebooks, that help the teachers give ICT classes to the refugees.

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Want to make an impact too? Check out how you can partner with us.

 


Cool “Kio kits” classes implemented in Kenya

kio kit reception

In 2017 close the gap facilitated the purchase of five KIO Kits  of which two were donated to schools by their long-standing service partner in Kenya, Computer for schools KenyaThe Kio Kit is a fully integrated education platform designed in Africa that turns any school room into a digital classroom.

What are the KIO kits?

It is a simple solution made up of 40 tablets and a hardened, water-resistant, lockable case. There is a single plug used to charge the kit and one button to power on the entire system. It is simple and easy to use by children and their teachers. The tablet can run multimedia content, has enough battery to manage intermittent power and is ruggedized to reduce breakage. Kio tablets are locked to prevent theft.

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Who will use them?

The two KIO Kits were donated to two mixed primary schools in Nairobi: St. Benedict’s Primary School and New light Academy Primary School.

St Benedict’s catholic Primary School is located in Nairobi County, of Thika highway, Ruaraka, that enrolls about 400 students. New light Academy Kayole School is located in Nairobi County, Embakasi sub-county, Kayole zone, and enrolls over 1600 students.

According to our local Service Partner, the implementation went smoothly with all 40 devices functioning properly. All responsible teachers were trained prior to holding a class demonstration.   To the headmaster and teacher, the attitude of school staff is one of the greatest motivation when integrating ICT into schools. Many teachers accept new technologies, and usually understand its role in the classroom, and therefore, accept pedagogical change.  This is critical to best leverage the donated learning tools.

 

Want to make an impact too?

Donate your company’s used ICT material and help us accelerate impact and bridge the digital divide in the south.

 


“Move to Close the Gap” event raises 100,000 euros to help bridge the digital divide

move_to_closethegap_cmyk croppedThe 8th edition of Move to Close the Gap event (formerly Bike to Close the Gap) took place yesterday, on June 11, 2018.  It is organised by DNS Belgium, Close the Gap and Guido.

The beautiful weather, the 200+ motivated participants and the generous sponsors made this day a success. A record 100,000 euros was raised to support Close the Gap in its mission to bridge the digital divide. Two novelties: The Patersberg location was traded for the Zolder Circuit and the introduction of a special parcours for joggers.

Some cyclists achieved more than 100 kms in just 3 hours. Congratulations to the cycling winners: Bart Van den Wyngaerd (Cisco) did a total of 28 rounds, while on the ladies’ side, Paulien Van De Velde from Deloitte was the fastest.

The winners of the runners were Soumaya Ben Ayad (Isabel) en Jan Barbé (AuxiPress)

Click here to find the full list of scores.

Read the Computable Magazine article (in Dutch)

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Go to Movetoclosethegap.be


GDPR-info.be recommends Close the Gap as partner of choice to donate your used computers

Thinking of getting rid of your old ICT material?  Recycling your old ICT material, instead of trashing it, is good.  Donating it to be refurbished is even better.  But beware…. the new GDPR regulation reminds the importance of a thorough dataswipe.”

… That’s how GDPR-info.be introduces their newsletter where they highlight Close the Gap as one of the partners of choice to donate your used computer assets.  Interested?  Contact Didier.Appels@close-the-gap.org  or +32 472 72 3393 with any questions.

 

Close the Gap in GDPR news

View the NL full newsletter here.

View the FR full newsletter here.

 

 


Much appreciated contributions of our interns in Uganda

Josephine, Victoria and Charlotte… three young graduates from Vlerick Business School are excited to discover Close the Gap. During their 6-weeks internship, they’ll contribute directly to Close the Gap’s mission of bridging the digital divide and making impact in developing and emerging countries.  They will investigate the possibility and appropriateness of introducing “connectivity hubs” in rural Uganda.   After 2 weeks of desk research and exploratory meetings in Belgium, they are now spending a month doing valuable field work in Uganda to test our assumptions and assess the local needs. Here are their impressions so far:

“Close the Gap’s mission consists of “bridging the digital divide by offering high-quality, pre-owned computers donated by companies or public organizations to education, medical entrepreneurial and social projects in developing countries.” Close the Gap is successful in acting as an end-to-end logistics manager in countries all over the world. Apart from that, the social enterprise reinvents itself continually by assessing and taking on new projects with a social purpose in Africa.”  – Charlotte Vandenbulcke

“We are assigned a challenging project taking place in Uganda. After years of strong collaborations with “Computers For Schools Uganda” it is time to look for new opportunities to assist the Ugandan communities in providing digital solutions to the most rural areas.” – Victoria de Giey

“Our task consists of gaining solid insights through desk and field research into the need for digital solutions in Uganda and produce a sustainable business plan that could provide real social impact by stimulating local self-empowerment.” – Josephine Bogaerts

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Visit of a primary school in Kolé, Uganda, June 2018

 Host Ocen Bosco from Kolé said: “Great thanks to Charlotte, Victoria and Josephine for their time when they visited us in Kole District. We welcome you again. God bless you abundantly.”

 


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

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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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The jury consisted of:

  • Inge Knapen of Close the Gap
  • Aretha Kebirungi of Andela
  • Björn Macauter of Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs
  • Raghav Bhola from BID Network
  • Inez van Oord from Truvalu

Crowdfunding update on the third Leap2 Innovation Challenge in Uganda

Ugandacrowdfunding

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.