Please find below the annual reports of the previous years:
Terms and Conditions
Board of Directors
Close the Gap is governed by an independent Board of Directors and their primary function is to give advice and make recommendations to the Managing Director about policies, strategies, allocation of resources and legislative arrangements. In addition, this board is responsible for giving its formal approval to major strategic and organisational decisions taken within Close the Gap.
Board of Recommendation
Close the Gap’s Board of Recommendation consists of eminent people willing to vouch for and recommend Close the Gap within their networks. This board is essential to the organisation in terms of international support and visibility.
The Remuneration Committee was established to ensure that remuneration arrangements support the strategic aims of the organisation and enable the recruitment, motivation and retention of our staff, while complying with the requirements of regulatory and governance bodies, and satisfying the expectations of stakeholders and remaining consistent with the expectations of the wider employee population.
The members of the Remuneration Committee are appointed by the Board of Directors and consist of at least three members. The committee is chaired by the chairman of the Board of Directors.
Close the Gap’s counsellors complement the Board of Directors and consist of a number of persons from different countries willing to support Close the Gap in terms of networking and visibility. Counsellors do not have any legal authority but mainly act as ambassadors for the organisation. They can undertake meaningful and purposeful activities for support in terms of policy, planning, evaluation, public relations and fundraising. Counsellors are active in many countries within different sectors such as development, education, health and microfinance.
Close the Gap could not exist without the daily support of its strategic partner network. All the strategic partners support the organisation through philanthropic activities in their specific fields.
The Board of Directors has entrusted the daily management to Olivier Vanden Eynde, founder of the organisation, by means of a management agreement. Two members of the Board of Directors hold an annual evaluation session with the Managing Director as part of an ongoing, collaborative inquiry to explore the daily functioning of the Managing Director.
Close the Gap’s values
Close the Gap’s Board of Directors, management and employees deliver the organisation’s five key mission values to counsellors, strategic partners, donors, supporting partners and contacts on a daily basis:
• Comfort when dealing with the donation process in terms of logistics.
• Safety when dealing with the erasing (data wiping) process.
• Reliability thanks to Grant Thornton’s external audit and Deloitte Belgium’s internal audit.
• Transparency when dealing with all partners.
• Environmentally sound when promoting its “zero e-waste” policy with local partners.
Since transparency is a key component of a healthy organisation, Close the Gap is audited on a yearly basis by Grant Thornton Bedrijfsrevisoren – Réviseurs d’entreprises CVBA – SCRL Belgium (previously known as PKF Business Advisors Belgium). The audit is conducted in accordance with legal and statutory requirements and provides assurance that the financial statements are free of material misstatement. The audit process includes measuring the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by the management, as well as evaluation of the overall financial statements. This allows the organisation to better inform the public about how resources have been used.
Close the Gap wants to be a reliable partner for its donors and partners at all times. In order to ensure the transparent and professional use of funds (raised by strategic partners, donors and subsidiary governments), Deloitte supports Close the Gap with internal audits, risk management and legal support, as well as by providing Deloitte experts to carry out all the accounting. A two-yearly audit conducted by Deloitte oversees the entire technical path to guarantee that the refurbishment and logistic track, as well as the quality assurance of the equipment delivered to Close the Gap projects, take place in a consistent and transparent way.
This entire process of transparency by internal and external auditing is strengthened furthermore by Close the Gap’s policy concerning its project management, which operates clearly through a neutral and independent selection of projects based on clearly defined criteria. The two guiding principles are the sustainability of the project and the concept of local ownership by each project beneficiary. This means that local partners are ultimately responsible for the results of their supported activities. In most cases, Close the Gap charges a modest contribution per computer configuration, but exceptions can occur when external funds or Close the Gap funds are available to bear the costs of a project. To enhance the long-term self-supporting nature of its projects, Close the Gap offers all-inclusive solutions to its partners, including peripheral equipment, additional hardware and software and capacity building programmes through various qualitative partnerships, both local and international. The tools provided by these partnerships lead to improved sustainable projects and help to bring people together to exchange knowledge and experience. A large number of projects have benefitted from these broad sources of support, thereby securing a sustainable and independent integration of Close the Gap equipment.
Having a well-developed and open communication strategy – both in the short and the long term – is vital to an organisation like Close the Gap. Therefore, a traceable communication path was established over time to improve the organisation’s transparency. This was done by providing information about every step in Close the Gap’s process chain. In practice, this means that all communication matters are handled by the polyvalent Close the Gap team, coordinated by the Managing Director, who makes sure that all relevant information about projects executed, partnerships and other facts are accessible through Close the Gap’s website, newsletters and other communication media.
In the rapidly developing non-profit world, it is important for an organisation to become self-sufficient rather than having to depend entirely or partly on contributions or subsidies. Close the Gap is aware of this and therefore operates as a social enterprise, combining the passion of a social, philanthropic mission with the very best of the for-profit enterprising world. It is, however, important to mention that Close the Gap’s social and environmental mission will always be central to all its activities.
For Close the Gap, it is important to focus its programmes on long-term goals, since the digital divide cannot be bridged within a day. This means it is important to build in financial assurance. Close the Gap has various ways of dealing with the risk of fluctuating income and the implications of this on the continuity of its projects. The organisation manages financial risks through a policy of spreading income. Income is obtained from multiple sources, including individual donors, gifts from strategic partners and institutional donors.