Close the Gap is an international non-profit organisation that aims to bridge the digital divide by offering high-quality, pre-owned computers donated by European companies to educational, medical and social projects in developing and emerging countries.
Access to information and communication technology (ICT) is essential in the developing world because it is key to improving a country’s educational and economic prospects. However, the cost of new equipment, limited infrastructure and the lack of IT knowledge and proficiency mean that many people still have no access to IT. Today, information is seen as one of the major drivers of economic and social development and ICT makes access to information available on an unprecedented scale.
The digital divide is not only a divide between people who have access to ICT and people who don’t. It’s also a divide between people who have knowledge of ICT and those who don’t, between people who realise the opportunities presented by ICT and those who don’t. It consists of an infrastructure gap, a knowledge gap and a psychological gap.
Close the Gap collects decommissioned computers from companies and arranges for other organisations to clean the hard disks and then check and configure the hardware according to the requirements of its end-users. The computers are then shipped to the destination country by sea or air transport. Since 2003, Close the Gap has already received more than 250,000 computers from companies all over Europe.
Close the Gap not only provides computers to developing countries, but it also builds partnerships with organisations worldwide in order to deliver comprehensive software and hardware solutions to its recipients.
Today, Close the Gap has supported more than 2,500 projects all over the world. However diverse the projects, they all have one common denominator: a focus on advancing both the individual and the community within a spirit of socio-economical education. By following this principle, Close the Gap is participating in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.