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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
19 oktober 2007

Dutch Essent offers 3000 computers a year to bridge the digital gap

According to Tamme Wierenga, IT Infra Services manager at Essent, "the average useful life of a computer is three years, which means that Essent can offer Close the Gap around 3000 computers per year for reuse. I'm glad that we can make a social contribution through lengthening the life of these computers in a relatively simple way."

Brussels-based Close the Gap is an international not-for-profit organisation, which helps to bridge the digital divide in the world by offering high-quality refurbished computers to IT projects in the South at cost price. Its aim is to empower communities in developing countries by supplying IT equipment donated by Western companies and individuals. Partners of Close the Gap in the Netherlands include KLM, Flection Int, Deloitte, Nielsen, NRG-Nashuatec and Essent.

The idea is simple, says Close the Gap founder and general manager Olivier Vanden Eynde: "Companies and institutions in Western countries replace their computers every three to four years. The result of this frequency means that such bodies are increasingly looking for sustainable ways to replace their used computers. At the same time millions of computers are needed in developing countries."

Lack of access to information resulting from the ever-widening digital divide hinders communities and individuals in the developing world. A simple pc and an internet connection puts information within reach of those who need it the most. The difference that access to information has on people's futures is immeasurable. How to purify water? How to build roads? How to implement basic water irrigation, first aid or HIV prevention?

Close the Gap is building on partnerships, not on one-time charity initiatives, stresses Vanden Eynde. "Close the Gap is demand driven, this makes it sustainable. It is up to our projects to decide whether they partner with us or opt for brand new, but costlier, computers. Ours are cheap, as our partners and donors offer their computers for free or refurbish them at cost price."
P+ webtip: Close the Gap

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