Deloitte Belgium: Close the Gap
Providing computers to bridge the digital divide
View a brief video overview from Close the Gap.
In 2003, Olivier Vanden Eynde, a senior manager with Deloitte Belgium, founded Close the Gap International, which provides computers and information technology (IT) equipment to educational programs in developing and developed countries. To date, the program has processed some 160,000 IT assets from corporate donors.
Deloitte Belgium provides Close the Gap with pro bono professional services including accountancy, taxes, legal services, skilled volunteers, and connections to other organizations that the member firm supports. One of those organizations is e-Learning for Kids, a program started in 2004 by Nick van Dam, DTTL’s Global Director for Learning, e-Learning Solutions and Technologies. The program offers free online and CD-ROM-based educational software for young people aged four years through teens. The computers that Close the Gap sends to needy schools are equipped with software from e-Learning for Kids.
Close the Gap also directs donations of computer equipment to Fund Isaan, a nonprofit founded by a Deloitte Belgium partner that equips schools in the rural region of Isaan, Thailand with internet-ready classrooms.
In September 2009, Close the Gap joined forces with other like-minded organizations to found World PC, an umbrella organization designed to achieve global reach and guarantee a no-landfill policy for e-waste in Africa. Also in 2009, Dutch CIOs from around the country signed a pledge to donate 30,000 more computers to the program. More recently, Close the Gap won a three-year, €5 million award to reach more than 1.5 million young people in developing countries and to support underserved youth in Belgium through an initiative called PC Solidarity that provides computers to nonprofits working on social and educational causes.
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“Deloitte’s assistance has contributed to our sustainable and controlled growth, such that today one million children and adolescents can access information using equipment from Close the Gap. Being associated with Deloitte has been instrumental in helping Close the Gap, as a startup, to attract support from various stakeholders, including private and public companies, public authorities, other NGOs, and governments.”
– Olivier Vanden Eynde, senior manager, Deloitte Belgium and founder and managing director, Close the Gap International