A few weeks ago, Groningen-based companies Voys and Devhouse Spindle officially launched 48percent.org, a foundation to promote global access to free communication and information. Aside from signing the statutes, the new foundation also announced it has teamed up with charity organization War Child.
The name of the foundation wasn’t just randomly chosen. When the idea first came to be, around 48 percent of the world population didn’t have access to the internet. In our opinion, access to communication and information is the basis for equal opportunities and thus for bringing equality to the world. 48percent.org is involved in eliminating obstacles, such as the lack of access and connectivity, but also affordability and lack of the right knowledge and digital skills.
Haiti and the importance of access to communication
Voys and Devhouse Spindle are both purpose-driven, which means there are larger goals being worked towards, next to financial results. In this case, free access to communication and information. In 2003, Voys and Spindle founder Mark Vletter worked in Haiti for roughly six months: “Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. In the course of an 11-hour flight, you go from a country that has everything to a country that has nothing.”
Mark experienced first hand what a lack of access to information and communication does to a country and its people: “I became close friends with one of the locals. One tragic night, his brother died because the doctor wasn’t able to show up on time. It was a rural area, and the doctor was 16 kilometers away. My friend had to travel to the capital to arrange the funeral, walking through the mountains, a trip that took him more than 10 hours. With a satellite phone, everything could have been arranged in a matter of minutes. And with that same phone, his brother’s life could also have been saved. This needs to change and with 48percent.org, we want to bring equality to the world by enabling the last 48% to have access to unrestricted communication.”
War Child partnership
The foundation also announced their new partnership with War Child, by supporting their Can’t Wait to Learn programme. This programme provides quality education to children living in (former) conflict areas. The programme offers children the opportunity to learn to read and count through playing educational games played on tablet devices.
48percent.org is also actively searching for new partners that believe in this mission. If you’re interested in joining their efforts, have ideas about what the foundation can do next, or want more information, join them for a cup of coffee. They also hope to get in touch with relevant and interested parties through their new website 48percent.org.