A French company which specialises in financing new IT equipment, refurbished by disabled workers has won a European eGovernment award for its social impact and cohesion.

Besancon.clic set out to reach the largest number of people possible in the city of Besançon to reduce the digital gap.

Working since 1999, the company has achieved this by financing IT equipment in the region and fitting donated computers into hospitals, schools and retirement homes.

In a statement, an EU spokesperson told E-Health Europe: “Besançon has had the objective of offering digital information to all since 1994. Today, all public or semi-public institutions exchange information freely on the network: schools, universities, libraries, the city administrative services, chambers of commerce and so on.

“The creation of multimedia access points for the public in the various neighbourhoods of the city allows people who do not have IT equipment to use computers and benefit from IT teaching. Use in hospitals can help to reassure patients and provide them with a source of information.”

The computers are refurbished by a team of dedicated disabled workers, based at Besançon’s Centre for Handicapped Workers.

“Participation in setting up and making the computers available to families represents a new activity for the Centre for Handicapped Workers. A similar centre for handicapped workers has just been set up in Senegal; with the same objective: refurbishing computers so as to use them in the future and thus create employment for handicapped people.”

In the health environment, the donated computers have helped the hospitals to keep patients in touch with current affairs, whilst they are receiving treatment.

The machines use open source software, which is downloaded from servers located either in the data processing department of the city council or in schools for external sites. The project has so far cost €350,000.

Hospitalised children or those in therapy will be able to continue learning using special notebooks in the city’s medical sites.

The award was presented to them at the Ministerial eGovernment Conference in Lisbon earlier this month.


Besancon.clic  (French only)