About Us

Our Vision

We envision an improved quality of life and sustainable development, in Africa through enhanced research and education.

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Our Core Values

Our core values are:

  • Integrity
  • Team work
  • Innovativeness
  • Result oriented
  • Commitment

Objectives

Information skills for researchers are key in research development. ITOCA undertakes capacity building for academic and scientific communities in Africa through:

  • Outreach and marketing of relevant ICT tools and programs.
  • Providing customised program consultancy and support for universities, government departments, communities of practice, NGOs and research institutions.
  • Assisting institutions to develop and formulate grant proposals for information programmes.
  • Providing tailored training for information resource programs such as TEEAL, AGORA, HINARI and OARE for specific organisations and groups.
  • Partnering with International organisations working in research development.
  • Undertaking marketing research and programme evaluation studies in ICT programmes.

Mission

To build capacity amongst the research and education communities in the latest information tools and advocate for the adoption of new technologies that drive development in Africa.

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Profile

ITOCA is aimed at providing, promoting and building capacity for scientists, researchers and information professionals on the use of electronic resources in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Established in February 1999, ITOCA’s main thrust is providing the research and academic communities with access to up-to-date affordable access to published scientific scholarly literature and develop required relevant skills. This is achieved through:

  • Undertaking and funding outreach programmes in ICT and related activities
  • Holding institutional and national training workshops, seminars and capacity building programmes
  • Assisting benefiting institutions develop ICT programmes and seek funding internationally to implement these programmes
  • Provide technical support to implemented programmes at participating institutions
  • Through access to up-to-date, internationally published scientific literature, developing countries stand to benefit in terms of improved research and development programs which lead to increased food production and food security.
  • ITOCA provides vehicles aimed at bridging the digital divide between the developed and developing countries in the fields of health and agriculture and related sciences

Background

Many agricultural and medical libraries in developing countries have not received any academic journals in over ten years. Other such libraries have been destroyed by war or economic and/or political havoc. Without access to current scientific information, scientists and doctors struggle – to keep up with advances in science and technology, to publish their own findings in peer-reviewed journals, to update their teaching curricula, to find funding, and in many other areas.

The demand for access to scientific literature in developing countries has gone unfulfilled for many years, and has led to the isolation of a generation of scientists from their peers.

Currently, the organisation runs four major programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa: TEEAL, AGORA, HINARI and OARE funded through grants from Cornell University, FAO, WHO, and CTA of Netherlands.

Meet The Team

Gracian Chimwaza

Executive Director
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Gracian is the founding director of ITOCA. He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree from Thames Valley University, UK and has an electronic engineering background. He is a PhD candidate at the Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria. In the last sixteen years, Gracian has led extensive capacity development and research projects in many African countries focusing on digital libraries, knowledge exchange, e-resources access, and information literacy programmes. He serves on the Research4Life Executive Council, and is on several journal editorial boards. He has been an invited speaker in many international, regional and national-level policy meetings that address ICTs, knowledge sharing and capacity building in Africa.

Blessing Chataira

Deputy Director -Training and Research
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Blessing is the Deputy Director-Training and Outreach at ITOCA. She holds a Master’s degree in Development Communication, Science Honors degree – Information Science, and a certificate in Knowledge management. She is a qualified assessor and moderator of professional courses, registered with the education bodies in South Africa. Blessing has trained in the training of evidence based health, and critical skills appraisal of evidence for health workers. She brings in over 8 years’ experience and gained skills. She has helped over the years in the development of learning material for the Research4Life and other capacity building programmes. Some focus areas and skills that she has include; knowledge management, project management, monitoring and evaluation, application and use of new technologies for development. She is a qualified trainer, moderator and facilitator of workshops and meetings.

Mercy Moyo

Programme Officer
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Mercy is an experienced library and information science specialist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Honors in Information Sciences from UNISA and is currently enrolled for an MSc in Information Science with the same institution. Mercy has worked on a number of ITOCA Projects including the TEEAL project, TAE Project, Research4life project, and CEPD project. She joined ITOCA in 2006 and was promoted to the post of Program Officer in 2016.

Chipo Msengezi

Programme Officer
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  • Chipo holds a Bachelor of Business Management and Information Technology and is currently studying for a Master of Information of Technology with the Universty of Pretoria. She joined ITOCA in 2008. Chipo has experience in coordinating, facilitating and  developing training materials for a portfolio of training programmes including Monitoring and Evaluation and Information Literacy; Research4Life and TEEAL. She is also responsible for the system administration within ITOCA.
  • Chipo is also the Africa representative for Partnerships in Health Information (Phi), an organisation that strives for improved health care through partnerships between health libraries, library associations and other agencies with information services.  She is also the Coordinator for the Association of Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA), an association that supports access and use of reliable health information and encourages the professional development of health information specialists.

Lebohang Malapane

Junior Programme Officer
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Lebo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Post Graduate diploma in Library & Information Science at the University of Limpopo. She Joined ITOCA in 2014 as a Graduate Trainee and she was promoted to Junior Program Officer. She has been involved in projects requiring writing and editing; knowledge management; information literacy and interpersonal skills, resulting in significant growth.

Tammy Erasmus

Finance and Admin Officer
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Tammy joined ITOCA in 2011 and is responsible for Accounting and Administration work at ITOCA. She has extensive experience with accounting and finance having worked for over 20 years in the motor industry in South Africa.

Amanda Makwangwaidze

Finance and Admin Officer
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Amanda is passionate about the betterment of self and this aligns well with ITOCA’s tireless work to enhance research and education in Sub-Saharan Africa. She was a board member for ITOCA for six years and this ignited a desire to work directly on the day to day activities aimed at capacity building in Sub-Saharan Africa. Amanda joined ITOCA in 2008. She works in the Financial, Training as well as Administrative functions of ITOCA. She holds a Bachelor in Business Science from Monash University and is currently working towards her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Hariot Watt University- Edinburgh BusinessSchool

Prof. Bamidele Fawole

ITOCA West Africa Representative
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Dele is the ITOCA Representative in West Africa. He has done outreach and training work for the TEEAL program in West Africa for the past six years and has visited virtually all countries in the sub-region.

 

Dele obtained his B. Sc. (Agric.) (Hons.) degree in 1972 from the University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria. He proceeded to Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U. S. A. for postgraduate studies immediately after graduation from UI and he obtained the M. S. (Plant Pathology) and Ph. D. (Plant Nematology) degrees in 1975 and 1977, respectively. He is currently a Professor of Nematology in the Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.

Shellin Mugoma

Junior Programme Officer
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Shellin has expertise in research and communication and information management. She is a dedicated young lady who holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Library and Information Science. She worked for ITOCA as an intern ,then graduate trainee and now she is currently a junior program Officer . She has extensive experience as a consultant in documentation services, social media coordinator and also as an Information and Communications Officer. With provision of information she seeks to address the numerous global challenges that are faced in the developing world. She believes information can be used in strategic and proactive ways to improve the lives of communities in Africa and she is of the view that information capacity building in agriculture and health is key to research for development in Africa.

Advisory Board

ITOCA is headed by an advisory Board constituted by international professionals who are passionate about ICT for development work in Africa.

  • Mr Jon Gregson, Development Dreamers (UK) – Board Chair
  • Mr Gracian Chimwaza, ITOCA (South Africa)
  • Ms Elizabeth Dodsworth, CABI (UK)
  • Mr Jonah Mungoshi, Floodtide (Zimbabwe)
  • Prof Willis Oluoch-Kosura, University of Nairobi (Kenya)
  • Prof Derek Law, (UK)
  • Prof Patrick Ngulube, University of South Africa (South Africa)
  • Ms Mary A. Ochs, Cornell University (USA)
  • Dr Daisy Selematsela, National Research Foundation (South Africa)
  • Prof Fanuel Tagwira, Purdue University (USA)