ITOCA (Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa) is Africa’s leading librarians training organization based in Africa.ITOCA is a capacity building organization aimed at enhancing information and communications technology (ICT) skills for African librarians,information specialists, scientists, researchers and students in Sub-Sahara Africa. Formerly, TEEAL Africa Office, ITOCA Albert R. Mann Library TEEAL programmefor Africa. The organization, which has professionals in 3 countries (Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) and liaison contacts in 35 was established in Feb. 1999 as a marketing and support office for Cornell University’s African countries, has trained over 1,000 information professionals,in 33 Sub-Sahara Africa countries in the last seven years.ITOCA , with backstopping from the TEEAL and AGORA projects at Mann Library (Cornell University) and FAO, the HINARI project at WHO and ORAE project at UNEP has a mandate to carry out outreach and training activities that promote the successful adoption and use of these three programs throughout Africa.
Issue No 17 January 2011 Tell a Friend Feedback Unsubscribe


Continuing Education and Professional Development (CEPD) Courses Launched
ITOCA launched the CEPD course series on November 23, 2010 for the benefit of professionals who are in need of further skills development in ICT, ICM and related courses. The courses are aimed at enhancing skills for practising professionals through hands-on and practical skills building classes. Participants are able to learn new skills in small, well-coordinated groups where they can interact and benefit through peer-assist and team-building activities as they build their careers. Course content design is tailored to meet the needs of the participants through interactive pre and post-course assessments. Instruction and facilitation is delivered by experienced ISETT SETA certified assessors and moderators who are holders of postgraduate qualifications in Library and Information Sciences, Computer Science and Business Management.

The following courses are scheduled for 2011:

* Information Literacy * Library Marketing
* Records Management * Web 2.0 for professional development
* Grant Proposal Writing * Scientific Writing
* Statistical Software/ Research tools * Time Management and Organisational Skills
* Citation/ Reference Management * Project Management
* Communication and Presentation Skills * Digital Literacy
* Computer Proficiency * E-resources Licensing

The 3-5 day certified courses are aimed at information managers, librarians, faculty, researchers, technical officers, managers and other professionals. These courses are held at the ITOCA-CEPD Training Centre in Centurion, South Africa and onsite courses can be arranged upon request – please contact the training manager at For more details on the courses and dates go to or write to us!

Botswana was host to the 2010 edition of the Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL). ITOCA took advantage of this grand occasion to showcase its work and to further its mission of training information professionals, researchers and scientists in the latest information tools.

ITOCA, in partnership with the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), U.K. organized a one-day pre-conference seminar on Strengthening Information Literacy interventions: Using creative approaches to teaching and learning. The aim of this seminar was to share experiences and new ideas among librarians involved in Information Literacy (IL) training in Africa and beyond. The seminar, which was attended by about 50 Librarians and Information practitioners, discussed capacity building in IL; E-journal access; adopting learner-centred approaches in teaching IL and Innovations changing the landscape of information skills building among other topics.
During the main conference, ITOCA setup an exhibition stand to showcase its work throughout the Sub-Saharan Africa region. The stand had information on TEEAL, Research4Life products and other projects that ITOCA is involved in. It turned out to be a popular stop-over for conference attendants who collected free CDs, brochures and pamphlets on ITOCA’s products. View the ITOCA AT SCECSAL 2010 video clip at

Nigeria Workshops: University of Port Harcourt Hosts Back-to-Back Training Workshops in a Milestone year for ITOCA.
Celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2010, ITOCA has always strived to keep on the cutting edge when it comes to new technologies and methods in training information professionals and building their skills and technical capacity. It is with this in mind that two TEEAL/Research4life Programmes back-to-back workshops where delivered at the University of Port-Harcourt in Nigeria. The first workshop was held during 10-12 November and the second from 15-17 November 2010. The courses were delivered in collaboration with Mann Library-Cornell University (USA) and the Institute of Development Studies (UK).
These national courses were different in many ways. First, they had the distinction of being graced by partners from Cornell University and IDS who helped in course delivery. Baseema K Krkoska represented Cornell University and Siobhan Duvigneau represented IDS. Second, it was the only venue that hosted 2 consecutive workshops during the year.

Besides building the participants’ skills, an important objective for these courses was to look at methods of course and content delivery that ITOCA has been using over the past 10 years and integrate them with current teaching best-practices in ICM such as user-centred approaches and participatory learning. A comparative approach was adopted where the first workshop was done using “traditional” methods of delivery and the second workshop took a different approach by putting the spotlight on the user. This pilot of the new approach seems to have been well-received by participants with one commenting that he “…appreciates this effort of Research 4 Life to increase the use of e-resources in a country like Nigeria. This workshop will go a long way in achieving this goal”. The findings from the two courses will certainly inform the decisions on the delivery methods by ITOCA in future courses.

NUST and UZ host ITOCA Workshops in Zimbabwe
The Research4Life and TEEAL Training of Trainer national workshop was held at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo during 5-7 October 2010. The workshop participants were selected mainly from academic and research institutions in Zimbabwe. The aim of the course was to equip participants with skills and knowledge on how to use the research4life programmes and TEEAL and also serve as trainers to their colleagues upon returning to their institutions.

Twenty nine (29) participants attended the workshop. Nine participants were from the host institution, NUST with the balance coming from other state universities and research institutions.
The opening ceremony was graced by senior members of the university including the Registrar, Bursar, Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Science and The Dean of Engineering. For ITOCA, there was Mr S. Nyareza, the course facilitator and Mr M. Chimalizeni. In his opening remarks the Registrar highlighted the breathtaking pace with which technology is changing and emphasised on the need for continuing education and training in order for universities to keep up and remain relevant.

After the three day workshop in Bulawayo, ITOCA and IDS-UK also organised a one-day training workshop at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), the institution that started it all by acquiring the first TEEAL set way back in 1999. The one day course which took place on October 8, 2010 was attended by 13 selected professionals from Libraries, Agricultural and Medical institutions. The main objective of the course was to pilot new course delivery methods developed by ITOCA and IDS which integrate Information Literacy skills to Research4Life training. This new method was later applied full-scale at a 3-day training workshop in Nigeria.

Research4Life: “A Blessing to College of Health Technology, Calabar – Nigeria”

*HINARI training in College of Health Technology Calabar, Sonigitu guiding participants.

Today the College of Health Technology, Calabar has made great impact in the use of HINARI and R4L in ensuring that students research work are based on information from the HINARI site. Lecturers find it easier to teach their students with up-to-date information downloaded from the R4L portal.
Community health workers use information from R4L to extend their work in local setting and offer sustainable treatment to clients while comparing details of what others had studied in relation to the illness of patients they attend to.
Currently, the Provost of the College has set up an information centre for rural health development through professionalism-building which offers response to identified needs, thereby addressing two vital issues:
1. Thematic specialisation and targeting a priority audience
2. Elaboration of a strategy.
This centre has practical information in content which is provided in different formats suitable for the users’ levels of instruction and languages.

ITOCA East Africa Office Activities
In 2010, the ITOCA East Africa Office was engaged in a number of activities. A total of five workshops were held during this period in Tanzania (1), Ethiopia (1), Rwanda (1) and Kenya (2). Out of these, two of the workshops were national workshops while the remaining three are categorised under the TEEAL integration missions. In addition to the national workshops and TEEAL integration missions, a few institutions took the initiative to organise their own institutional level trainings on e-resources and requested ITOCA resource persons to help facilitate the training sessions. These institutions include University of Nairobi, Pwani University College and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture (Juja).

In addition to the workshops, ITOCA in collaboration with the College of Agriculture and veterinary Sciences at the University of Nairobi organised three seminars for students at the College. The themes of the seminars were: Elements of scientific writing, Funding and Scholarship opportunities; and Agricultural Information Management. Prof. Ruth Oniango, Prof. Hamadi Idd Boga and Dr. Justin Chisenga were invited to present on the above themes, respectively. A majority of the students who attended the training sessions and seminars at CAVS were from the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and the Faculty of Agriculture (with the Applied Nutrition department having a larger share of the students attending). The Dean of Veterinary Medicine (Prof. Munene) personally attended the training session which focused on HINARI and how to use PubMed. He expressed interest in future trainings and indicated that he would encourage students and faculty members from his faculty to attend future training sessions.

An impressive observation during all the trainings held was the commitment and interest of participants to fully attend all training sessions, and also the willingness of senior faculty members to fully attend the training as participants. One such example is from the acting Dean of Science at Chepkoilel University College- Prof. Ezekiel Kiprop who full attended the two day integration workshop (without skipping a session) despite his busy schedule. This is very commendable!

Our apologies, in the last issue we mentioned Benjamin Ngatunga, as being from Kenya when in fact he is from Tanzania. Dr Benjamin Ngatunga successfully completed the PROTA email course during February 4-19, 2010.

TEEAL (The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library) program is an innovative scholarly scientific database developed specifically for agricultural and natural resource scientists, lecturers and students in developing countries by Cornell University in association with the Rockefeller Foundation, NY, USA. TEEAL, available on CD-ROM and on a hard disk that can be put on your Local Area Network, gives access to full-text literature from the world’s leading publishers.

AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) is an online program that gives educational, government departments and not-for-profit organizations, in selected developing countries instant online access to over 900 journals in agriculture and related sciences for free. Led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in collaboration with Cornell University, WHO and the Rockefeller Foundation, the goal of AGORA is to increase the quality and effectiveness of agricultural research and training in low-income countries, and in turn, to improve food security. Researchers, policy-makers, educators, students, technical workers and extension specialists now have access to high-quality, relevant and timely agricultural information via the Internet.

The Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) is part of the United Nation’s Health InterNetwork (HIN) project, and is coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the lead agency. It is a collaboration between the WHO, publishers and other health care content owners intended to provide biomedical and health care research and guideline information to non profit academic and research institutions, governmental and policy making departments in low income countries. Access to this information will generally be provided at low cost or in most cases free by the Publisher, to institutions in many countries with a Gross National Product (GNP) per capita of US $1,000 or less according to the World Bank Report, December 1999.

Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) an international public-private consortium coordinated by by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Yale University, and leading science and technology publishers, enables developing countries to gain free access to one of the world’s largest collections of environmental science literature. Over one thousand scientific journal titles owned and published by over 200 prestigious publishing houses, scholarly societies, and scientific associations are now available in 70 low income countries. Another 36 countries will be added by 2008. Research is provided in a wide range of disciplines, including biotechnology, botany, climate change, ecology, energy, environmental chemistry, environmental economics, environmental engineering and planning, environmental law and policy, environmental toxicology and pollution, geography, geology, hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, urban planning, zoology, and many others.