Issue No 22. May 2014 Tell a Friend Feedback Unsubscribe

Press Release

ITOCA and Cornell University receive joint grant to strengthen agricultural research in Africa

Cornell University and ITOCA Receive $4.9M Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant to Expand TEEAL.

[Pretoria, December 14, 2013] A $4.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will expand Cornell University’s agriculture research library for developing countries. The grant was made jointly to Cornell’s Mann Library and the Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA). The award will expand the reach of The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library (TEEAL) in Africa and Asia.

TEEAL was founded in the early 1990s, on the belief that long-term improvements in food security and agricultural development would not be possible without giving scientists better access to current research. It is a searchable, offline, digital library available to public and non-profit institutions in income-eligible countries.

The first set was shipped in 1999 to the University of Zimbabwe on 172 CDs, weighing 50 pounds. The library now includes over one million articles in more than 250 highly ranked journals, delivered on a single small 1-terabyte hard drive.

With funding from the three-year grant, staff at Mann Library will completely redesign the TEEAL system to include more material, including previously unpublished information collected by the Gates Foundation during many years of work in the developing world, as well as valuable local scientific literature that is not currently disseminated. The foundation’s reports and documents will also be made available for free via the web, as part of a new online digital library.

“Access to these reports and documents coming out of other Gates-funded agricultural development projects, in addition to the research literature, provides material that can help researchers and policy-makers move from research into practice,” said Mann Library Director Mary Ochs.

Starting in January 2014, Mann Library and ITOCA began working with universities, agricultural ministries and extension organizations in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Bangladesh to provide enhanced access to the system.

The ultimate goal: 300 institutions with copies of a new and improved TEEAL, as well as training for more than 22,000 students, faculty, researchers, extension staff and government officials. The project also aims to create a self-sustaining model that expands the knowledge base far beyond what is normally possible when outside trainers come in and offer single workshops.

“With this grant and the training it will support, many researchers  stationed in academic and research institutions where Internet connectivity is still a challenge will have an opportunity to participate in up-to-date global research and address local challenges,” said Gracian Chimwaza, Executive Director of ITOCA.

This is the second grant Mann Library and ITOCA have received from the Gates Foundation. In 2009, a $1.8 million grant allowed TEEAL and ITOCA to distribute 115 new TEEAL sets in 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

ITOCA and Cornell University receive joint grant to strengthen agricultural research in Africa
Find information online about TEEAL, Mann Library and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Botswana and Nigeria Host Research4Life Workshops

Participants at the University of Ibadan Research4Life programs Workshop

The Kennet Dike Library of the University of Ibadan hosted the Nigerian workshop from 24-26 March 2104. The training workshop was formally declared open by Dr. Benedict Oladele, the University Librarian. He welcomed participants to the University of Ibadan (UI) and urged the participants to ensure they fully avail themselves of the opportunity given them to attend the workshop. Earlier, Professor Dele Fawole, the ITOCA Representative for West Africa had intimated the participants about the massive volume of journals available for free to subscribing institutions through the Research4Life programs, resources not even available in many Western institutions. He hoped that they would commit themselves fully to acquiring the navigational skills so they can pass on the knowledge to their colleagues on return to their respective institutions. In attendance at the Opening Ceremony was Dr. Georgina Ekpenyong, the Deputy University Librarian, UI.
Thirty-two participants from all over the country attended the workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Kirchuffs Atengble, ITOCA Training & Outreach Officer for Ghana, and Professor Dele Fawole, Dr. Grace Ajuwon of Olatunde Odeku Library, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan facilitated the HINARI break-out session.

“ITOCA has it all, please give us another happy surprise!”
The above is a quote from a satisfied participant that attended the Research4Life programs workshop held in Botswana in November 2013. Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA) in collaboration with University of Botswana hosted a Research4Life Training-of-Trainers workshop during 20 – 22 November 2013. Thirty scholars and librarians selected from various institutions around the country participated in this workshop.

Various methods were used to deliver the course modules: Power Point presentations, group discussions, informal interactive sessions, and practical sessions. The participants followed through the exercises during the practical sessions as they were guided by the facilitators. During the sessions participants were expected to find articles using various search strategies and options for searching through the Research4life and TEEAL platforms. Facilitators provided support to participants who required more attention.
The participants of this workshop were really glad that they participated in the course and expressed their gratitude to the Research4life and TEEAL partners for bringing the resources to Botswana. They promised to register their organizations on the relevant Research4life programs. They also promised to pass on the gained knowledge to their colleagues, learners and library users. Based on participants’ feedback and observation of the facilitators, the workshop objectives were achieved.

The two courses see a new emphasis by the trainers guided by the realigned training strategy on the programs which aims to integrate programs awareness, usage and sustainability by providing various mediums for interacting with Research4Life programs beyond the training as well as targeting the support of decision makers in the user institutions. This has been done partly by encouraging participants to sign up to the Research4Life User Forum and also inviting university management to officiate at the workshops opening and closing ceremonies.
More workshops are planned for Ethiopia in May, Uganda in July, Sierra Leone in August and Tanzania in September this year.

Staff Appointments
New Deputy Director at ITOCA
ITOCA is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Ms Blessing Chataira to the post of Deputy Director- Training & Research. Blessing has been with ITOCA for eight years during which she rose through the ranks to her new position. In her previous capacity as a Senior Programme Officer, Blessing has helped the organisation build a vibrant training and outreach department to its current levels. The team would like to wish her continued success in her career at ITOCA.

ITOCA also welcomes Ms Amanda Makwangwaidze, and Ms Tammy Erasmus to their appointments in the Finance & Administration Department. Three interns at various stages of their studies also joined the ITOCA team under its graduate trainee programme. Welcome to Ms Blandina Chikungwa, Ms Shellin Mugoma and Ms Lebohang Malapane.


CEPD Records Management Course Set June 2014
ITOCA ‘s Continuing Education and Professional Development section is organizing a Records Management course during 17-20 June 2014. The course aims to equip the participant with basic skills necessary in daily professional records management activities. For enquiries on this course please write to or visit

Upcoming Research4Life/TEEAL Workshop
Ghana: TEEAL/AGORA Workshop 14-16 June 2014
Uganda: Research4Life/TEEAL programs Training of Trainer Workshop: 28-31 July 2014
Nigeria: TEEAL/AGORA Workshop 18-20 August 2014

AHILA Call For Abstracts Extended
The 14th Congress of AHILA/ AIBSA will be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania during 20-24 October, 2014
The deadline for the submission of abstracts for the Congress has been extended to 31 May 2014.

The main theme is on:
ICTs, Access to c and Knowledge: building strong knowledge societies for sustainable development in Africa.

The sub-themes are:

  • ICT’s and health information and knowledge management systems for  sustainable development
  • Health information literacy and information behavior
  • Social media networking and dissemination of health information and knowledge: its contribution to creating knowledge societies
  • Capacity building of Health Information Professionals: the role of LIS education in Africa
    The Congress will incorporate the 2nd HIFA International Conference (Healthcare Information For All,, where delegates will review progress made since the launch of HIFA at AHILA 10 (Mombasa, Kenya, 2006) and ways forward to accelerate progress towards Healthcare Information For All in Africa and worldwide.
    The deadline for abstracts (maximum 500 words in English) is 31st of May 2014
    More information

CEPD Online courses
ITOCA’s Continuing Education and Professional Development (CEPD) programme introduced online courses for five of its core courses towards the end of 2011. This option for e-learning has been very popular and widely accepted and has seen many professionals improve their knowledge and skills. The e-learning platform offers one an opportunity to learn in a flexible and self-paced environment as most courses are run up to 4 weeks.
The e-learning courses that are available and have been running throughout the year include Grant Writing, Records Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Marketing and Information Literacy. The platforms used to develop these courses are very interactive, friendly and easy to use. For more information on the courses and how to enroll please visit the CEPD page at .

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.