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grant, staff at Mann Library will completely redesign the TEEAL system to include more material, including previously unpublished information collected by the Gates Foundation during many years of work in the developing world, as well as valuable local scientific literature that is not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
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.
“ITOCA has it all, please give us another happy surprise!”
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 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.
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.
Upcoming Research4Life/TEEAL Workshop
AHILA Call For Abstracts Extended
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