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The Agro-veterinary Institute of Kinshasa connects to TEEAL

April 13, 2015

In 2014, when Arsène Birindwa, a student at the Agro-veterinary Institute of Kinshasa (Institut supérieur agrovétérinaire de Kinshasa, ISAV) read an article about the The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library (TEEAL) in the magazine Spore, he contacted the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to request a subscription to TEEAL at his college. Thanks to CTA’s support, the determination and enthusiasm of this young student and the confidence his college placed in him, this project has now come to fruition.

Article Kinshasa Teeal

TEEAL is a database containing the full texts of more than 275 specialist agricultural and scientific journals. All these documents are stored on a simple external hard drive that can be installed on one or more computers through a local network or intranet. Subscribers can order updates every year. 

TEEAL enables not-for-profit public training institutions from low-income countries to access the best global literature on agricultural and rural development. While the estimated value of these works is US$1 million, the cost to an eligible organisation is just US$5,000. CTA finances access to the database for libraries at research centres and universities in ACP countries, thereby providing them with access to valuable data, indispensable for the training of students. 

Arsène Birindwa, a final-year undergraduate at ISAV, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), rapidly grasped the advantages of this library. This enterprising student convinced the Director General of ISAV and CTA of the advantages of a subscription to TEEAL for ISAV. Since then, students have been able to access the digital library and, according to them, it is a documentary “revolution”. Read the testimony.

How I persuaded the Agro-veterinary Institute of Kinshasa to request a TEEAL subscription

Arsene Kinshasa Teeal 360

“In the context of the DRC, where scientific research, particularly agriculture, plays second fiddle and suffers from a severe shortage of documentation, lecturers and students are forced to improvise. Many lecturers and students would like to make a contribution to developing the vast tracts of land in DRC. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm is hindered by a lack of information and documentation.

Although CTA helps libraries in ACP countries to increase their stocks of books and publications, in Kinshasa it is still very difficult to find CTA’s publications and other scientific works and publications in libraries. Given the lack of documentation, end-of-course work and dissertations can present a challenge for many students.

For me, TEEAL is an indispensable tool that offers a solution to this problem and encourages lecturers, students and researchers to improve the quality of their work and broaden their knowledge.

As an ISAV student, convinced that agricultural development is indispensable to reduce the unemployment and malnutrition that poison the DRC, and aware of the lack of available data, I set out to convince the ISAV to request a subscription to TEEAL.

I learnt from an old edition of Spore that CTA would help ACP country institutions to acquire access to TEEAL. No agricultural college in the DRC had benefited from this support to date. I therefore arranged a meeting with ISAV's Director General to discuss with him the possibilities of obtaining CTA's support in order to access the digital library. The Director General encouraged me to contact CTA to see to what extent ISAV could benefit from this support, as he was convinced that TEEAL would revolutionise many things for ISAV and in the DRC.  Article Kinshasa Teeal 2

I contacted CTA by e-mail and, in a few days, after having completed a form and exchanging messages, we received formal agreement. TEEAL library is now available at ISAV. 

ISAV students have rapidly adopted TEEAL and they appreciate the accessibility, scope and diversity of the subjects and data available and the quality of the information, which is recent and accurate. They reported that 

“TEEAL is a rich source of information in the field of agricultural research and contains old and recent publications. Compared with our libraries where it is difficult to have access to as much information in the field of agriculture, TEEAL has revolutionised everything. It will enable us not only to improve the quality of our work but also to keep abreast of global agricultural research.”

They gratefully acknowledge CTA’s financial support and would like the Centre's generous gesture to be reproduced in other universities in the country and elsewhere.

Are you a librarian, student, teacher or researcher in an ACP country? Is your institution faced with the problem of an inadequate collection of documents on agricultural and rural matters? Please do not hesitate to contact us to ask for more details. Full information is available on the TEEAL website and you can also request additional information (on the system required to install the library) from