Blessing has been working hard to not only spread knowledge of Mendeley in her community, but she is also the Deputy Director-Training and Outreach at ITOCA as well as helping in the development of learning material for the Research4Life and other capacity building programmes over several years on the continent. She studied at the University of Pretoria, National University of Science and Technology, University of South Africa and CASP-UK, and holds a Master’s degree in Development Communication, Science Honors degree in Information Science, and a certificate in Knowledge management. Additionally she is a qualified assessor and moderator of professional courses, registered with the education bodies in South Africa. Blessing is educated in the training of evidence based health, and critical skills appraisal of evidence for health workers.
We managed to get some time to speak with this tireless and enthusiastic Advisor…
How did you get into your field and what is your research story?
I have a passion for research, specifically in the development fields of agriculture and health. My research is in these as well as development communication. I am sold that research if not properly communicated for it purpose has no use. I train trainers mostly from higher education institutions and research institutions.
My passion at the moment is in health and knowledge management, specifically evidence based practice in developing regions and regional knowledge management. My research passion has also been influenced by the work I do with the Research4Life Programmes.
Tell us about your work with Research4Life?
I started working on the R4L programmes in 2007 developing training material and building the capacity of researchers in health, agriculture and the environment. This later expanded to the ARDI programme. I have since been an ambassador of R4L working with faculty, students, librarians and researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa on the use of R4L and related programmes such as TEEAL. These programmes give access to the current literature and evidence in the specific thematic areas and have made such an impact on research in the region. I have thus over the year improved my skills in literature searching as well as in the critical appraisal of the evidence accessible.
Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?
In any developing community.
How long have you been on Mendeley and what were you using prior to Mendeley?
About 3 years now. I used EndNote and Refworks.
How does Mendeley influence your research?
Mendeley has enables me to want to look at diverse sources of evidence knowing that it is all being organized and available at easy access. It has also helped me share the research that I do easier.
Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?
My work involves a lot of capacity building for researchers and I love how Mendeley makes research writing much easier. I get a lot of people still who are amazed by Mendeley and although I did not create it, feel satisfied knowing that imparting the skills of using Mendeley is priceless to most of our African researchers. One of my latest classic response was “it is a miracle!” to which I smiled from my heart.
What academic/researcher/librarian would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
I have met some of the ones admired. I guess someone who has a passion for Evidence Based Healthcare. I have met Sir Nigel Crisp and been to a talk of Sir Ian Chambers.
What book are you reading at the moment and why?
I read the Bible almost each day because it helps me know God more and is my life handbook. I just finished reading Leadership Books by Steve Covey such as Principle Led Leadership and also read up John C. Maxwell. I am in many leadership roles and to wisdom one needs knowledge.
What is the best part about working in research?
Finding out a new phenomenon that impacts lives for the better of course.
And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?
It is at times driven by self-centred objectives and not very outward looking.
What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
If you are doing research, you need to use it – user friendly, light and never boring.