Leveraging microgrants to support capacity-building workshops in low- and middle-income countries for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals


  • Karin J. Saric Norris Medical Library, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  • Masimba Muziringa College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, ZI
  • Erin R. B. Eldermire Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • Sarah Young Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Israel M. Dabengwa Faculty of Medicine Library, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, ZI




microgrants, capacity-building, Africa, low- and middle-income countries, LMICs, global collaboration, medical library, medical librarian, Research4Life, Hinari, systematic review, synthesis research, evidence-based practice, information access, knowledge translation, Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs


Twenty fifteen marked the year of assessment for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs that achieved the greatest success were those where evidence-based practice (EBP) interventions were implemented. The ability to practice evidence-based medicine is grounded in the creation of and access to medical literature that synthesizes research findings. The role that global health literature played in the success of the MDGs demonstrates that medical libraries and librarians have a role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Librarians can hold capacity-building workshops that provide instruction on how to access evidence-based literature and also train health professionals to conduct synthesis research. Research findings conducted by in-country health professionals are more likely to address issues being faced by local communities and will afford the possibility of obtaining the necessary evidence-based answers that can then be used to implement policies to resolve public health issues identified in the SDGs.

This paper discusses how an international team of librarians leveraged funding from a Medical Library Association/Librarians without Borders/Elsevier Foundation/Research4Life grant to hold a capacity-building workshop in Zimbabwe and follow-up online trainings. The workshop focused on accessing evidence-based resources and conducting synthesis research. Outcomes included the creation and policy implementation of evidence-based knowledge products in alignment with local needs and galvanizing a multisectoral group of key individuals who have gone on to collaborate toward the vision of creating a Zimbabwe innovation hub. Looking ahead, such grants can be leveraged to conduct capacity-building to support knowledge translation and other local training needs.


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