Voces Bolivianas: Leaping forward to the next round

In November 2007 David Sasaki described the pilot phase of the Voces Bolivianas citizen media project in El Alto and its future plans. The pilot program took place at a cyber-cafe in the city of El Alto between September 22 and November 10. It helped teach the tools and techniques of citizen media to 23 members of underrepresented groups in Bolivia who have already emerged as bloggers-cum-citizen journalists.

Project Co-Director Eduardo Ávila recently informed us that Voces Bolivianas was recently featured in the magazine OH! which accompanies the Sunday edition of the Los Tiempos newspaper in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Read the article about Voces Bolivianas here.

Mario Duran

Mario Duran announces in his blog Palabras Libres (“Free Words”) [ES]:

The project Voces Bolivianas has arranged a closing ceremony where awards to the participants of the first blogging workshop in the city of El Alto will be given. The event will take place at a local Café at on January 10, 2008 at 18:00 hours.

The winner will receive a digital camera. This event also will inaugurate the second round of workshops for female participants.

From the participants’ blogs:

David Rodriguez of Bolivia Imagen writes [es] about the internal migration that is putting pressure on existing infrastructures like water, electricity, and sewage in cities like Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and La Paz.

He suggests that planned integration of the outer communities of those cities could accommodate the growing population and ease the situation, and that the government should respond to this.

Ruben Hilary

Ruben Hilary notices [ES] that during the holidays many of his classmates will be working to generate some income for their families and help improve their economic hardship. Others will be taking extra classes so that they can assimilate in the next year of schooling more easily. He concludes:

All this gives us the impression that the holiday is an opportunity for further development.

Cesar Duran, in the post “Educacion De La Tecnologia De La computacion” discusses the recycling of computers. He points out that in some Latin American countries such as Colombia, Chile and Venezuela, school and universities have practical laboratories which use parts from scrapped computers to teach computer assembly and that some also use them in assembling robots. He thinks more such projects should be implemented in Bolivia to build things like electrically-powered wheelchairs (and other things according to students’ imagination) from recycled computer parts.

Meanwhile Cristina Quisbert of ‘Bolivia Indígena’, whom David Sasaki interviewed last month, continued with her powerful writings. She continues to write about issues relating to Bolivian indigenous communities such as threats of dispossession and their struggles for native land.

She reports that, although only not long ago natives were forbidden to enter the legislative palace, this is the first time a new constitution is being prepared to take such injustices into account.


Image: delegations from many indigenous groups dressed in traditional outfits marched towards the palace in appreciation of the new constitution.

She also wrote about beautiful places in Bolivia, namely Pariti Island near Lake Titicaca and the Eternal City (Wiñay Marka).


Alberto Medrano of El Alto Noticias writes of a tradition of buying cakes and dolls on Christmas eve.

Omar Ali Villca of Rock Boliviano posts some cool Latin contemporary rock tracks for downloading.

Tips: You can read more from these participants blogs in English (or in other selective languages) using Google Translate.

In a fetaured post of the project's English translation blog Teodora Romero tells us that, from ner experience in a local school, the students do not like to read much.

Participants photos:


Sales of pirated CD in El Alto: a common scene.


Glimpses of poverty in El Alto.

More photos at Flickr

The next round:

The next citizen’s media workshop will begin this Saturday, January 12, 2008 in El Alto. The project has been titled El Alto II and its goal is to have a greater number of female participants than the pilot project. You can find the list of the participants being constantly updated in the Rising Voices Wiki.

Eduardo Ávila also reports that:

Voces Bolivianas has also decided to expand to Santa Cruz, where the two groups of new bloggers will have a chance to interact with one another and hopefully tear down existing stereotypes about these two supposed ‘different’ groups of people that are also supposed to dislike each other.

For the expansion project, a workshop is scheduled for January 19th in Santa Cruz and a local blogger, Jessica Olivares has been named the Voces Bolivianas coordinator in Santa Cruz.

We will be updating you as these new projects continue to progress.


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