Earlier in Rising Voices we learned about the Bolivian Voices day, a nationwide effort to train bloggers and bring more people into the global conversation from a podcast interview with Eduardo Ávila.
The day before the event Eduardo shared his hard work and emotions with the Global Voices team with an email. Quoting from that:
In eight sites across the country, approximately 100 Bolivians from “underrepresented” groups will take part in a one-day workshop where they will learn how to create a blog, write posts, and most importantly, be part of this local, national and global conversation. In Oruro, a small mining town, teachers from rural schools will come into town to participate. In Tiqiupaya, an even smaller suburb of Cochabamba, members of neighborhood associations have signed up to take part, and in El Alto, a youth group of young men and women, who go to school at night because they work during the day to support their families, are others who will part of this event. These are just a few examples of who will be present tomorrow.
For me, working and moving back here to Bolivia holds special meaning. In prior stays in the country, I’ve volunteered at orphanages, gave donations to buy children presents at Christmastime or other worthy deeds, but it never felt right. This project feels right, and even though it is a small drop in the bucket with a country of 9 million in an increasingly polarized society, it is the first step. Creating meaningful interaction with one another regardless of class, ethnicity, geographic location, is just what this country needs…
Photo: Hugo Miranda training participants in Oruro
People are eager to learn what happened on the 19th of April, 2008. While the project blog is yet to publish the updates in English, I went digging in the Bolivian blogosphere to learn more about this day with the help of machine translation.
Enrique Canedo writes [es]:
This new initiative was designed to continue the process of digital literacy, which began in 2007 in the city of El Alto. Only this time it took place simultaneously in seven cities (nine places), which were: El Alto (2), La Paz (2), Santa Cruz, Montero, Oruro, Cochabamba and Achacachi.
At the end of the day 68 new bloggers were trained across the country.
He also posts a short video which can be viewed here.
The volunteers who made this event possible were:
Mario Duran, Hugo Miranda, and Eduardo Ávila, the main force behind the Voces Bolivianas project, selected the other trainers from the Bolivian blogosphere and they participated with enthusiasm.
Boris Miranda was a trainer in La Paz and wrote two reports [es] about his experiences:
It went well and was beneficial to both sides. In other words, I firmly believe that the workshop will be beneficial for both the people who participated as well as a learning experience for me as a presenter.
Alexis Arguello, who was in charge of training in El Alto II with Christina Quisbert wrote a very comprehensive report. He described in great details on various aspects of his experiences on the diversity of participants, logistics management and the state of the internet cafe. The report has two facets on various issues, what really happened and what ideally should have happened. This may be used as a pointer for preparing the next workshops.
From the report we learn that the challenges were to make the PCs ready with workable browsers, dealing with some late comers, some deficiencies were in the manual regarding opening of Gmail account which killed time, and lack of contingencies in the resources like food and internet cafe time which crossed the limited budget. But the trainers did well to manage these.
Watch a video of the Oruro workshop taken by Hugo Miranda:
And here is a list of the blogs [es] created that day in Ouro.
Cristina Quisbert lists the new blogs [es] opened by the participants of the El Alto workshop she conducted. She notes that the Bolivian bloggers community are gradually emerging in rural areas.
Joup Blog has some interesting statistics to share. The number of Bolivian Bloggers using the platform Blogger rose from 8900 to 10,100 in just two months from February to April, 2008. That is an average of 18 blogs per day.
Hugo Miranda also reports that [es] the event got press attention as a local TV called Bolivision took footages of the workshop and interviewed Mario Duran.