Bolivian Voices Day – April 19

Please note the new date of April 19,

The need to reach more Bolivians in underrepresented groups created the need to launch the campaign “Bolivian Voices in Your Community” in order to ask for the help of local bloggers to bring a Bolivian Voices 2-month project to they communities and teach the use of web 2.0 tools (blogs, digital photography, audio and video). The response was overwhelming and moving and included proposals from more than 24 people and institutions from 6 of the 9 departments. In order to reach more people, Bolivian Voices decided to change the workplan in order to accomodate more teaching sites and reach a wider audience.

Bolivian Voices would like to announce that April 19 will be “Bolivian Voices Day” where in approximately 10 sites across the country, a workshop on the creation of blogs will be helpd. With the help of local bloggers, approximately 120 participants will receive instruction on how to open, create and maintain their own personal blog and how to be a part of the Bolivian Voices community, as well as the local and national blogosphere.

The confirmed sites include the continuation of the sites in El Alto and Santa Cruz, but also the launching of new sites in La Paz, Oruro and Cochabamba. More sites will be confirmed this week. More details and a list of sites and collaborators will be released this week.

“Bolivian Voices Day” will also be an opportunity to talk about some of the topics of why there are so many voices without representation in the Bolivian blogosphere and what we all can do so that these internet tools can help bring people together and look for ways to overcome these obstacles such as lack of access and lack of knowledge from the population.

Many thanks to all of those who are supporting this blogger citizen's movement, including all of the participants of the projects in El Alto I, El Alto II and Santa Cruz I, the coordinators, the volunteers, special invited guests, media, institutions, organizations, national and international bloggers, Rising Voices network of projects and Rising Voices for the funding that made the first three projects possible.

More details in the days to come….

Delayed Reaction

One night on Instant Messenger, I received a message from one of our Coordinators, Hugo Miranda, who said, “guess who is back?” He proceeded to pass me the link of one of the participants from the first project El Alto I. Ruben Lipe, who opened his blog Rubensistem [es] only attended two of the four sessions and was unable to participate in any other activities. Perhaps he became bored with the idea of a blog or maybe he had better things to do.

However, nearly six months after his first post, Ruben returned explaining his absence. Ruben works in the field of education and works in a rural province in the Bolivian Altiplano, where the internet connection is even less available than in some parts of El Alto. He then proceeded to write about some of the experiences working in the rural parts of Bolivia, as well as the fact that the local population stage football tournaments during Easter week and even hire professional football players from La Paz to act as ringers.

The most satisfying part of discovering the return of Ruben is that the lessons taught about how to write and publish on his blog were not lost nearly half a year later. Ruben obviously has a lot of interesting stories from his days spent in the provinces, and remembered that his blog is an excellent resource and place to share those stories.

Closing Celebrations Scheduled

An important part of the workshops is the closing program, where the participants get the opportunity to invite friends and family to hear about their experiences with Voces Bolivianas. On Tuesday, March 18 the closing program will be held in El Alto for the participants of the 2nd round of workshops. Later in the month, the closing program for the Santa Cruz project will also take place.

In addition to sharing a meal with fellow participants, friends and family and other local bloggers, the Voces Bolivianas participants each say a few words and show off their blogs on the overhead projector.

However, there will also be a special announcement made at the closing ceremony on March 18 in regards to the next plans for Voces Bolivianas.