Connectivity and Posting Frequency

Since the beginning of the Voces Bolivianas projects, it can be roughly estimated that 20% of the trained participants continue to write in their blogs after the classes end. Some might argue that this number is way too low for the resources invested into the project, while most would probably agree that the number is higher than the average for the general public, for those who open blogs and continue to write. It is, however, something that we are continuing to address.

Without a doubt, one of the main reasons for the decline in activity is connectivity issues. Based on demographic polling, only 1-2% of participants have internet at home. For regular bloggers, they can attest that this steady access really encourages regular posting. Recently, we have seen how this has helped with the production of content with the blog of Ruben Hilari.

Ruben, originally form El Alto, is a languages study at the public university, and he also ran a language school for students wanting to learn English and Aymara. Recently, Ruben received the opportunity to study and teach at a school in upstate New York, where he has been for the past few months. We have also seen the frequency of his updates increased as a direct result of having internet access at school and in his room.

For example, he has written about the holiday of Halloween [es], other special days at the school and about his first two weeks in the United States (translation):

-Of course, before starting the trip I was nervous and stressed.
-I was excited for my first flight and I could see the “Illimani” (mountain overlooking La Paz) up close.
-For the first time, I saw a giant airport where the planes were side by side like taxis
-Another things that impressed me was in Miami, the majority of people spoke English or Spanish.
-The first thing that Anne (host) told me was to put on my seatbelt or she would be fined. It appears that there is no cars without seatbelts.
-That night I rested in an American house, where I felt that everything was automated.
-Another thing that impressed me was that I didn't understand many of the things that they said to me in English, even though I had studied and I had taught English. It is nice for one's head to hurt trying to understand the English that they speak after having studied and taught English in Bolivia.
-It is very common to see supermarkets and nothing in streets like in La Paz.
-Peter, the school's principal, told me that they don't want to the school to be homogeneous, rather heterogenous.

The blog has helped him communicate to his friends and family back in El Alto about his new experiences in the new land.

Scholarships for National Bloggers Conference

For the 2nd year, Voces Bolivianas is offering travel scholarships to blogges from underrepresented groups to attend the annual bloggers conference. This year, the event will take place in the cities of El Alto and La Paz on August 29-30. Last year, one of the scholarship winners was Cristina Quisbert, who had just started out with her blog. This year, Voces Bolivianas hopes to award at least 4 scholarships.

From the Voces Bolivianas in English site:

Voces Bolivianas is an organization that seeks to create spaces where Bolivian voices from underrepresented groups or regions can be heard. Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as blogs, digital photography, video and audio, Voces Bolivianas continuall looks for ways to promote this mission.

Through the use of workshops, Voces Bolivianas teaches the use of participatory and citizen’s media to underrepresented groups. In order to support and promote greater representation from other regions, cities and other sectors of societies, Voces Bolivainas is offering travel scholarships for bloggers from these groups to attend the national bloggers conference on August 29-30.

Travel Grants

In the spirt of supporting persons from these underrepresented groups, so that there is constant participation and dialogue, Voces Bolivianas will offer travel grants to bloggers or others who are using these participatory media tools (photos, videos, audio) in Bolivia so that they can attend and participate in Bloguivianos 2008 in the city of El Alto and La Paz on August 29 and 30.

The number and amount of each scholarship will depend on the amount of requests received and amount requested.

In order to be considered:

Write in your blog an entry responding to the following question (300-400 words)

How can blogs help create bridges between regions, social classes, ethnicities or cultures in Bolivia? Do you have an example from your personal experience?

Once you have completed the essay, please send the link to: becas (at) vocesbolivianas (dot) org with the following information:

1. City where you will be traveling from/where you live
2. Full name / e-mail / telephone / cell phone
3. Blog address or of the site where you use citizen’s media (videos, photos, podcasts, etc.)
4. How much funds will you need? (please only ask for the amount that you really need so that more people can receive assistance – we cannot cover plane tickets).
5. Deadline: August 10 at 17:00

Scholarship winners must be able to commit to attending both days of the gathering (August 29 and 30).

We will contact winners by August 15 via email and we will announce winners on the websites: and

The scholarship will be reimbursed upon presentation of a receipt of the transport or housing company. The scholarship can also be used for accommodations.

For more information, please write to Eduardo [at] vocesbolivianas [dot] org.