The Cochabanner - Journalism Project in Bolivia
In 2005, Projects Abroad teaching volunteer Scott Liddle began a small publication with a group of students from Cochabamba’s Universidad Mayor de San Simón to promote reading and writing in English. They named the publication The Cochabanner, a play on words of the home-base for Projects Abroad Bolivia. As Scott’s time in Bolivia was drawing to a close, he approached the Projects Abroad office to present the idea of The Cochabanner as a full time journalism project.
Today, eight years later, The Cochabanner is thriving in its 39th edition. Bolivia’s journalism project, The Cochabanner, is the only local publication written entirely in English and distributed free of charge. The aim of The Cochabanner is to provide interesting and informative articles; topics range from popular culture in Bolivia and the city of Cochabamba to promoting different types of social work and social projects.
The magazine is geared to help local NGOs spread the word about the work that they do. In addition to that, The Cochabanner’s mission is to simply connect Projects Abroad volunteers with the community of Cochabamba and with local organisations.
With the guidance of Project Supervisor Ximena Noya, the team that makes The Cochabanner happen every month is composed of volunteers from all over the world, from many different backgrounds, all with different levels of journalism and publishing experience. Volunteers who enrol in the Journalism Project in Bolivia can expect to conduct interviews in the field, go on photo assignments, write and edit articles and take part in the production and publication of the magazine.
Here’s what previous volunteers have to say about their placement:
"As a political science major and history minor desiring to pursue communications as a Master's Degree, I feel that my Journalism internship with The Cochabanner helped confirm my interest in pursuing that field. I feel that my placement allowed me to gain the skills and confidence that I require in the realm of communications."
Carlos Tincoco - Former volunteer from the USA
“During my placement at the Journalism Project, I worked on articles for The Cochabanner, so I was either writing at the Projects Abroad office or in an internet cafe, or was out interviewing and researching articles. I wrote a total of five articles, these ranging in subject, from La Cancha (the famous market in Cochabamba) and traditional Bolivian medicine, to a report on a company set-up by an ex-Projects Abroad volunteer which helps women in a prison in Cochabamba.”
Sarah Turley - Former volunteer from the UK
The Cochabanner is an essential part of Cochabamba’s community; it provides worthwhile material for locals to practise their English and to establish awareness of local NGOs and social work. At the same time it provides a worthwhile vehicle for volunteers to use their skills and gain valuable work experience. There is a mutually beneficial relationship between The Cochabanner and Projects Abroad volunteers. The volunteers play a vital role - if it were not for them, such a publication could not have reached the success and position it holds today.
Read more about the Journalism Project in Bolivia