Issue - October 2015
Cochabanner’s first steps
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 it “The Cochabanner”. During his time as a volunteer, Scott was able to publish 3 issues of The Cochabanner. As a small publication, the pages were filled with articles and caricatures or comics written entirely by the Linguistic students. The response to The Cochabanner was truly amazing and the participation of the students and faculty more so. As it was time to complete his project, Scott approached the Projects Abroad office to present the idea of The Cochabanner as a full time journalism project.
During 2005, The Cochabanner suffered minor set backs. As the number of volunteers for the journalism project was low, it was a struggle to find articles to complete an edition. The Projects Abroad staff and friends devoted time to writing articles in order to keep The Cochabanner alive.
The dedication and struggle had at last paid off, when in 2006, the decision to change the publication into a proper magazine, define a design and objective of the magazine, the stream of journalism volunteers began to pick up.
Today, we are proud to begin with the 39th edition of the Cochabanner online, and 1000 copies distributed for free around the city of Cochabamba.
What distinguishes the Cochabanner from other local publications?
First and foremost, the Cochabanner is the only local publication written entirely in English in the city of Cochabamba, and distributed free of cost. Although English is not as widely spoken as in other main cities of Bolivia such as Santa Cruz or La Paz, there are many people who understand the language, having taken it as a course in school or university. The Cochabanner offers an opportunity to continue practice reading and comprehension in the English language.
Because it is written primarily in English, it is also geared towards tourists. Cochabamba is known as a passing through point in Bolivia for the tourist community; therefore, some articles are also geared towards various topics on the history of Cochabamba, its people, culture and heritage. Thanks to archaeologist, Walter Sánchez, of the Museo Arqueológico de la Universidad Mayor de San Simón, the Cochabanner is able to offer interesting articles not found in any other publication in the city. So, it is new and interesting, even for the Cochabambino!
One of the concerns of the Cochabanner was loosing the important link between the students of the Linguistics department. After all, the Cochabanner began in the hands of these devoted students. Striving to maintain a strong relationship with the Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Projects Abroad signed a new agreement in August 2008, which formally and most importantly involves the participation of students and faculty from the Linguistics department, in particular, the subject of English Translation. As a result of this agreement, and in the hopes of reaching a higher population of local readers, the Cochabanner now offers articles written in both English and Spanish.
Another interesting and unique characteristic of the Cochabanner primarily covers activities focusing on philanthropic topics. Each edition will include at least one article on just about any type of charitable work you can imagine. From local orphanages to interviews with distinguished public figures, there is always something new and interesting, amazingly even we were unaware of.
Who is the Cochabanner?
Although the articles and interviews are written and carried out mainly by Projects Abroad volunteers, it is as its name…COCHA-banner; the Cochabamba community itself. We consider the creators, editors, translators, everyone who forms part of the Cochabanner, be it as a volunteer journalist, Linguistic student, interviewed professional or photographer, an important asset to the magazine. If it were not for the participation of everyone involved, such publication could not have reached the success and position it holds today.
So many thanks to all of those who participate or have taken part in the Cochabanner at any moment. We could not have made it this far without you...
Carmen Herbas Salgar
Projects Abroad Bolivia