Community Capacity Development through Education: Bolivia

When applying please note your preference for the Community Capacity Development through Education program.

Date Activity
January – April, 2014 Orientation and pre-departure learning sessions (multiple sessions – approximately 35 hours in total)
June – August, 2014 12 week international placement including a facilitated workshop approximately mid-way through
September – October, 2014 ISL post-placement reflection sessions and public engagement event

Please notes these dates may be adjusted but will be confirmed before you receive an offer of a placement.

Program overview

Jaraña, one of our community partners in Bolivia, is a non-governmental organization that was founded in 1992 with the goal of contributing to socio-economic development in rural populations of Bolivia through projects focused on agriculture, education, sanitation, and the promotion of women’s rights. During this placement you will work at Jaraña’s Centre in Marquina, an outlying district of Cochabamba. You will assist in the development of education programs for children, youth, and adults from impoverished families with the goal of increasing the capacity of community members in key areas. Projects may also include building capacity for staff at the Centre in Marquina. Jaraña has eight paid staff and is directed by an assembly of Bolivian professionals of indigenous backgrounds who grew up in rural areas of the Bolivian highlands. Jaraña has two offices from which they run distinct programs. Their Marquina (Cochabamba) centre is a base for educational programming for indigenous people from the surrounding community. Jaraña´s water, sanitation, and agriculture work is focused in small communities in the arid highland region of Oruro, the location of their second office. In this part of the country, the lack of water is a major limiting factor for agriculture production and safe drinking water is often unavailable.

Jaraña’s work in Oruro is much more developed than in Marquina. They have strong relationships with nearby communities and the staff are primarily based out of the Oruro office; development of the centre in Marquina is a newer priority for the organization. Jarana would like to use the presence of UBC students to catalyze the development of the centre; this is seen as a longer-term project, in which stronger relationships with community members in Marquina will be established with sustainable educational programs that help to build the capacity of local community members. Projects will likely include:

  • Implementing computer classes in the compound for staff, women/parents and community members and youth that access the libraries for their homework. Currently Jaraña has 15 – 20 computers on-site. There’s a high level of interest from staff and community members to gain basic computer and internet literacy skills. This program could include identifying and training local teachers, developing or refining training/learning modules for different abilities, piloting fee for service modules, and actually delivering some classes. Modules might cover typing, word/excel and internet research and use. Various modules were piloted by UBC students in Summer 2013; it will be important to build on the lessons learned from that experience. A key part to this program will be to build toward sustainability of the classes with Jaraña.
  • Designing and implementing basic English classes for staff and students to supplement some of the English lessons at schools. The level of English learning is basic, as more emphasis is on Spanish, Aymara then English.
  • There may be the opportunity to design and implement ‘winter break camps’ for students, depending on the existing skills and experiences of UBC students. This possibility will be explored by Jaraña in conversation with local schools.

Intermediate or advanced Spanish is a strong asset. A strong willingness to learn Spanish (through conversation and self-directed study) is required.

Leading up to your placement (Pre-departure)

Pre-departure learning sessions take place in the term before you leave for your placement; it prepares you for an intensive International Service Learning experience.  During pre-departure you will:

  1. Create a learning & development plan and review with your ISL Advisor
  2. Explore learning topics at regular meetings with your placement team


You will be staying in modest hostel-style accommodations. These accommodations are located at Jaraña´s’s main headquarters in Marquina. Meals will be provided; some cooking may be required.

After you’ve returned (Post-placement)

After you’ve returned, you’ll re-group, reflect, and work at unpacking the intensive experience you’ve had.  The schedule of post-placement activities includes:

  1. A full day to debrief with advisors and peers (September 2014)
  2. Presenting at an International Development Symposium (October 2014)

Program cost

We expect the program fee to be approximately $3,225*. Fees include:

  • Room and board
  • Pre-departure learning sessions
  • Transportation to and from your placement**
  • Orientation in Bolivia
  • Debrief and workshop part way through your placement
  • Community partner management fee
  • ISL project management fee

Airfare, visas and vaccinations are not included in the program fee. A return ticket to Bolivia costs approximately $1,000 – $1,500. You will be required to bring your own laptop.

*Fees may be adjusted prior to offer.

**You will also need to arrange your own transportation from the project site back to the airport at the end of the placement. 


If accepted into the ISL program, you will be automatically assessed for the $1,500 International Service Learning Award.