Sister Cities International Official Visits E.A. Sister Cities Office

844 views Published on 8th November 2011

L-R: W. Kariuki; Mutegi; L.K.Johnson; J.Mutia and Gichaci
The Eastern Africa Sister Cities (EASC) office was graced to host Ms. Lorna K. Johnson; a Consultant to Sister Cities International (SCI) from 10th October 2011 to 15th   October 2011. Ms. Lorna K. Johnson was received in the Inter Region Economic Network office by Mr James Shikwati, President, Eastern Africa Sister Cities (EASC).

Ms. Lorna K. Johnson’s visit aimed at acquainting Mr. Raymond Kiptum, the Program Manager, EASC, on the operations of Sister Cities International and planning for the impending Eastern Africa Sister Cities launch scheduled to take place end of November 2011. The Consultant also sought updates on the EASC Action Plan.

L-R : R. Kiptum; L.K.Johnson; W. Kinyanyi; HWM G.Aladwa
During her stay in Nairobi, she paid courtesy visits to the Municipal Council of Thika and the City Council of Nairobi which have sister cities in USA.  The meetings had been arranged prior to her coming by the EASC office. Other towns in Kenya with sister cities in the US include Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret and Bura.

Thika

During her visit to Thika, which has partnered with Dixon, Illinois (USA) since 2007 as a sister city, Ms. Lorna K. Johnson was received by the Town Clerk, Mr. John Mutie, and members of Thika- Dixon Sister City Committee. The chairperson of the committee Mr. William Kariuki stated that Thika’s relationship with Dixon has been of great benefit to the town in terms of cultural exchange.

HWM George Aladwa presents an emblem to L.K. Johnson
“During our visit to Dixon city in 2010, we were hosted in homes of individuals, ate their food and visited several interesting sites. When representatives from Dixon visited Thika in 2008, they were also hosted in our homes, ate our food, experienced our culture and bought some products from our community,” said Mr. Kariuki.

He however recommended the need to take the relationship from social-cultural exchange to include economic benefit. He suggested that this should be spearheaded by a strong committee which involves business people and local citizens, other than politicians who are not permanently in office. The members of the committee suggested that a sustainable project such as micro-credit facilities be set up by the SCI to improve the wellbeing of the society.

The Town Clerk welcomed hailed the formation of the Eastern Africa Sister Cities office and promised to work with it. He said that Thika Municipal Council is pleased to strengthen its relationship with Dixon city and even partner with other towns to improve the status of its citizens.

HWM George Aladwa presents the City Council of Nairobi flag to L.K. Johnson
Lorna was encouraged by the effort put by the Thika Municipal Council to sustain the sister city relationship with Dixon despite the challenges. “Leaders understand the concept very well and it can be an example how small cities can participate,” she noted. She encouraged the committee to keep the relationship active since projects such as  the African Urban Poverty Alleviation  Project (AUPAP) are directed to active sister cities.

Nairobi

In the City Council of Nairobi, a Sister City to Denver, Colorado (USA), The SCI representative met His Worship the Mayor of Nairobi, Mr. Godfrey Aladwa; the  Deputy Mayor and some city Councilors who included Councillor  Mohammed R. Gore, chairperson of the Denver-Nairobi Sister City.

The Mayor also welcomed the initiative of setting up the Eastern Africa Sister Cities office in Nairobi and pledged his support and presence at the launch.  He charged Cllr. Gore to work with Mr. Kiptum, EASC Program Manager, to ensure that twinning benefits Nairobi.

“I believe Mr. Kiptum and Cllr. Gore will spearhead the formation of a strong committee and I have no doubt that this partnership will boost the progress of Nairobi City,” observed the Mayor.

Cllr. Gore promised to revive Nairobi city’s relationship with Denver which had fallen dormant due to changes in political regimes. He requested the Mayor to allow the Denver Gardens which were demolished due to the ongoing road expansion programme to be relocated to Parklands.

Like the Thika committee, the Nairobi team proposed that SCI looks into prospects of empowering  Nairobi’s youth by setting up micro-credit facilities to be managed by the EASC office. Ms. Lorna K. Johnson promised to forward their proposal to the SCI office in Washington.

The Mayor sent a message of well wishes to the people of Denver and presented an emblem and a banner to be delivered by Ms. Lorna to Denver City Council.

L-R: Clr M. Gore; W. Kinyanyi; L.K Johnson; G. Aladwa; R. Kiptum; Clr E.C. Ombajo
Mr. Raymond Kiptum congratulated the Mayor for his election, efforts to see that Nairobi city changes for the better and wished him well. He also informed the Mayor that Denver was committed to having a strong sister city relationship with Nairobi and invited the Mayor to the official EASC launch. The EASC Program Manager pledged his commitment to ensure that Nairobi-Denver Committee is set up and volunteered to be a member committee.

Lorna was optimistic that the Nairobi-Denver Sister City would be a good example to other cities in the region. “The reactivation of Nairobi-Denver partnership is critical to the success of Eastern African Region,” observed Ms. Lorna K. Johnson.

Sister Cities International aims to encourage twinning between Eastern African cities and cities abroad, intra-African twinning and intra-Eastern Africa.  City twinning promotes peace through mutual respect, understanding, & cooperation between partnering cities. Communities creatively learn, work, and solve problems through cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional, and technical exchanges and projects.

By Raymond Kiptum

Program Manager, EASC.


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