Community Development

Peer-learning between municipal employees and elected officials through sister city activities has helped cities implement innovative policies and management techniques in sanitation, water, health, transportation, tourism, economic development, and education. Sister city programs also often raise funds or collect supplies for natural disasters or other emergencies in their sister cities. Other humanitarian and community development projects include renovation of clinics, creation of wells, and trainings for medical personnel. Numerous programs also support schools abroad through donation of materials, construction, and partnerships with U.S. schools.

Click here for news on community development activities from the network.

Atlanta-Montego Bay Health Mission volunteersVolunteers from Atlanta, Georgia have been going to their sister city Montego Bay, Jamaica each year for the past two decades to offer medical treatment to those in need. The volunteer doctors, nurses, and administrative staff have served over 47,000 patients and have provided $80 million in medical services and supplies over the past 20 years. Healthcare in Montego Bay is expensive, and this health mission provides locals with access to key medical services each year, from standard check-ups to treatment life-threatening illnesses. In 2014 the 21st health mission was completed with over 50 volunteers and medical personnel traveling from Atlanta. Click here to learn more!
Houston-Karachi Sister Cities Association hosts "Event for Humanity" fundraiserAn example of excellence in humanitarian fundraising comes from Houston, Texas. After a severe drought left over 200,000 families displaced and malnourished in Karachi, Pakistan, the Houston Karachi Sister Cities Association hosted a fundraising event in their community. The event helped raise $100,000 for those affected in Karachi and included partnerships with Pakistani relief agencies to guarantee that the funds would be allocated appropriately. By engaging Houston’s municipal and business leaders in their event, the community’s interest in Pakistani culture and humanitarian response in the region continues to expand. Click here to learn more!
Columbus, Ohio and Hefei, China have been sister cities for over 25 years and both municipal governments have collaborated to implement programs. Greater Columbus Sister Cities International (GCSCI) and Hefei were jointly awarded an “EcoPartnership” from the U.S. State Department and the Chinese national government at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue Talks in Beijing, China. Their areas of focus include water quality, electric vehicles, public infrastructure, energy efficiency, and “green” building. The value of the GCSCI-Hefei relationship has been recognized through increased funding from the private sector, the City of Columbus, and Franklin County.

Sister Cities International also implemented two programs in recent years that focused on community development and municipal exchanges:

  • Sino-African Initiative: Sister Cities International’s Sino-African Initiative (SAI), a two-year program funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was designed to address the manner in which Chinese, African, and U.S. cities can collaborate on economic development and urban poverty issues in Africa. By working with Chinese, African, and U.S. public diplomacy networks, local municipal governments, and businesses, this initiative aimed to create strategies that ensured development and poverty alleviation projects addressed community needs, and promoted transparent business practices and government accountability. Click here to learn more about the award-winning program.
  • Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program: Sister Cities International’s Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program (AUPAP) was designed to address urban poverty through water, health, and sanitation projects developed collaboratively by U.S. and African sister city programs. This included participation and support from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, communitybased organizations, municipal governments and traditional leaders in Africa to provide sustained technical assistance and community development strategies. Click here to learn more.

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As the world becomes smaller, and connections online become more frequent than face-to-face interactions, multicultural understanding at the community level is more important than ever. Sister Cities International enables citizen diplomats in communities across the world to develop relationships with communities in other countries that are based on cultural understanding and mutual cooperation.Donate