The City of Urbana is proud to partner with Zomba, Malawi through the Sister Cities International program. This not-for-profit organization oversees the U.S. Sister Cities program, which traces its roots to 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a People-to-People citizen diplomacy initiative.
Originally a part of the National League of Cities, Sister Cities International (SCI) became a separate, non-profit corporation in 1967 due to the tremendous popularity of the U.S. program. The program offers grants, publications, coordinators to assist in developing the sister city relationship, conferences, awards, and other support programs that strengthen and enhance international relationships for hundreds of cities throughout the world.
View this power point for current program information.
For the people of the two communities to enjoy lasting friendship and prosperity in peace, freedom and dignity.
To mutually improve the economic, social and cultural well being of the two communities through the following activities: increasing our understanding of each other’s communities and ways of life, exchanging experience and best practice in local government, and supporting cultural and educational exchanges for mutual growth and understanding.
Chair of the Zomba Sister City Committee
Dennis Roberts, Council Member, Ward 5
Review of the Sister City Relationship between Urbana and Zomba, Malawi
In 2008 the Urbana City Council voted to approve a formal Sister City partnership with Zomba, Malawi, and the Urbana Sister Cities Committee was established. Three months later Sister Cities International announced the establishment of a grant program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The new African Urban Poverty Alleviation Program (AUPAP) invited American cities with Sister City partnerships in Africa to apply for a two year project aimed improving water, health, and sanitation conditions in their African Sister City.
Councilman Dennis Robert, gathering letters of support from the Mayor and several community groups and municipal partners, and the Malindi family and Joyce Banda, Member of Parliament from the Domasi/Zomba area, applied for the City of Urbana
On March 1, 2010, Urbana was chosen by Sister Cities International to be one of the 17 cities selected to participate in the AUPAP. This $115,000 grant offered Urbana a wonderful opportunity to build a stronger Sister City partnership in Africa while making a very tangible contribution to the better health and welfare of our friends in Zomba, Malawi. Read more
Over the next two years (2011-2012) members of the Urbana Sister Cities Committee and the Zomba Local Community Committee worked on two significant projects: the construction of new, badly needed pit toilets in three primary schools in the peri-urban areas of Zomba, and the construction of an Ablution Block, with toilet stalls and showers, laundry tubs and a clothers drying yard for the men and women living in temporary quarters in the Guardian Village adjacent to the Zomba Central Hospital. These "guardians," often from remote areas, must attend to their sick relatives staying in the hospital and provide them with clean clothing, bedding, cook meals, and provide all other assistance on a daily basis.
Coordinating this project as Project Manager for Urbana was Scotty Dossett, retired from the Illinois Water Survey, and for Zomba LCC, Mr. Dickson Vuwa Phiri, Director of Chancellors College Library.
This grant project was successfully completed in December, 2012.
- December 2010: Urbana participates in World AIDS Day. Read more.
- March 2013: Urbana to host Malawi Mixer IV on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway in Urbana.
- July 2013: Urbana officials and Sister Cities Committee members visited Haizhu as part of the first of many tri-lateral exhanges between China, Zomba, and Urbana. Sister Cities Committee member and City Council Member Dennis Roberts created a special book to take on this trip and presented it to the Committee's partners.
- January 2014: Sister Cities International releases their 50th anniversary book, Peace Through People: 50 Years of Global Citizenship. This seminal publication captures the first half-century (1956-2006) of Sister Cities International’s extraordinary history. CLICK HERE to start exploring the book!
- October 2017: Urbana and Zomba: Improving Quality of Life in Urban Southeast Africa