City receives $115,000 grant for South African Sister City

Alderman Joe Davis held a press conference last week announcing the $115,000 grant that the city is receiving for its Sister City program with South Africa. Also joining Davis are Mayor Tom Barrett, Jim Doumas, Ambassador Magaqa and Attorney John Daniels. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

The City of Milwaukee has been selected as one of the U.S. cities that will take part in Sister Cities International’s Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program (AUPAP), said Alderman Joe Davis, Sr., who chairs the city’s Sister Cities Committee.

The award was discussed during a news conference by Alderman Davis, Mayor Tom Barrett, and several special guests, including Ambassador Pearl Nomvume Magaqa, Consul General of South Africa to the Midwest.

Alderman Davis said the city’s sister city relationship with uMhlathuze, South Africa, was key to helping Milwaukee win the two-year, $115,000 grant. He said the purpose of the AUPAP is to reduce poverty by addressing issues which hamper economic and sustainable development by performing collaborative projects in health, water, and sanitation in urban areas of Africa.

“As someone who has traveled to Africa many times, I can tell you that clean water – which we are very fortunate to have an abundance of here – is not something people in Africa have easy access to,” he said. “The 17 recently announced grants – made possible through Sister Cities International – will help build capacity on the ground in poor areas, with the goal of making clean water more readily available, while also improving overall sanitation and health.”

Milwaukee and the other 16 selected cities will join the seven city pairs that were chosen in the fi rst phase of the program. Training with and travel to the African partner city for the newly chosen group will take place throughout the remainder of 2010.

The grant itself will be administered in cooperation with the Africa Global Sister Cities Foundation located in Accra, Ghana.

Alderman Davis said officials in uMhlathuze were overjoyed to learn of the grant award. “To them (uMhlathuze offi cials), this program is truly a godsend and a way of improving the overall quality of life for tens of thousands of children and families,” Alderman Davis said.

The Common Council approved the city’s application for the AUPAP grant at its April 13 regular meeting.