May 2010

SunSentinel Newspaper Article:
Delray Beach gets grant to help its African sister city
May 02, 2010 _ By Maria Herrera, Sun Sentinel

DELRAY BEACH — With the help of a $115,000 grant, Delray Beach will be able to help its sister city of Moshi, Tanzania, build a garbage collection and disposal system.
Delray Beach is among 17 cities that received grant funding from Sister Cities International to help their sister cities create projects that address sanitation, health and water issues in urban areas of Africa.
"What Moshi would like to do is put together a program to expand their solid waste pickup and disposal system," said David Schmidt, the former Delray Beach mayor who now leads the city's Sister Cities program. "There's a significant portion of their residents who don't have garbage service and they either burn it or dump it."
Moshi is in Tanzania, on Africa's east coast. The city of about 150,000 people is located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. The city serves as the base for many expeditions up the mountain, with climbers and visitors choosing to stay in nearby hotels and employing locals as guides, porters and cooks.
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Delray Beach is also sister city to Miyazu, Japan. The program carries out a high school student exchange with teens from that city and the program is better known because of the Morikami Museum.
But Delray Beach and Moshi have been sisters cities for about 10 years and, through the Sister Cities partnership, Delray Beach raised money to put a new roof on Moshi's library, get a collection of books to help the library sustain itself, and received five computers that residents there use to access the Internet, Schmidt said.
"With Tanzania being a third-world country, they really have a lot of need and we have been focusing on what we can do for them," Schmidt said.
The funds for the sanitation program come from a $7.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Sister Cities International. Among the other cities that received funding were Chicago, Baltimore and Jacksonville.
"The first phase of the project was awarded to seven cities and they've already began projects," said Frances Reimers, spokeswoman for Sister Cities International. "The great thing about this program is volunteers will be working hands-on to implement their projects in the African cities. It's a collaborative effort."
Sister Cities International was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Since then the organization has facilitated more than 2,000 sister cities relationships in 136 countries around the world.
Schmidt said he hopes a Moshi official can travel to Delray Beach to meet with Solid Waste Authority staff, who has offered technical assistance.
"We need to see what they have over there," Schmidt said. "We do so much recycling here that may be a way to benefit their economic development."
Maria Herrera can be reached at meherrera@SunSentinel.com or 561-243-6544.