Fort Worth’s 7th Sister City, Mbabane, Swaziland, was chosen through an innovative process. Fort Worth Sister Cities first assembled a committee which looked at the southern portions of the African continent as a whole, and then narrowed the search to a few key cities. After several delegation visits and communication with these cities, the search committee recommended Mbabane and the board voted unanimously to forward that recommendation to the City of Fort Worth. Mbabane became Fort Worth’s official sister city in 2004.
The annual exchange activities between the cities include both inbound and outbound youth exchanges, adult service projects, and many humanitarian focused projects including the construction of a health and social center in Mbabane funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and a Fort Worth Rotary Club Children’s Reading Corner in the Mbabane Central Library.
Health Center Project – Video Premiered
Fort Worth Sister Cities was awarded a three-year, $115,000 grant by Sister Cities International funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to construct the community health center in Mbabane, Swaziland as part of the Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program. Fort Worth was one of 28 cities to receive funding for the center after a competitive process of all U.S. sister cities organizations with African partners.
For a full description of the complete Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program projects (AUPAP), click here. The Fort Worth/Mbabane project is described on pages 16-17. You can read more about this in our news story – Health & Social Center Opened by Group in Swaziland.
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“Traveling abroad is exciting, but it can be overwhelming too. When traveling with a Sister Cities group, you will be included in several group briefings before your departure including protocol information specific to your trip. Additionally, we have created a Travel Checklist as a resource for you to help you get the most out of your experience.”
Mbabane is the capital of Swaziland and has an estimated population of 95,000 making it the largest city of Swaziland. It derives its name from a Chief, Mbabane Kunene, who lived in the area when British settlers arrived. It is also a commercial hub for the surrounding region, while iron and tin were mined nearby. Mbabane, and Swaziland itself, thrive on their sugar export and tourism.
Swaziland prides itself on the warmth and friendliness that it extends to all its visitors. The rural charm and ethnic culture of this small independent kingdom, is located between South Africa and Mozambique draws many travellers, especially those who come to enjoy the traditional Swazi experience and traditional events . Swaziland is also famous for its arts and crafts, and it’s impossible to leave without visiting – and most likely buying – some of the uniquely African crafts like the well-known Swazi candles and the beautiful Ngwenya glass. Swaziland is one of the few remaining monarchies left in the world, ruled by King Mswati III, the Kingdom of Swaziland is renowned for its ceremonial culture.