Cooperation between Munich and Harare
The city twinning between Munich and Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe in Southern Africa, was sealed in 1996. It was the goal to create a partnership on an equal footing offering a platform for an exchange of experience and encounters.
Even though the partnership is very lively and diverse up until today, the cooperation with Harare has proved to be difficult at times. The political crisis in the country, the violation of human rights and particularly the deposition of the elected local representatives in Harare have led to the case that the official relations between the city halls had to be frozen several times. Especially in those times the civic contacts were of great importance. From the beginning the town twinning has lived from civic activities and encounters, cultural and youth exchange as well as the support of social projects and initiatives. Since 2008, once again, there has existed a constant exchange between the city administrations. After the economic decline of the country in recent years the challenges of the city of Harare are enormous. At the end of 2008, after the collapse of the sewage disposal, a severe cholera raged in Harare – at that time, Munich provided 100,000 Euros emergency aid for water treatment and support of the municipal hospitals. Today, the cooperation focuses primarily on the exchange of expert knowledge in order to fulfil municipal services – such as water supply and waste management – and in order to modernise the city administration. For this purpose and in order to qualify municipal specialists and members of the city council, several cooperation projects have been initiated in recent years.
Cooperation between the city administrations:
Recently, there has practically not been a functioning IT infrastructure in the city administration of Harare. Therefore, in particularly the municipal accounting and the collecting of fees have been very prone to errors and corruption. In order to make the work of the finance department and the other specialised departments more effective and transparent, in 2011, the cooperation project “IT concept for the City of Harare” started. Specialists from Munich advise the City of Harare regarding the organisational and technical development of an IT structure. The project is financed with funds by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
City councillors' exchange
What are my tasks as a city councillor How do I organise my work, my cooperation with the administration and the contacts with the citizens? These and many other questions are discussed within the framework of an exchange of experience taking place regularly between members of the city councils from Harare and Munich. The exchange primarily serves to qualify inexperienced elected officials from Harare, who face great challenges: in particular enormous social and economic problems of the population, a dilapidated city infrastructure and corruption in the city administration and ministries.
Geographic information systems
80 % of all municipal decisions are linked to properties, streets or other geographical data. Modern administrations thus work with geographic information systems (GIS) in order to accurately gather the necessary data. The City of Harare also wants to use geographic information systems in order to improve services. In particular a land cadastral register should be created, but also the use of geographic data for water and waste water as well as road maintenance is planned. Munich advises the City of Harare regarding the strategic planning and implementation and offers training sessions for employees. Two other cities from the region are also part of this cooperation: eThekwini (Durban/South Africa) and Bulawayo (Zimbabwe).
The working group “Harare-Munich-Partnership (HaMuPa)” is open to Munich residents who would like to get involved in the shaping of this city twinning, which is organised as part of the Nord Süd Forum München. HaMuPa informs about life, cultures, problems and the current local situation, organises and supports the exchange and encounters, stays in touch with citizens' groups in Harare and supports them by means of solidarity measures and human rights work.
Pamuzinda, a successful Zimbabwean music/theater/dance group, has had a “branch” in Munich for several years, founded by a migrated Zimbabwean musician. The Munich-based group can be booked for performances and workshops. The fees go to Pamuzinda Harare for their work with street children.
Various Munich-based organisations are committed to social projects in Harare. They collect donations, sell arts and crafts from the partner projects and organise work placements. The association München für Harare e.V., founded at the initiative of Munich city councillors, cooperates with these organisations in order to enable children to attend school, support AIDS orphans, promote vocational training and promote income-generating measures.