21 December 2010

New African Film site

A good friend sent this link to a new, still under construction, but very exciting new website: African Film Library. From the "About Us" page:
The African Film Library is an M-Net initiative showcasing the best of the African film industry – making the movies easily accessible for movie aficionados around the world. 
The African film industry is one of the oldest – with its roots in Ain el Ghezel (The Girl of Carthage), which was produced in Tunisia by Chemama Chikly in 1924. M-Net has spent the last three years negotiating the rights to almost 600 works in English, French, Arabic and Portuguese and digitally remastering them.
The library forms an important archive of the continent’s cultural cinematic heritage, and also, for the first time, makes the African artists’ works easily accessible by a wide viewership around the globe – creating a new audience for existing and emerging filmmakers.
The library consists of award-winning works from more than 80 producers including Senegalese Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Mambety, Yousef Chahine from Egypt and Haile Gerima from Ethiopia.

22 November 2010

Goings on this fall

The whirlwind of activity surrounding the celebration of Mali's 50th anniversary and the visit by our friends from Segou has settled into a period of follow-up tasks and back to our core business for VFOM. Allan and Dana are working on new water projects by connecting Maggie L. Walker Governor's High School for International Studies with the secondary school system in Segou Mali to pair MWGHS with a local high school and work towards a partnership with a rural village to install a well. The Barbara Grey Travel Fund is slowly but steadily growing and will provides scholarship assistance for 3rd grade teachers traveling to Mali to support their efforts to teach The Empire of Mali as part of th Virginia's SOL curriculum for social studies and world history. Cultural exchange projects underway include a Segou based Peep This film camp, Sister City Internationl Youth Art Competition, Three Rivers Photography exhibit, a complementary exhibit at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center and English language immersion programs for Segou.

11 November 2010

New feature: PayPal Donate Button

You may have noticed that our primary website, vafriendsofmali.org, is a little out of whack and out of date. We've decided to call in professional help but hope you find this blog site to be useful in the meantime. One new feature is the Paypal Donate button (over there on the right). We hope you'll use it to help VFOM continue its work Teaching Timbuktu to teachers to strengthen their efforts to teach the Empire of Mali as part of the 3-6th grade social studies SOL.

03 November 2010

Cheick Hamala Diabate plays for visiting delegation

At a dinner sponsored by the African Community Network to welcome the sister city municipal delegation from Segou MALI, we were graced with the music of Cheick Hamala Diabate and his band at the home of VFOM member. Enjoy this song...


12 October 2010

The Delegation has Dispersed!

What a week! Our friends from Segou came on a visit with many purposes and one purpose. The one was simply to further and deepen the new Sister City relationship between Richmond and Segou. The many include a technical visit to make progress on the water/health/sanitation AUPAP grant from Sister Cities International; visit and observe the processes of our city government; attend and enjoy the Richmond Folk Festival; and explore our schools and cultural opportunities for mutual enrichment via collaborations and people-to-people dialogue.
SUCCESS! and Work to Do!
photos and more information soon...

07 October 2010

VFOM Celebrates Mali's 50th Year of Independence

We had a great party! Photos available at http://vafriendsofmali.fotki.com - Careful, there are 301 of them!! 

We offer heartfelt thanks to Ambassador Mamadou et Madame Saranfing TRAORE for making the journey that evening especially to join us.

Segou returns to Richmond

The delegation from Segou arrived Tuesday and after being well situated with their hosts are looking forward to an itinerary of official and social engagements. The members of the delegation are as follows:
  1. SIMAGA Ousmane K., Mayor of Segou
  2. SISSOKO Madani, City councilman, President of Sister City Commission
  3. DIAO Mme. Kadiatou Tall, City councilwoman, Member of Commission for Partnerships, Artisans and Culture
  4. KEITA, Namory, City councilman, Coordinator of Development Projects in Segou
  5. SIMAGA Nouhoun, Hotelier, Business Executive, Bamako 
  6. DIARRA Denis Calvin, Director of Traditional Arts for the Festival sur le Niger 
  7. DAFFE Mlle. Aissata, Board of Directors, Festival sur le Niger
  8. TOURE Kalifa, Member of Virginia Friends of Mali, Bamako
Their itinerary includes
Oct 6 Reception during Richmond Sister City Commission's monthly meeting
Oct 7 Meetings with city departments of health, sanitation, public utilities and transportation
Oct 8 Presentations with students of Maggie Walker High School for International Studies
Oct 8-10 Richmond Folk Festival
Oct 11 School visits: Southside Child Development Center and others

21 April 2010

Richmond-Segou wins Sister Cities International AUPAP Grant


April 19, 2010



Projects to address sanitation, health, and water issues in urban areas

WASHINGTON, DC — Sister Cities International announces today that 17 U.S. cities and their African counterparts were selected to develop projects to address sanitation, health, and water issues in urban areas of Africa. The new selection brings the total to 24 U.S.-African city pairs participating in the Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program (AUPAP), a three-year project funded by a $7.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"This Sister Cities International program represents a major effort to address the fundamental needs of citizens of urban areas in Africa," said Patrick Madden, President and CEO, Sister Cities International. "As we’ve seen during the first year, U.S. communities are eager to roll up their sleeves, identify areas of need, develop cooperative solutions and get to work. I’m very confident these 24 city projects will have an immediate impact on urban poverty and leave an enduring legacy."

The 17 cities were part of a competitive proposal process and selected by an independent panel of experts in the areas of city-to-city assistance, and international development. Each city pairing will have a budget of up to $115,000 to apply to their projects, in addition to travel funds. The recipients also include:

  • Baltimore, Maryland, and Luxor, Egypt

  • Chicago, Illinois, and Casablanca, Morocco

  • Delray Beach, Florida, and Moshi, Tanzania

  • Durham, North Carolina, and Arusha, Tanzania

  • Jacksonville, Florida, and Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  • Long Beach, California, and Mombasa, Kenya

  • Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and Buffalo City, South Africa

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and uMhlathuze, South Africa

  • Oakland, California, and Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

  • Richmond, Virginia, and Segou, Mali

  • Riverside, California, and Obuasi, Ghana

  • Seattle, Washington, and Mombasa, Kenya

  • Sonoma, California, and Aswan, Egypt

  • St. Louis, Missouri, and St. Louis, Senegal

  • Toledo, Ohio, and Tanga, Tanzania

  • Urbana, Illinois, and Zomba, Malawi

  • Wilmington, Delaware, and Osogbo, Nigeria

AUPAP, administered in cooperation with the Africa Global Sister Cities Foundation, is designed to address urban poverty through water, health, and sanitation projects developed collaboratively by U.S. and African sister city programs. This includes involvement and support from the private sector, NGOs, community-based organizations, municipal governments and traditional leaders in Africa to provide sustained technical assistance and community development strategies.

Beyond improving the state of sanitation, health, and water infrastructures in urban areas of Africa, this project is aimed at accomplishing Sister Cities International's mission of promoting peace and prosperity through international people-to-people collaboration.

Visit http://www.sister-cities.org/africa to learn more about the Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program.

MEDIA CONTACT: Frances Reimers, (202) 347-8630x8251 or at freimers@sister-cities.org.

Sister Cities International promotes peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation by focusing exchanges and public programs on sustainable and economic development, youth and education, arts and culture, and humanitarian assistance. More information about Sister Cities International can be found a
t www.sister-cities.org. Facebook: Sister Cities International; Twitter: SisterCityIntl


11 March 2010

VFoM Snapshot of Accomplishments

The twelve months between March 2009 and today have been some of the most active in VFOM's history and include the following benchmarks:
  • May 2009: VFoM received IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit status
  • October 13, 2009: Segou's Mayor Ousmane K. Simaga and Richmond's Mayor Dwight C. Jones sign the agreement for Richmond and Segou to become sister cities.
  • February 5, 2010: A reception is held in Segou MALI during the 6th annual Festival Sur Le Niger during which a second signing ceremony was held to affirm the new sister city relationship.
  • February 7, 2010: Richmond is also honored as Guest City of the festival and during the closing ceremonies, Virginia Friends of Mali receive the festival's special Faro (Spirit of the Niger River) Award.