Francistown and Genk’s bromance grows

Kabelo Dipholo
ON THE DOTTED LINE: Mayors, Vries and Radisigo, signing MoU

*City of Genk impressed with GBV activism in Botswana

The City of Francistown and City of Genk in Belgium have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the relationship between both cities in an effort to promote sustainability, mutual understanding and empowered communities.

At an event held at Cresta Thapama Hotel, the two cities signed up to cooperate on six key domains of Waste Management, Gender and Equal Opportunities, Youth, Entrepreneurship (Informal Sector ), Education and Climate Change.

Genk and Francistown’s twinning relationship is 16 years and according to Francistown City Council Town Clerk Lopang Pule, the two cities have a lot in common.

“They are cities whose sole existence was based on mining and today both have abandoned mine shafts,” Pule said.

The Town Clerk further said there’s a lot they can learn from Genk like rehabilitating the abandoned shafts in both cities.

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“This partnership is mostly hinged on learning exchange. Even though they are from a first world European country, the many similarities between us makes Genk an ideal twinning partner,” he said.

Pule said one of the areas they looked at was ward development, and how they can come up with initiatives that can sustain them.

“The city of Genk has a US$2500 grant awarded to a ward with the best initiative,” he said.

“In future, the cooperation would go beyond exchange of skills to include other topics such as food and skills training for teachers within the department of special education,” added Pule.

Speaking at the MoU signing,FCC Mayor Godisang Radisigo said his city stands to benefit a lot from the 16 -year -old relationship with Genk.

The FCC Mayor thanked the Genk delegation for seeing the need to continue and further strengthen the relationship with Francistown.

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“It is heart warming to see the commitment of Genk towards this relationship and the amount of assistance they’ve given our people in areas of education and health,” said Radisigo.

The Mayor further said through the twinning relationship they were able to get assistance for the visually impaired students at Phatogo Primary School who have a collaboration with Europa School in the city of Genk.

“We’ve also looked in to ways we can manage waste in the city, and this is a critical area where we intend to learn as much as possible from Genk. We’re looking at ways of recycling waste and making money out of it,” said Rasisigo.

Genk Mayor, Wim Vries said opportunities are plentiful, which the two cities need to fully explore. He said they can learn a lot from Botswana and Francistown on issues of Gender Based Violence.

“Here you guys talk openly about Gender Based Violence, it is something we can leart from you because in Genk it’s a taboo,” he said.

Vries said they’re also looking at cultural exchanges and on how the two cities can use their traditions to further enhance their relationship

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