Nairobi, Kenya

The City of Nairobi Flag

History of Sister City relationship

Denver, Colorado and Nairobi, Kenya became sister cities in 1975, making Nairobi Denver’s third sister city.  Nairobi, like Denver, is situated on a high plateau.  Two of the highest peaks in Africa are a relatively short distance away. The geographic similarities, in addition to the many voices expressing the desire for an African sister city, made Nairobi, Kenya a perfect fit.

Facts At-A-Glance

Pronunciation: nahy-roh-bee
Region: West central Kenya. Capital and largest city, lies on the Nairobi River.
Population of Nairobi: 3,910,000 (2015)
Population of Kenya: 46,790,758 (2016)
Spoken Languages: Swahili (official)

Nairobi: Of Interest

  • The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to “the place of cool waters”.  It is also popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun” and the “Jewel of Africa”.
  • With over three million residents, it is a growing cosmopolitan city that serves as a center of commerce for all of East Africa.
  • As the city began, it grew rapidly and became the capital of British East Africa. When Kenya became independent, Nairobi became the capital of the country.
  • Politically and financially, Nairobi has grown to be a leader on the continent of Africa.  With thousands of local and international businesses, the city is known as a central hub for business and also culture.
  • Recently, the city has become a popular tourist destination, notably for big game hunting.
  • The non-profit School Communities Offering Projects that Empower (SCOPE) and the Arvada Sunrise Rotary Club secured 120,000 books to set up more than 60 libraries at schools and orphanages within Kenya.

Nairobi – Denver Relationship

  • After the Sister City affiliation between the two cities was formalized on March 2, 1975, a two week “Salute to Nairobi” that celebrated the occasion occurred.  This event included dances, folk-art, handicrafts, and various Kenyan products displayed throughout downtown Denver.
  • In the winter of 1985, a group of high school students representing the Denver Metro area participated in a homestay program in Nairobi. The students experienced Kenyan culture, as well as seeing the riches Kenya has to offer.  Notable places the students visited were the Amboseli Game Park, the equator, Tree Tops Lodge, and most importantly, the Materi Girls School.
  • One of the most recognized beneficiaries of the Denver Sister City experience is our very own Mayor Michael Hancock who was one of the students who visited Nairobi in 1985.
  • Throughout the years, the Denver-Nairobi committee has been the recipient of many prestigious awards. In 1996, the committee received the Sister Cities International award for Best Overall Project for its Nairobi Dance Troupe Exchange.
  • In June 1999, sixteen Denver-Nairobi committee members traveled to Nairobi to attend the U.S.-Africa Sister Cities Conference. During that trip, medical supplies were delivered to Pumwani Maternity Hospital and books, school supplies, and sporting equipment were delivered to a middle school in Bura Village..
  • Continuing to strengthen this long-term relationship, former Nairobi Mayor Geoffrey Majiwa visited Denver in June 2008. During his stay, he met with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, toured Denver organizations and city utilities, discussed future collaborations with Denver Sister Cities International, and met with prominent individuals and groups interested in Kenya.
  • In July of 2012, Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks of District 8 led a successful cultural delegation to Nairobi that included prominent Denver business leaders and several local high school students.

Nairobi Committee Contact Information

Chair: Joesph Odhiambo
Phone: (303) 832-1336
Email: nairobi@denversistercities.org

Representative Nairobi Committee Activities

  • Monthly committee gathering with like-minded people interested in Kenya.
  • The Nairobi committee keeps about $2,000 circulating through Kiva micro loans to support entrepreneurs in Kenya. The loans have been used in a variety of sectors including retail, food, services, clothing, transportation, manufacturing, housing, and construction.
  • The committee sponsored a 2010 trip to Nairobi for the Director of Operations of the City of Denver’s Wastewater Management Division to work with representatives of Nairobi Water to address solutions of solid waste run-off in Kibera.
  • The Denver-Nairobi committee also hosts a variety of film presentations, dinners, picnics, and book club readings, as well as participating in the City in a Suitcase program to present information about Kenya to schoolchildren.
  • The local Kenyan community in Denver gathered together with other Denver community members to celebrate Kenya’s 50th year of independence.
  • The Denver-Nairobi committee was one of the three recipients of the prestigious Sino-African Initiative (SAI) Grants. This grant was given to fund a trilateral partnership with Denver’s sister city in Kunming, China. The intent of it was to combine knowledge and resources to collaborate on solutions to education, water, sanitation, economic development, and sustainability issues within Africa.
  • In 2000, the Denver-Nairobi committee hosted the U.S.-Africa Sister Cities Conference.