CityLinks / About / How to Start a Partnership / Information for USAID Missions

Information for USAID Missions

USAID missions can take advantage of CityLinks™ by accessing a Leader with Associates that provides an opportunity to enhance existing projects or develop new ones to address the urban challenges of climate change, food security, and water/sanitation services. A strong ICMA CityLinks team with expertise in these technical areas and practical experience facilitating city-to-city partnerships stands ready to work with you. 

In September 2011 the Urban Programs Team in USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth Agriculture and Trade (EGAT/UP) awarded ICMA the City-to-City Partnerships Leader with Associates (LWA no. AID-OAA-L-11-00008). 

The City2City LWA (CityLinks) has a three-fold purpose, addressing interrelated technical areas that are of paramount importance in today’s rapidly urbanizing world, with a particular emphasis on the needs of the urban poor, especially women and children: 

  • To improve climate-related governance and systems in targeted urban areas
  • To increase resilience of vulnerable communities in cities of Feed the Future focus countries
  • To improve water supply and sanitation access in Global Health Initiative countries. 


ICMA’s approach to this cluster of challenges is to help cities adopt sound governance practices and proven management tools that can help them adapt to changes that have already occurred and mitigate future risks. In short, through Associate awards, the new program will help cities become more resilient. And resiliency in the face of these challenges will require cities to be proactive, to include the urban poor in decision making, and to adopt innovative approaches as they implement projects. 

Implementation Strategy

To implement the LWA, ICMA has assembled a team of partners and resource organizations with specific expertise and past performance in the identified technical areas, including climate change adaptation and mitigation, food security and nutrition, water infrastructure development and management, and creation of “pro-poor” programs and strategies. 

The centerpiece of LWA implementation is partnerships between professionals from U.S. municipalities and their counterparts in developing and transitioning countries, based on ICMA’s time-tested CityLinks model. Other partnerships may be between cities located in the same region, through which participants have the opportunity to learn about regionally tailored solutions.

All partnerships are tailored to the needs of the host city and encourage technical support, knowledge sharing, and transfer of best practices. They may also include training, grants for local pilot initiatives, and other activities that can be incorporated into a specific Associate program.

Leader Activities

Under the Leader portion of the award, and with USAID’s guidance, the ICMA team will help missions in target countries assess the potential for the city-to-city approach to further their country strategies, select cities in the host country for participation, and match these cities with appropriate U.S. partners. Activities include:

  • Pilot partnerships in selected host countries to test innovative approaches and refine the partnership models
  • Robust training and capacity building in the CityLinks technical areas, which includes a Leadership Academy, an intensive two- to three-day event where experts present best practices and participants exchange ideas, share knowledge, and develop networks
  • A dedicated site in the Knowledge Network, an online community hosted by ICMA, where participants can interact, post documents, form groups, and identify lessons learned
  • Technical assistance and training on request for USAID mission staff.

Associate Awards

Through Associate agreements, USAID missions can

  • Employ a city-to-city partnership to enhance an existing initiative
  • Work with the ICMA team to design a stand-alone program.  

Once an Associate agreement is awarded, the next steps will include

  • Development of work plans
  • Execution of memoranda of understanding between the partner cities
  • Other activities that create a framework for implementation.

Associate awards offer proven, cost-effective advantages for USAID missions, because they utilize the extensive experience of ICMA and the partner organizations and the availability of pro-bono contributions from U.S. partners.

Accessing the City2City LWA (CityLinks)

USAID has designated the following point of contact for missions with an interest in accessing the City2City LWA (CityLinks): 

  • Nancy Leahy, Urban Advisor, EGAT/Infrastructure & Engineering, Washington, DC (;  202-712-1157). 

At ICMA, the CityLink program director is Judit Deilinger (; 202-962-3520).


International city/County Management Association

  • 777 North Capitol Street, NE Suite 500
  • Washington, DC 20002-4201
  • 800-745-8780/202-962-3680
  • Fax: 202-962-3500
© ICMA All Rights Reserved