Tamale, Ghana

 Current and Recent Programs

SPEND THE SUMMER IN GHANA: Applications now open for the 2014 Summer Internship Program

"Professor Herlin describes Somed Shahadu, whom she has worked with over the years, as "one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, steadiest of the colleagues she has worked with." He is a local radio personality, news writer, essayist and tireless promoter of peace in a region where peace is often fragile. Among other things, he uses his radio access to speak out for peace and justice.  He also founded a non-governmental organization (Coalition of Patriotic Youth Association, COPA) to work for unity among hostile factions, and to promote the access to education, especially for girls, as he believes (with me) that education is part of the long-term solution to problems of conflict and abuse. In recognition of his work in Tamale, last year an important local chief gave him a title, Zi-Sung Na (Chief of Development). This is quite a singular honor, especially for one so young."

Read more about Somed here

 City Information

Tamale is a bustling regional capital located about 400 miles north of the Atlantic coast in West Africa. With over 350,000 residents Tamale is the fastest-growing city in West Africa. The economy is predominantly agricultural, but Tamale is also a center for manufactured goods and a regional marketing, administrative, educational and medical center. The city architecture is a mixture of traditional and modern styles. English is the official language, but in daily life most people use Dagbani, the language of the Dagomba people. For additional information on Tamale and Ghana, please see the Culture Kit. Those interested in visiting Tamale should refer to the tips for traveling to Tamale. 

 Tamale Committee

The Tamale-Louisville relationship was initiated by a group of interested African Americans. The linkage agreement was signed at the 1979 Sister Cities International Conference, held in Louisville. In 1984, the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky established a Companion Diocese relationship, which aided the growth of the Sister Cities relationship. Several churches in Louisville and Western Kentucky established relationships with parishes in central or northern Ghana. Official church linkages continued to support the Tamale-Louisville exchanges from 1988-1992. In 1992, the committee helped found the African Cultural Center at the Shawnee Branch Library on West Broadway. Since the center opened, the Sister Cities relationship has grown steadily more vigorous.  Please see the document Sister Cities: Louisville, Kentucky and Tamale, Ghana for a more detailed history of the sister city relationship.


The University of Louisville currently has a formal exchange agreement with the University of Development Studies, signed in 1996. In 1999, the committee established a Tamale Scholarship and Aid Fund to raise money for the educational and humanitarian needs of the Tamale people. By 2001, twenty-six students were awarded this scholarship. Each year, the committee seeks out individuals, groups, and corporate sponsors to fund this scholarship program.


 Community Outreach


In 2001, Sister Cities of Louisville, the Rotary Club, and Supplies Overseas collaborated to send a container of medical supplies to Tamale. The Committee also has an ongoing program to ship books donated by the Louisville Free Public Library to the Northern Regional Library in Tamale.


In 2003-2004, the Tamale Committee participated in the Millennium Development Goals City-to-City Challenge pilot program in cooperation with Sister Cities International and the World Bank Institute. Louisville and Tamale decided to work together on a project to ensure environmental sustainability, and they created a five-year action plan to address surrounding issues. The action plan focuses on sanitation practices and associated health problems, as well as raising awareness of the MDG's and Sister Cities. Sister City communities in both communities put together community partnerships to work on planning and implementation. Partnerships in both communities include sister city members, local officials, women’s groups and technical professionals.


 Economic Development

Economic development links between our two cities were launched in 1995 with the signing of an economic development agreement. That same year, the College of Business and Public Administration at U of L and the Louisville-Jefferson County OED, presented business development plans to the Louisville Committee in Tamale relating to cotton garment manufacturing and sheanut butter processing.


The 1999 Economic Development Summit hosted by the Tamale Committee pushed economic links to a new level.   


 International Relations

In 1992, a joint task force of 19 Louisville representatives traveled to Ghana to further Sister Cities ties in Tamale. In 1994 the committee hosted an eleven person delegation from Tamale, which included the Tamale Mayor and Governor. The delegation participated in the Sister Cities International Economic Development Conference sponsored by Louisville and Jefferson County. 


In 1999, thirty-five visitors from Ghana came to Louisville for the Damba Festival and 20th Anniversary Conference program, which included an Economic Development Summit. Fourteen Americans participated in the Economic Summit, and approximately seventy-five Northern Ghanaians living in the United States and Canada came to Louisville for the festival.  


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*The Africa Channel

*Tamale Scholarship and Aid Fund

*Tips for traveling to Tamale


Summer Internship Program

See program description and

application for details.

Deadline: 2/22/13


Tamale Slideshows by Dr. Wyatt MacGaffey:
Village in Dagbon
Tamale People

Chief in Dagbon

An Introduction to Africa and Ghana by Dr. Susan Herlin
(May take several minutes to download depending on internet connection speed)

An Introduction to Tamale and the Northern Region by Dr. Wyatt MacGaffey

See Tamale Contact Information for international networking oppotunities

Planning a visit to Tamale?  See the Tamale Tourism Page