The initiative to develop a relationship with Gondar originated with a City of Corvallis staff member who has an Ethiopian heritage and was raised in the Gondar region. Because of his continuing interest in Ethiopia, he maintained an understanding of many of the needs of Gondar and Ethiopia in general. He envisioned a partnership between interested community volunteers in Corvallis and a governmental authority in Ethiopia and decided to pursue the idea. Other staff members soon joined this effort.
Recognizing the interest by the United States government in the development of Ethiopia, the group sought grant funding opportunities through a partnership among Sister Cities International, the International City Managers Association (ICMA), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The group decided to apply for this grant funding and, as a required first step, submitted a concept paper which identified Gondar as the partner city and proposed that improved governance processes and the development of infrastructure (access to clean water and improved wastewater disposal) be the primary focus.
In conjunction with this effort the group discussed with the City Manager and the Corvallis Sister Cities Association (CSCA) the possibility of developing a formal Sister City Agreement between Corvallis and Gondar. This discussion led to the approval by the Corvallis City Council in April, 2005 of a Sister City partnership with Gondar.
The organization now is part of the Corvallis Sister Cities Association, which was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1991. The CSCA-Gondar has elected a Council of Advisors accountable to the CSCA Board of Directors. The CSCA-Gondar oversees the activities of the Education Work Group, the Water and Watershed Work Group, and selected committees. With the CSCA Board and the CSCA-Uzhhorod Council of Advisors, the CSCA-Gondar Council helps plan Sister Cities Month in the spring, the annual membership meeting in June, and other joint activities.