US Embassy Special Self-Help Program Grants in Liberia

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program supports small, community-driven development projects that will have an immediate impact. The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Fund is a grassroots assistance program that began in Togo in 1964 as an experimental and modest self-help program, but has grown significantly since.   The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund allows the Ambassador to respond directly to requests from communities for small-scale, community-based development projects that promise to have immediate impact.

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund (SSH) assists community groups in Liberia to develop lasting, self-sustaining projects that benefit entire communities.  Since 2004, SSH grants have contributed to agricultural modernization, economic development, improving sanitation, empowering vulnerable populations (women, youth, and persons with disabilities), improving learning conditions, and expanding access to clean water, health services, and education.  Each year, the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund supports approximately twelve to fifteen projects.

The goal of this program is to encourage community involvement and the use of local resources and expertise to improve the basic economic and social conditions at the local community level.

AWARD INFORMATION

Funding Instrument: Fixed Amount Award

Individual award:   $1,000

 

Concept:

The concept of self-help is one in which the people achieve a development goal through the use of their own available resources, with material assistance as necessary, from the Self-Help Fund. These activities should be community based with the communities taking the lead and managing their own activities

Activities:

The program will continue to support construction projects, short term skills development initiatives, provision of school furniture and textbooks, as well as supporting income generation activities like producing vegetables, cassava, pineapple, peanuts, and plantains, animal husbandry and fish ponds.  Other income generation activities include provision of small scale agricultural machines, farming tools and seeds. The program also supports health and sanitation activities including construction of hand pumps and clinics and well as maintaining clean environment.

Application Evaluation Criteria:

1. Sustainability:

The organization demonstrates a clear plan for sustainable activity or impact of the activity after the grant period of performance

2. Beneficiary contribution:

Beneficiary contribution is very important to the program as the name “Self Help” suggests and beneficiaries are expected to contribute significantly to their project. The contribution may include labor, local materials (sand, wood, rocks and bricks) land, cash, etc.

3. Impact:

The project benefits the greatest number of people possible or has significant community effect.

4. Achievable within SSH Program cycle:

The application demonstrates the activity can be implemented within twelve months.

5. Capacity grantee:

The grantee has expertise and demonstrates the ability to perform the proposed activities.

Selection Process

Each year applications submitted from across the country are reviewed by a committee.  The committee selects projects based on set criteria including the level of community support and involvement, as well as the potential for sustainability. The SSH coordinator conducts site visits and meets with organizations to learn more about the proposed projects. The projects are reviewed by the committee for final selection and recommendation to the Ambassador. Agreements are prepared for each selected project and a signing ceremony is organized. Once the project is completed, a dedication ceremony is held to mark the completion of each project.

Application deadline for this cycle: April 30, 2020

GENERAL GUIDELINES: 

The following guidelines have been established to assist in preparing a project proposal.

The Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund is designed to provide a flexible” one-shot” type of assistance (i.e. no recurring obligations of U.S. funds). Therefore, once assistance has been provided to a project through the Self-Help Fund, no additional funds can be provided to the same project. The potential for sustainability is a high priority in identifying projects to be funded.
Self-Help assistance is provided only for projects that have the genuine support of the benefiting communities. The people must contribute a significant portion of the project’s total cost through labor, material, land, cash, etc.
United States Government contributions through the Self-Help Fund are made only to development projects. Typical self-help projects are short term skills development initiatives, provision of school furniture, textbooks, as well as supporting income generation activities like vegetable, cassava, plantain farming, and animal husbandry and fish ponds.  Other income generation activities include provision of small scale agricultures machines, farming tools and seeds. These are economic development projects that increase the community’s financial resources for undertaking other self-help projects on their own. Small scale construction projects (not more than 10,000 sq. ft.) like latrines, clinics, schools, hand pumps etc., remain a major aspect and the most visible part of Self Help Fund. Recently funded projects include: construction of clinics, schools, hand pumps, latrines and rice mills and a business cooperative for women (processing cassava into farina/gari).
Examples of types of projects that can NOT be funded through the Self-Help Fund are: scholarships, workshops or seminars (except training as part of implementation of specific projects) athletic or recreational projects. Self-Help Funds cannot be used to fund political, religious, military activities or provide support to government agencies. Unskilled labor, administrative or personnel costs, consumable items, vehicles, computers, copiers and items which are non-essential to actual construction like floor tiles, trim, etc. are not eligible for funding.
All projects must be completed in one year.
Application forms are available at the main gate of the U.S. Embassy compound on Benson Street or can be downloaded here  (PDF 631 KB).
For additional information, contact the Self Help Coordinator via email [email protected]

Godswill Uwem

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