Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program Notice of Funding Opportunity


Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Number:      SSH-SG-FY19-02

Deadline for Applications:               June 30, 2019

CFDA Number:                                19.700

Total Amount Available:                 $1000- $ 24,999 per grant


The U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa / Community Grants Office (CGO) is pleased to announce an open competition to submit applications for community-initiated projects that support community self-reliance at the grassroots level in the areas of livelihood, education, women empowerment, people with disability support, water and sanitation, health, and environment through the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program (SSHP).

The Self-Help Program funding is designed to respond to needs/requests from local communities through small-scale community driven projects that have immediate impact, and further mission policies and objectives of improving the welfare of the local community.   The program aims to benefit target communities through activities that would often not be funded within a larger, structured assistance programs.  Special Self-Help projects should be initiated and administered at local level and include significant community contributions in cash, labor or materials.  The program seeks to encourage communities to be self-reliant and undertake similar activities on their own in the future.  The implementation period for individual self-help projects is one year and funding for projects ranges from $1,000 to $24,999 with average grant size of $ 12,000. The project period for this fund will start on October 1, 2019, and end September 30, 2020.

The general criteria to be used for determining self-help projects include;

  • Self-Help activities should have a significant impact, benefiting the greatest number of people possible.  Projects that directly benefit a limited number of people are discouraged.
  • Activities must help improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community or village level;
  • Self-Help projects must also be viable and sustainable in terms of finance, personnel support (i.e. teachers for schoolrooms), and necessary expertise and services.  Communities that incur costs and other obligations they cannot meet, or embark on projects that are too ambitious to manage efficiently, may damage their reputation and create negative feelings toward the U.S. Government support.
  • Self-Help activities must also fall within the ability of the local community to implement.  Activities that are too complex should be avoided.

Unacceptable Activities include;

  • Remodeling or renovating an existing facility that is in disrepair as a result of neglect or lack of money (purchasing paint to repaint a school).
  • Activities with unmitigated and negative environmental consequences, such as dams, roads through relatively pristine forest lands; activities that contribute to commercial deforestation or conversion of land-use from forest to livestock; actions that are likely to jeopardize, threaten, or endanger species and/or their habitat, and actions that are likely to degrade protected areas significantly, such as introduction of exotic plants or animals.
  • Sports equipment or uniforms for a national sports team.
  • Musical instruments or uniforms for a national orchestra or dance company.
  • Ongoing needs for education/training.
  • Office supplies such as pencils, paper, forms and folders.
  • Human Rights-Related Activities: Seminars, publications of journals and constitutions.
  • Revolving Loan Funds/Seed Money: Revolving loan funds and grants for seed money for new enterprises do not fall under acceptable projects and therefore must be avoided.

Who can apply?

SSH funds are meant for activities that are community driven and serve the community at large where they are being funded.

  • Strong preference is given to local community based organizations, traditional community groups or associations that are established and led by communities themselves.
  • Other grassroots level organizations that are not-for-profit may also apply, if they have community generated projects that will be jointly implemented and managed with the communities and can provide evidence of significant community contributions in either cash, labor or materials.

Number of awards anticipated:      3-5 awards

Award amounts:                               Awards may range from $1,000 to a maximum of $24,999

Type of Funding:                              Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program

Anticipated program start date:     October 1, 2019

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant-this notice is subject to availability of funding.

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.


  1. Application forms required are available here.

Please follow all instructions in this announcement and in the application forms below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible. All the questions in the application form should be addressed to be eligible.

  1. Content of Application and submission date
  • The proposal should be aligned with the purpose and requirements for Self-Help Program as indicated in this funding opportunity announcement.
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered

The following documents are required need to be submitted along with completed application form:

  1. Completed application form
  2. SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
  3. SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  4. SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs)

Funding Restrictions

Ambassador Special Self-Help Program fund cannot be used for salaries, trainings, project vehicles or other overhead costs.   Please note that Federal award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.

Submission of SSH application

Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply. Applications are due no later than June 30, 2019.

All application materials must be submitted by one of the following methods:

Email to:

Mailing address:

Ambassador’s Community Grants Office

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa

P.O. Box 1014,

Addis Ababa

Fax:     0111-24-24-31


  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.  Maximum point in total is 100.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 30 points:  The program idea is well developed, with clear description of the problem, target community, type of intervention and implementation strategy on how program activities will be carried out. The proposed project can be completed within one year project period.

Significant Community Contribution – 30 Points:  The proposed project is initiated through direct community involvement and reflects practical needs of the target community which should be confirmed by background supporting documents such as letters of support from local government officials or community leaders and if possible documented minutes and signatures of those in attendance.   A significant level of community participation in implementation of the project with realistic estimates for costs of labor or material contributions provided.

Organizational Capacity and experience – 20 points: The organization/group has the know-how of proposed intervention and has completed some preparation steps for effective implementation of the proposed project.  The project implementation team is organized with required set of skills required.  Proposal demonstrates good stewardship and accountability for managing project financial and materials resources, including setting up of a proper bank account.

Budget – 10 points: The budget provides detail cost breakdown.  Costs are reasonable in relation to proposed activities and anticipated results.  The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

Sustainability – 10 points: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after end of the project and effectively addresse identified needs and have lasting impact on the lives of target beneficiaries.  Mechanisms to ensure community ownership during implementation and after completion of the project are in place.

  1. Review and Selection Process

Initial eligibility screening and in-depth technical review of the application will be made by the Community Grants Office Team.  Final review and decisions on finalists will be made by an independent review panel from different Embassy offices.


  1. Federal Award Notices

If selected, applicants will be required to obtain a Unique Entity Identifier on D & B Website and may also be required to register on the System for Award Management (

The grant award will be written, signed, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

The grant disbursements will be provided through electronic transfer to grantee’s bank accounts. Disbursements will be made at the beginning and mid-project subject to submission of biannual reporting requirements.

  1. Reporting Requirements

Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and narrative program reports in standard formats that will be provided.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.


If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact the Addis Community Grants Office at:

Tel. (Office): 0111-30-65-33 / 0111-30-60-94

Fax: 0111-24-24-31