Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program
The U.S. Embassy has announced the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program as part of an ongoing commitment by the U.S. government to support Ghanaian-driven development initiatives at the local level. The program will offer support to small, community-led projects that promise to have an immediate impact on Ghanaian communities.
In order to show that each project is a collaboration between the U.S. Embassy and community partners, the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program needs significant community participation.
Contributions could be made in the form of labor, supplies, tools, land, money, or knowledge, among other things.
The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help program, a grassroots aid initiative that enables American embassies to promptly react to local requests for small community-based development initiatives, began in Togo in 1964 and quickly spread across the continent. As part of the continued commitment by the U.S. government to support Ghanaian-driven development efforts at the local level, the program offers support to small, community-led projects that promise to have an immediate impact on Ghanaian communities. More than 2.2 million dollars in rewards have been given to community development initiatives all around Ghana since the program’s inception.
Funding for this program is scarce, and competition is fierce. Grants are not given out for all applications. There are no fees associated with receiving applications or submitting applications.
What qualifies a project for funding?
- The project must be launched by the community and should enhance social or economic circumstances or provide income for the area. If a project is intended to make money, it must be wholly community-based, not a for-profit business or sole proprietorship, and it must have a strategy for fairly distributing any profits.
- Applicants must be community associations that were established at least a year prior to the application deadline or non-profit organizations, NGOs, or CBOs that are registered with the Ghanaian government.
- The proposed project should consist of a single action that enhances fundamental social or economic circumstances at the local level.
- The project should be sustainable and not require ongoing support following the one-time contribution from the Special Self-Help Program.
- The initiative should be managed at the community level. A significant amount of community involvement is needed for the project. Contributions may be made in the form of labor, supplies, hardware, funds, or real estate. Projects must be feasible for the community to manage and maintain sustainably.
- All projects must be finished one year after the grant’s granting date. The most grant applications that can be submitted are up to $12,000, translated to Ghana cedis at the current exchange rate.
The most effective project proposals will:
- be initiated and administered locally;
- show a significant commitment and contribution from the community;
- provide a clear and detailed budget, including pro forma invoices and estimates of the value of community contributions;
- show a clear goal and impact that will benefit a large number of people within a year.
- Respect for human rights, gender equality, and environmental principles. Contribute wherever possible to income-generating or self-sustaining activities.
Any suitable proposal from registered community groups, non-governmental organizations, and civil society organizations is welcomed by the Embassy.
What are the grants worth?
When converted to cedis at the current exchange rate, the maximum grant and acceptable project submission is $12,000. It is uncommon for projects to receive so much money in funding, though. The average cost of a successful project is between US$2,000 and $10,000. The American Embassy retains the right to offer help at a different level than that which was asked for.
What constitutes a contribution to the community?
In order to show that each project is a collaboration between the U.S. Embassy and community partners, the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program needs significant community participation. Contributions could be made in the form of labor, supplies, tools, land, money, or knowledge, among other things.
How do projects receive approval?
Each year, the American Embassy gets hundreds of requests for assistance, but financing is constrained and subject to U.S. Congressional approval. Even when the eligibility requirements and rules are followed, we regret that not all initiatives can receive funding.
- After the application deadline, Embassy staff schedules site visits to assess fiercely contending offers. The Special Self-Help Program Selection Committee convenes based on those evaluations to evaluate projects in accordance with the listed criteria and choose financing. In 2021, the selection committee financed around 5% of the submissions it received.
What is not acceptable for a grant?
The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program does not provide funding for
- Activities related to the armed forces, the police, or prisons; administrative or operating expenses of grant programs (such as salaries, travel expenses, per diems, rent, electricity bills, internet data bundles, talk time, or school fees); religious or political activities; investments in sole proprietorships, for-profit businesses, or personal businesses;
- Costs associated with events or ceremonies, such as alcohol, entertainment, dancers, poets, musicians, venue rental, food and drink;
- Purchase of vehicles, office supplies, printers, copiers, computers, tablet computers, mobile phones, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, surveillance equipment, luxury goods, or roads through forests that have unabated and detrimental environmental effects.
In what way should an organization apply?
On this page’s upper right side, there are links to PDF and Word versions of the application forms that may be downloaded from the Embassy’s website. By May 7, 2022, please email your completed application to [email protected] or hand deliver a hard copy to the U.S. Embassy at the address listed below.
U.S. Embassy, Ambassador Self-Help Coordinator, P.O. Box 194, Accra, Ghana
For consideration, applications must have the following components:
- A passport-size photograph in the designated spot on the first page of the application.
- Pro-forma invoices for any needed materials or expert services, a signed application form, copies of official papers attesting to your organization’s Ghanaian registration, and (if appropriate) letters of support from the pertinent district office are also required.
- (if appropriate) Extra pages may be required for lengthy responses.
- The following components may also be included in applications:
- A thorough project budget
- A project implementation plan
Don’t send your application with original documents. Materials submitted won’t be given back.
Application Closing Date
Applications must be submitted by May 7, 2022, to the American Embassy in Ghana.
Before the deadline, applications may be submitted at any time. Applications that are postmarked after the deadline or received after it will not be accepted.
Email: [email protected]
U.S. Embassy P.O. Box 194 Accra, Ghana Mailing Address: Ambassador’s Self-Help Coordinator Telephone: 030-274-1000, 030-274-147