The U.S. Embassy in Liberia is now accepting applications for the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Fund 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.
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.
- Funding Instrument: Grant
- Floor of Individual award: $1,000
- Ceiling of Individual award: $10,000
- The average range for grant awards is from $5000.
- 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 fishponds.
- 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.
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 fishponds. 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.
For more information, visit https://lr.usembassy.gov/education-culture/funding-opportunities/