The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia maintains two grant programs. The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program supports small, community-driven development projects that will have an immediate impact. Public Diplomacy Grants support programs or initiatives that aim to increase understanding and appreciation of areas of mutual interest.
The Ambassador’s Self Help Program
We wish to inform the public that the Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program is now accepting applications for the 2019 cycle
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: Fixed Amount Award Floor of Individual award: $1,000 Ceiling of Individual award: $10,000
The average range for grant awards is from $5000.
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.
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
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:
SUSTAINABILITY: The organization demonstrates a clear plan for sustainable activity or impact of the activity after the grant period of performance
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.
IMPACT: The project benefits the greatest number of people possible or has significant community effect.
ACHIEVABLE WITHIN SSH PROGRAM CYCLE: The application demonstrates the activity can be implemented within twelve months.
CAPACITY OF GRANTEE: The grantee has expertise and demonstrates the ability to perform the proposed activities.
Project Review and 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, 2019
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 240 KB).
For additional information, contact the Self Help Coordinator at 231-777-958-072/0776-777-272 or via email Boveldf@state.gov
Public Diplomacy Grants
The Public Affairs Section (PAS) awards a limited number of grants, subject to the availability of funds, to non-profit organizations, non-profit academic institutions, and individuals to improve mutual respect and understanding while promoting U.S. priorities for its work in Liberia. PAS is currently giving priority to initiatives focused on encouraging entrepreneurship and/or promoting improved education among children, youth and young adults. Other areas in which the Embassy supports grant-administered programs include health and civil society development.
Activities that are not typically funded include:
- projects that do not have a business plan for sustaining the activity or monitoring results;
- social welfare projects;
- projects that contain the appearance of partisanship/support to individual or single party electoral campaigns;
- projects that are mainly designed to pay organizational salaries or to cover only logistical costs (e.g., room/chair rental, coffee breaks, etc.); and
- construction projects.
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Floor of Individual Award Amounts: $500
Ceiling of Individual Award Amounts: $15,000
The U.S. Embassy Liberia Public Affairs Section reserves the right to award less or more than requested in the absence of worthy applications or under any circumstances deemed to be in the best interest of the U.S. government.
Project and Budget Periods: Local grant projects must be completed in one year or less. The Public Affairs Section will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards, beyond the initial budget period, on a noncompetitive basis, subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the project, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U. S.Government.
Eligibility Information: Applications are encouraged from all sectors: committed and organized civil-society organizations, local representatives of civil society, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and individuals. Applicants are encouraged to provide cost-sharing from additional sources in support of proposed projects; applications should explain clearly other likely sources of funding or in-kind participation.
Application Submission and Deadline
Proposals should be submitted via email to the U.S. Embassy in Liberia Public Affairs Section at the following email address: MonroviaPD@state.gov. Proposals will only be accepted in electronic format.
While there is no set format for a proposal, each submission should contain a short executive summary that clearly states the number of activities, the number of directly impacted individuals, and the place of proposed activities, as well as the proposed timeline of events and the exact amount of funding requested.
The submission should also include a brief summary of the organization or individual submitting the proposal, a full project description, including a detailed narrative that outlines the plan of action describing the scope of the proposed work and how it will be accomplished. The narrative should be accompanied by a detailed budget that includes all program costs and clearly indicates the proposing organization’s cost-share and/or in-kind participation.
A proposal is reviewed quarterly along with all other submissions received during that time period. Currently, these panel reviews occur in January, April, July and October.
Review and Selection Process
Each application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated by a committee and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project and to determine the likelihood of its success. The criteria are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application. Applications will be reviewed on the basis of their completeness, coherence, clarity, and attention to detail.
Application Evaluation Criteria:
Goals and Objectives – The project is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results and the organization. The project addresses one or more of the U.S. Embassy Liberia Public Affairs Section priorities outlined previously.
Strengths and Innovation – Applicant clearly describes how its proposal will address the requested program within the proposed time frame and articulates an innovative strategy or plan. The project builds civil society leadership and capacity, and demonstrates sustainable capacity building.
Organizational Capacity – The organization has expertise in one or more of the U.S. Embassy Liberia Public Affairs Section priorities and demonstrates the ability to perform the proposed activities.
Sustainability – The organization demonstrates a clear plan for sustainable activity or impact of the activity after the grant period of performance.
Budget and Budget Justification – The budget and narrative justification are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results and the plan for services is realistic.
Award Notices: The grant award shall be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer (GO). The Grants Officer (GO) is the U.S. government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award, and administer grants. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient. Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified in writing.
Anticipated Time to Award: Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis, but reviewed quarterly. Applicants should expect to be notified of a decision within a month of each quarter closing.
Reporting Requirements: All awards issued under this announcement will require both program and financial reports on a frequency specified in the award agreement. The disbursement of funds may be tied to submission of these reports in a timely manner. All other details related to award administration will be specified in the award agreement.
Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation
The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) Program supports projects to preserve cultural heritage in the following three areas: sites, objects and collections and forms of traditional expression. Grant amounts range from $10,000-$200,000 and can have a duration of one to five years.
AFCP’s funding priorities in preserving cultural sites, objects and traditional expression are:
- Directly support U.S. treaty or bilateral agreement obligations, such as cultural property protection agreements;
- Support the preservation of inscribed UNESCO World Heritage sites;
- Support disaster risk reduction for cultural heritage and post-disaster cultural heritage recovery in seismically active and other disaster-prone areas; and
- Engage women, youth, or under-served communities.
Eligibility: Project applicants must be reputable and accountable non-commercial entities, such as non-governmental organizations, museums, ministries of culture, or similar institutions and organizations that are able to demonstrate that they have the requisite experience and capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage.
Application process: If you and/or your organization are interested in submitting a proposal please submit the information below to MonroviaPD@state.gov by January 15, 2017. Your proposal will be reviewed by an Embassy committee, which will rank order proposals for submission to a global competition among all eligible U.S. Embassies in the world. The Embassy will work with selected applicants to strengthen their proposals before the submission to the AFCP offices in Washington, D.C.
Proposals should include the following information:
- Project Basics, including title, project dates, and AFCP focus area;
- Project Applicant information, including contact information, DUNS Number, and SAM registration status;
- Project Location;
- Proof of Official Permission to undertake the project;
- Project Purpose that summarizes the project objectives and desired results;
- Project Activities Description that presents the project tasks in chronological order;
- Project Schedule that lists the major project phases and milestones with target dates;
- Project Participant Information, specifically number of non-US and US participants, as well as resumes of the proposed project director and other primary project participants;
- Statement of Importance highlighting the historic, architectural, artistic, or cultural values of the site, collection, or form of traditional expression;
- Statement of Urgency indicating the severity of the situation and explaining why the project must take place now;
- Statement of Sustainability outlining the measures that will be taken to maintain the site, object, or collection or preserve and disseminate the documentation, knowledge, or skills gained from the project after the AFCP-supported project is complete;
- Detailed Project Budget, demarcated in one-year budget periods, that lists all costs in separate categories (Personnel, Fringe Benefits, Travel, Equipment, Supplies, Contractual, Other Direct Costs, Indirect Costs, Cost Sharing) There is no minimum or maximum percentage of cost participation required for this competition.
- Budget Narrative; and
- Attachments and Supporting Documents including, at a minimum and REQUIRED, five (5) high quality digital images (JPEGs) or audiovisual files that convey the nature and condition of the site, object, or form of expression and, in the case of a site or object, show the urgency or need for the proposed project, and other planning documents compiled in preparation for the proposed project.
All applications will be rated based on the below scoring matrix.
- Purpose and Summary, Description, Time Frame, Importance: 20 points max
- Urgency: 10 points max
- Sustainability: 10 points max
- Rationale for U.S. Support: 15 points max
- Media and Outreach Plan: 15 points max
- Budget and Budget Narrative: 15 points max
- Supporting Materials: 15 points max
Ineligible activities and unallowable costs: AFCP will NOT support the following activities or costs, and applications involving ANY of the activities or costs below will be deemed ineligible:
- Preservation or purchase of privately or commercially owned cultural objects, collections, or real property;
- Preservation of natural heritage (physical, biological, and geological formations, paleontological collections, habitats of threatened species of animals and plants, fossils, etc.);
- Preservation of hominid or human remains;
- Preservation of news media (newspapers, newsreels, radio and TV programs, etc.);
- Preservation of published materials available elsewhere (books, periodicals, etc.);
- Development of curricula or educational materials for classroom use;
- Archaeological excavations or exploratory surveys for research purposes;
- Historical research, except when integral to the success of the proposed project;
- Acquisition or creation of new exhibits, objects, or collections for new or existing museums;
- Construction of new buildings, building additions, or permanent coverings;
- Commissions of new works of art or architecture;
- Creation of new or the modern adaptation of existing traditional dances, songs, chants, musical compositions, plays, or other performances;
- Creation of replicas or reconstructions of cultural objects or sites that no longer exist;
- Relocation of cultural sites from one physical location to another;
- Removal of cultural objects or elements of cultural sites from the country for any reason;
- Digitization of cultural objects or collections, unless part of a larger, clearly defined conservation or documentation effort;
- Conservation plans or other studies, unless they are one component of a larger project to implement the results of those studies;
- Cash reserves, endowments, or revolving funds;
- Costs of fund-raising campaigns;
- Contingency, unforeseen, or miscellaneous costs or fees;
- Costs of work performed prior to announcement of the award;
- International travel, except where integral to the success of the proposed project;
- Travel or study outside the host country for professional development;
- Independent U.S. projects overseas.
Call for Proposals for Climate & Clean Energy Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia | The Private Financial Advisory Network (PFAN)
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