Funding Opportunities

We wish to inform the public that the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program is now accepting applications for the 2022 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.

AWARD INFORMATION

Funding Instrument: Grant
Floor of Individual award:   $1,000
Ceiling of Individual award: $10,000

The average range for grant awards is from $5000.

Goal:

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.

Concept:

The concept of self-help is one in which the people achieve a development goal using 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 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.

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, 2022

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. All projects must be completed in one year.
  6. Application forms are available at the main gate of the U.S. Embassy compound on Benson Street or can be downloaded here (PDF 916KB).

For additional information, contact the Self Help Coordinator at +231 (0) 77 691-4410 / (0) 77 756-7045 or via email MonroviaSelfHelp@state.gov

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Embassy Monrovia
Notice of Funding Opportunity

The Embassy of the United States in Monrovia, Liberia announces an open competition for past participants (“alumni”) of U.S. government-funded and U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to submit applications to the 2022 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF 2022).   We seek proposals from teams of at least two alumni that meet all program eligibility requirements below. Exchange alumni interested in participating in AEIF 2022 should submit proposals to MonroviaPD@state.gov by April 1, 2022.

  

A.  PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

AEIF provides alumni of U.S. sponsored and facilitated exchange programs with funding to expand on skills gained during their exchange experience to design and implement innovative solutions to global challenges facing their community. Since its inception in 2011, AEIF has funded nearly 500 alumni-led projects around the world through a competitive global competition.

U.S. Embassy Monrovia will accept public service projects proposed and managed by teams of at least two (2) alumni that support themes such as:

  • Citizen engagement with democratic governance and civil society
  • Access to justice, including local community dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Protection and support of human rights
  • Supporting the oversight roles of civil society and media
  • Sustained, market-driven economic growth
  • Food security and climate change
  • Business promotion and training for entrepreneurs
  • Diverse, affordable, and reliable energy sources
  • Equitable access to education
  • Improvement in reading and math, especially at the high school level
  • Leadership and life skill development opportunities
  • Safe water and sanitation

 

B.  FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Announcement posted:  December 3, 2021
Closing date for applications:  April 1, 2022
Funding type:  Small grant awards
Decision date:  No later than April 15, 2022
Expected size of individual awards:  Between $10,000 to $40,000
Program Performance Period:  Proposed programs should be completed in one year or less

  

C.  ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

  1. Eligible Applicants:

The following individuals are eligible to apply:

  • Applicants must be alumni of a U.S. government-funded exchange program (https://alumni.state.gov/list-exchange-programs) or a U.S. government-sponsored exchange program (https://j1visa.state.gov/).
  • Project teams must include teams of at least two (2) alumni.
  • Alumni who are U.S. citizens may not submit proposals, but U.S. citizen alumni may participate as team members in a project.
  • Alumni teams may be comprised of alumni from different exchange programs and different countries.
  • Applications must be submitted by exchange alumni. Not-for-profit, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions are not eligible to apply in the name of the organization but can serve as partners for implementing project activities.
  1. Cost Sharing

Inclusion of cost share is not a requirement of this opportunity.

  1. Grant Program Area:

Proposals must address the above themes. Proposals that do not address the themes as outlined in the program objectives will be deemed ineligible. All project activities must take place outside of the United States and its territories.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

If the grant will be processed with an individual, that individual is not required to have a DUNS number or be registered in SAM.gov.  However, should the grant be processed with an organization that is a partner in the project, that organization must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Organizations must have a commitment to equal opportunity employment practices and to non-discrimination practices with regard to beneficiaries, without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal.

 

D.  APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

  1. Address to Request Application Package

Application and budget templates are available at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-family.html (Application for Federal Assistance [SF-424], Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs [SF-424A], Assurances for Non-Construction Programs [SF-424B]) and below.

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

Applications and budgets must be submitted using the official AEIF 2022 application and budget forms.

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Please ensure:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • The proposal addresses all questions in the official AEIF 2022 application form
  • All documents are in English
  • The budget is in U.S. dollars and is submitted using the designated AEIF 2022 budget form
  • All pages are numbered

The following documents and information are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms
    1. SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance)
    2. SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
    3. SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs)
  2. Project Team Information:  At least two exchange alumni team members are required for a project to be considered for funding. Applications need to provide the name and contact information, describe the role each team member will have in the project, and their experience, qualifications, and ability to carry out that role. Applicants need to indicate what proportion of the team member’s time will be used in support of the project.
  3. Proposal Summary:  A short narrative which outlines the proposed project, including challenge/s to be addressed, project objectives, and anticipated impact.
  4. Project Goals and Objectives:  The goal/s of the proposed project need to describe what the project is intended to achieve and include the objectives which support the goal/s. Objectives should be specific, measurable, and realistically achievable in a set time frame.
  5. Project Methods, Design, and Timeline:  A description of how the project is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal/s. This should include a description of the project’s direct and indirect beneficiaries as well as a plan on how to continue the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable. The proposed timeline for the project activities should include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events. Applicants may also submit proposed workshop or training agendas and materials.
  6. Local Project Partners:  A list of partners who will support the proposed project, if applicable.
  7. Communication Plan:  The communication plan should include a communication and outreach strategy for promoting the proposed project. It may include social media, websites, print news, or other forms of media intended to use to share information about the project to beneficiaries and the public.  Communications should include AEIF 2022, Exchange Alumni, and U.S. Embassy branding.
  8. Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan:  The Monitoring and Evaluation component of the proposal should outline in detail how the proposal’s activities will advance the program’s goals and objectives. This should include any outcomes showing a change in knowledge, awareness, and attitudes; improved quality of services; increased capacity at a school, group; etc.  Proposals should also include how the grantee will measure the impact of planned activities.
  9. Budget Justification Narrative:  Applicants must submit a detailed budget and budget narrative justification utilizing the template provided. Line-item expenditures should be listed in the greatest possible detail. Budgets shall be submitted in U.S. dollars and final grant agreements will be conducted in U.S. dollars.

Budget Restrictions: AEIF 2022 does not support the following activities or costs, and the selection committee will deem applications involving any of these activities or costs ineligible:

  • Any airfare to/from the United States and its territories
  • Activities that take place in the United States and its territories
  • Staff salaries, office space, and overhead/operational expenses
  • Large items of durable equipment or construction programs
  • Alcohol, excessive meals, refreshments, or entertainment
  • Academic or scientific research
  • Charitable or development activities
  • Provision of direct social services to a population
  • Individual scholarships
  • Social travel/visits
  • Gifts or prizes
  • Duplication of existing programs
  • Institutional development of an organization
  • Venture capital, for-profit endeavors, or charging a fee for participation in project
  • Support for specific religious activities
  • Fund-raising campaigns
  • Support or opposition of partisan political activity or lobbying for specific legislation

 

E.  REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS

Evaluation Criteria:  The U.S. embassy Public Affairs Section will use the criteria outlined below to evaluate all applications.  The proposals will be reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of regional and exchange program experts located at the Department of State in Washington, DC. Panelists will use the criteria below to review and evaluate applications.

Relevance to Application Theme
The proposal provides sufficient information on how the activities will support the theme(s) of the competition. The narrative explains any relevant local context the D.C. Selection Committee may not be aware of in relation to this project.  Proposed project ideas must be public diplomacy in nature (i.e. not development or military).
Purpose and Summary, Description, and Implementation Plan
When developing the purpose, summary, description, and implementation plan, applicants should aim to make all descriptions clear, concise, and compelling.  Reviewers will judge the proposals based on the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the community where it is undertaken.  Does the project address an important gap of understanding or need?  If the aim of the project is achieved, how will existing knowledge or practice be improved?  What audience do the applicants hope to reach with this project?  How many will participate?  How will they be selected?
Degree of Alumni Involvement
Projects must include the involvement of at least two (2) exchange alumni.  They may be the project team leaders or collaborate directly with PAS in formulating the project.  More than two alumni may comprise the team, however, the minimum is two.  As the team leaders, the alumni must be closely involved in project planning, implementation, etc.  Applicants should ensure that the proposal includes the following information for each alumni team member: first name, last name, e-mail address, exchange program, country of citizenship, and roles and responsibilities.
Participation and Support from Local Partners
The proposal demonstrates buy-in and support from the community where the project will take place. Local partner involvement is a strong sign that there is community support and that the project will engage a broad array of experts, such as subject matter experts, community centers, academic institutions, businesses, local/national government, non-governmental organizations, American Spaces, etc.
Evaluation and Impact of the Project
A monitoring & evaluation (M&E) plan is pivotal to project implementation and important tracking progress towards the project’s objectives and goals.  An M&E plan should consider the data needed to effectively monitor progress toward specific outputs and outcomes as well as how that data collection will be accomplished.  Well-crafted indicators should be used to understand a program’s progress toward the desired results.  An M&E plan should be reviewed for the following:

  • Completion
  • Applicability and logic of objectives and indicators
  • Clear approach to monitoring
  • Adherence to SMART criteria
  • Feasibility of baselines and targets
  • Data quality plan
  • Capacity to implement plan
Sustainability
Have the applicants considered how the project will continue to have positive impact after the end of the project.
Communication, Media, and Outreach Plan
The project should include a clear plan and timeline for how and when the team will share information about the project.  It is important to ensure that the U.S. Embassy gets recognition throughout the process, if circumstances permit.
Budget and Budget Narrative
The budget and narrative justification are sufficiently detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results.  The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.  The results and proposed outcomes justify the total cost of the project.  Budget items are reasonable, allowable, and allocable.

 

Disclaimer: This notice is subject to availability of funding. U.S. Embassy Monrovia does not guarantee availability of funding by receiving applications under this announcement. Only successful applicants will be contacted.

 

F.  FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

The grant award will be written, signed, awarded, 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.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

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.

Payment Method:  Electronic funds transfer

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports. The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

 

G.  FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

Questions about the grant application process should be directed to: MonroviaPD@state.gov or SarviceTM@state.gov.