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Embassy Small Grants Programs

U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program & U.S. African Development Foundation Guidelines

Available Free of Charge

Open Season: The next deadline is September 30, 2014, however applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Applications are available on-line in pdf format or may be requested in Word format from the SSH/ADF Small Grants Coordinator.

Guidelines and Requirements: The U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help and U.S. African Development Foundation programs (SSH/ADF) share the same goals of providing small-scale assistance directly to Zambian community based organizations as part of an ongoing commitment by the U.S. government to support Zambian-driven development activities on a local level. Due to their shared missions, the two programs (SSH/ADF) are combined into one application and granting process.  This program is highly competitive.  In order to be considered, applicants must adhere to the following criteria:

  1. A project should help improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community or village level, and have long-lived value.  A successful proposal should also demonstrate the likelihood that it will be sustained over a long period.
  2. A project is to be of a high-impact nature, benefiting the greatest number of people possible with any one single activity.  Projects which directly benefit only a very limited number of people are discouraged.
  3. The project must not replace or supplement activities normally supplied by the Zambia government, such as providing supplies for a district hospital, etc.
  4. Substantial community participation in activity is required. Contributions may include labor, materials (bricks, sand, gravel, seeds, etc.), land, buildings, or money to ensure the success of the project.
  5. Funding is limited to one project, which, once started, must be completed within ten (10) months or less.  Grantees should recognize that funding is on a one-time basis only.
  6. Projects must be within the community’s ability to maintain and operate.  Requests for large-scale agriculture or construction projects or for expensive equipment will not be priority projects.
  7. Managers of a project should have evidence that they are financially responsible and will be able to account for any funds sent to them.  Having a bank account, or establishing credit with vendors, are examples of such evidence.
  8. The requested amount for implementing activities must be reasonable; project budgets generally range from US$ 500 to US$15,000. Projects under ZMW80,000 are most competitive.
  9. Successful applicants must have the ability to send one representative to Lusaka to attend the half-day grant signing ceremony and workshop.  Expenses related to travel to Lusaka will not be reimbursed.

The Special Self Help fund cannot be used for:

  1. A project activity that is not clearly identified and described.
  2. Revolving loan projects.
  3. Projects that are partially funded by another donor or from the Government of Zambia.
  4. More than one project for any organization.
  5. Continuing former USAID projects.
  6. Religious or military activities, as well as projects related to police, prisons, or other law enforcement.

Note: The U.S. Embassy will not provide funding for the following items:

  • Any recurring operating costs such as rent, salaries, administrative or operating costs, ongoing training/educational needs, etc.;
  • Pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides;
  • Personal training, education or travel, unless directly related to project;
  • Vehicles;
  • Surveillance equipment;
  • Office equipment or supplies, such as duplicating machines, printers and computers;
  • Abortion equipment or services; and
  • Luxury goods or gambling equipment.

Response to proposals: Applicants will be notified if more information is needed or if they have been selected for funding. It is imperative that contact information (addresses, names, phone numbers, etc) listed on your forms is accurate and thorough. If we cannot contact you, it will jeopardize your application. Each year applications are disqualified for the sole reason that participants cannot be contacted. Application forms and materials will NOT be returned to you so please keep a copy for your own records. Do not send original documents.

General timetable: Annual application deadline is September 30th. Applications received prior to the deadline will be considered for funding to be granted early in the following year. However, applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Review process: The small grants coordinator conducts a preliminary review of applications and gathers any missing information for competitive applications. The coordinator also works with potential grantees on finalizing the activities and budget. Please note that these exercises do not guarantee funding. Next, the coordinator presents finalist applications to the interagency panel for final review and selection. The interagency grants panel will make determinations on finalists and the Ambassador and SSH/ADF offices grant final approval.

Final stage: Successful applicants are notified. Agreements are then signed and grants awarded at a ceremony. Organizations are responsible to send the project coordinator to Lusaka. These costs cannot be reimbursed. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing.

Last reminder: Before submitting your application, please take the time to review it thoroughly. Check your planning and your math. Is your project and the reason for your project fully explained? Does the budget include all of the materials, labor costs, transportation etc needed to be successful? Have you included all necessary attachments? If the application form is incomplete; if all of the questions have not been answered, or if required attachments are not included, the application will not be forwarded to the review committee and your project will be rejected, regardless of merit.

Thank you for your interest in U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self Help and U.S. African Development Foundation small grants. Please contact me with any questions or to request an application.

Abby Ross
U.S. Embassy Small Grants Coordinator,
SSH/ADF U.S. Embassy Lusaka
P.O. Box 31617
Lusaka, Zambia

Note: If your organization is seeking funds to support HIV/AIDS related activities, such as providing food to orphans and vulnerable children, training caregivers to people living with HIV/AIDS, or conduct workshops on prevention, SSH/ADF is NOT the program for you. Instead, please see the PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Small Grants Program or contact the coordinator of that program at +(260)-211-357-391 or

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