Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program Signing Ceremony – Ambassador Mushingi’s Remarks Wednesday, October 31

Remarks by Ambassdor Tulinabo Mushingi
Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program Signing Ceremony
Embassy Dakar
Wednesday, October 31, 2:00 p.m.

(As prepared)

Welcome to Embassy Dakar.   It is our honor to welcome you here.  This Embassy is a symbol of the United States’ commitment to its partnership with Senegal.  Through that partnership, we work together to make both of our countries safer and more prosperous.

We appreciate you taking time to attend this signing ceremony for our Special Self-Help Program.  This year we are fortunate to provide $60,000 for eight Special Self-Help Funds across Senegal, one of the largest Special Self-Help sums for any African country.

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) program is a grass-roots assistance program that allows U.S. embassies to respond quickly to local requests for community-based development projects. The purpose of the Special Self-Help Program is to support communities through grants that positively impact communities. The SSH program was first initiated in Togo in 1964 and has gradually developed to become one of the most visible and successful assistance programs in Africa.

The SSH philosophy is to help communities help themselves.  To be approved for a grant, the community organization must commit to making a significant contribution to the project.  This can be in the form of labor, materials, or expertise.  This is why the Special Self-Help program here in Senegal has adopted the Wolof proverb “Ndimbal na ca fékhh loxol borom” meaning “Help yourself before seeking help from others.”  And as a result, the projects funded by the SSH program have deep community support and tend to effectively address the community’s needs.

This year’s awards address a wide range of challenges faced by communities all over Senegal.  They include  the construction of latrines, construction of a school enclosure wall, the renovation of classrooms in three different schools, acquisition of a millet machine, acquisition of a cereal huller, and a project related to sheep husbandry.

I congratulate this year’s Special Self-Help grant recipients for your dedication to the  development of your communities.