Self-Help Program


“Ndimbal na ca fékk loxol borom”
“Help yourself, before seeking other’s help”

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 small community-based development projects. The purpose of the Special Self-Help Program is to support communities through modest grants that would positively impact on communities. The SSH program was first initiated in Togo in 1964 and had gradually developed to become one of the most visible and successful assistance programs in Africa.  The SSH philosophy is to help communities ready to help themselves.  This is why SSH Senegal has adopted the Wolof (most common spoken local language) proverb “Ndimbal na ca fékhh loxol borom” meaning “Help yourself before seeking other ’s help.

SSH provides small grants to assist community development projects that improve basic economic or social conditions in local communities across Senegal and Guinea Bissau

Projects may include but are not limited to:

  • Small construction projects (less than 10,000 sq. ft.) benefiting a school or health center;
  • Community building renovations;
  • Water-related projects: wells; latrines; pumps; and, bore holes;
  • School equipment and supplies: desks; chairs; laboratory equipment; and, library items.
  • Communal construction equipment such as a brick-making machine.
  • Income generating equipment: weaving looms; tools for furniture making; a rice-milling machine.

    Projects should result in durable, visible improvements that improve the lives of the community, engender goodwill, and generate public awareness of U.S. foreign assistance efforts.

Any project reviewed and approved by the Selection Committee may be funded.  However, it is important to note that any incomplete file will be dismissed.

Any project submitted and pre-selected must be the subject of a preliminary field visit to determine the socio-economic and financial feasibility of the activity, and also the consistency of the dossier sent in relation to the reality on the site. If the project is deemed viable, it is presented to the Selection Committee, which alone is entitled to decide on the financing of an activity.

The Selection Committee usually meets between July and August, depending on the availability of funds. The Self-Help Fund will inform the groups that have been selected for funding.

U.S. Embassy Dakar accepts grant applications for the Ambassador’s Self-Help Program throughout the year.

Applicants who wish to be considered for the next round of funding for the Ambassador’s Self-Help Program are encouraged to submit their application on Friday June 26th, 2020 at 13:00.

Application should be sent to:

Special Self-Help Coordinator
U.S. Embassy, Dakar
Route des Almadies
B.P. 49, Dakar, Senegal
Tel: 221-33.8794668 (direct line)
Tel: 221-33.8794000 (standard)
Fax: 221-33.879.4100