An official website of the United States government

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

FY2024 Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund

U.S. Embassy in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau

Annual Program Statement


Funding Opportunity Title:                Senegal and Guinea-Bissau Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund – Small Grants

Funding Opportunity Number:          SSH-DKR-NOFO-FY23-01

Deadline for Applications:                  Annual Program Statements

CFDA Number:                                  19.220 – Ambassador’s Special Self- Help Fund

Funding Amount:                                $60,000 for Senegal

Funding Amount:                                $35,000 for Guinea Bissau

Maximum for Each Award:                $20,000

E-mail:                                                SelfHelpS@state.gov



The U.S. Embassy in Dakar and the U.S. Department of State are pleased to announce an open competition for registered NGOs and associations interested in submitting applications to carry out projects through the Ambassador’s Special Self Help (SSH) Small Grants Program.  Project activities must take place in Senegal and/or Guinea Bissau.

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program provides small grants to assist community development projects that improve basic economic or social conditions in local communities across Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. The program aims to encourage self-reliance within local communities by providing some of the resources they need to a good idea into action. Successful applicants often make a significant contribution to the project in the form of labor, land, materials, or money. Eligibility is restricted to local NGOs, community associations, and cooperatives. Funding will be distributed, pending Congressional Funding Approval, no later than September 30th. Grants generally range from $3,000 to $20,000 U.S. dollars and must be completed within one year.

The most successful project proposals will:

    • demonstrate a clear impact that will benefit a large number of people within one year;
    • be initiated and administered at a local level and include a significant contribution from the community in the form of labor, land, materials, or money;
    • list multiple key members and a brief biographical sketch that includes their experience and responsibility to the organization and the project;
    • be within the ability of the local community to manage and maintain on a sustainable basis;
    • contribute, whenever possible, to income-generating or self-sustaining activities;
    • respect human rights, including disability rights and under-represented groups. Strong proposals should also have a net-positive impact on the local environment and benefit a great member of community members.

The following are costs/activities that the SSH program does not support. Proposals that include these items in their budget will not be considered for funding.

Activities SSH funds may not be used for include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • operating or recurring costs (salaries, rent, administrative or maintenance costs, fuel);
    • individual travel expenses (lodging, transportation, food and beverages, fuel);
    • activities that are religious in nature or are related to law enforcement, policing, the military, or prisons/incarceration;
    • projects that are inherently political in nature or that contain the appearance of partisanship/support to individual or single party electoral campaigns;
    • payment of Value Added Taxes;
    • the purchase, operation, or maintenance of vehicles;
    • sports supplies or equipment;
    • ongoing education or training programs;
    • perishable goods such as food or medicine;
    • activities with unmitigated and negative environmental consequences (such as dams or roads through forest lands);
    • activities which benefit any employee of the United States Government.

Length of performance period:           12 months or less

Number of awards anticipated:           5 to 12 awards (depending upon amounts)

Award amounts:                                 Range from a minimum of $3,000 to a maximum of $10,000

Total available funding:                      TBD

Type of Funding:                                 FY2021 Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund

Funding Instrument Type:                  Grants

Program Performance Period:            Proposed programs should be completed in 1 year or less.

Anticipated programs start date:        November 01, 2023

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Optional: The Department of State will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.



The following organizations are eligible to apply:

Registered associations and non-profit NGOs located in Senegal and Guinea Bissau that work directly with communities.

Community Based Organizations (CBOs)

Associations/non-profit NGOs run by or working with people with disabilities are encouraged to participate in this program.

All organizations must have been in operation for at least one year to be eligible for funding.


  1. Address to request application package.

Required application forms are available at the end of this page, or e-mail us at SelfHelpS@state.gov

  1. Content of Application.

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
    • All documents are in English
    • All budgets are in U.S. dollars and CFA
    • All pages are numbered

The following documents are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms:

1.1 For Non-Construction programs

    • SF424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
    • SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
    • SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs)

1.2 For Small Construction programs:

    • SF424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
    • SF424C (Budget Information for Small Construction programs)
    • SF424D (Assurances for Small Construction programs)


  1. Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and legal organization name, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  1. Proposal (10 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use either the SSH narrative sample that you can download here, or request at SelfHelpS@state.gov, or your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below:


    • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
    • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
    • Problem Statement: Clear, concise, and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed.
    • Program Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve. The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
    • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
    • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate.
    • Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the program activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
    • Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles, and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What portion of their time will be used to support this program?
    • Program Partners (if applicable): List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
    • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the timeframe of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
    • Future Funding or Sustainability Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
    • The number of direct beneficiaries: Clearly describe the number of men and women who benefit directly from the project. Beneficiaries may be not employees of the organization but instead should be members of the community who will participate actively in the realization of the project and will benefit from it directly.


  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A or C Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.


  1. Required Registrations:


5.1     Unique Entity ID at SAM.gov


The U.S. Embassy requires all applicants to obtain, for free, a Unique Entity ID at SAM.gov and have an active registration with the System for Award Management (SAM). If selected to receive funding, applicants may be required to show proof of a Unique Entity ID number for their organization, as well as a valid SAM registration. We recommend all applicants begin this process when they submit their application for funding.

You can register in the System for Award Management (SAM) by logging into https://www.sam.gov/SAM/

Please note that any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

5.2     Submission Dates and Times


Proposals will be evaluated at the end of July. 

Applications are due no later than. Applications received by the U.S. Embassy after the closing date will not be considered.

Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time, but will not be considered after May 15, 2024, at 17:30 PM for this funding cycle.

All application materials must be submitted by email to SelfHelpS@state.gov.

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.


  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement 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.

Payment Method: Payments will be made through EFT.

  1. Reporting

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


If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact: SelfHelpS@state.gov.


Applicants should be aware that Small Grants Office understands that some information contained in applications may be considered sensitive or proprietary and will make appropriate efforts to protect such information.

Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPO) are encouraged to apply.

Issuance of the NOFO and negotiation of applications does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government. The Small Grants Office reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the project evaluation requirements.


SF424 Application for Federal Assistance – Organization

SF424A Budget Information for Non-Construction programs

SF424B Assurances for Non-Construction programs

SF424C Budget Information for Small Construction

SF424D Assurances for Small Construction programs

SSH Narrative Sample (English)

SSH Modèle de description de projet (French)


Submit proposals 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)
E-mail: SelfHelpS@state.gov