Ambassador’s Self Help Fund Grants

U.S. Mission Sierra Leone

Notice of Funding Opportunity


Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program


The United States Mission in Sierra Leone is pleased to announce a funding opportunity through the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program for 2019. This is a program specifically designed to ensure the Ambassador can quickly respond to requests for assistance from village groups or organizations and communities throughout Sierra Leone. The program also seeks to promote interaction between the people from the United States of America and local communities in Sierra Leone. This means that communities from all regions of the country are eligible to apply.

This funding opportunity is open from August 1, 2019 and closes on September 15, 2019.

Applications should focus on supporting projects that address a critical community need that is sustainable and will continue to provide benefits long after the expiration of the project, that they otherwise could not achieve on their own.

Applications should address one of the following:

Promote sustainable economic growth

Create an enabling environment for market development

Supports transition from aid dependency to sustainable economic development

Grant awards range from $1000 – $6000. The period of performance is one year. October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Technical merits of the application and compliance with the application guidelines.
  • Cost-effectiveness and sustainability.
  • Capacity to manage grants and contribution from the applicant community.
  • Appropriate local community representation.
  • Support from local community leadership.

Interested organizations should submit an application using the form available from the U.S. Mission attached below.

Proposals should be sent by email to  or delivered to:

The Grants Officer

Economic and Commercial Section

Southridge, Hill Station

U.S. Embassy, Freetown

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible, and no later than September 13, 2019.  Earlier proposals and electronic submissions may be given greater consideration.

For additional information, please contact Mohamed Turay on 099 105 290, 099 905 074, or


United States Department of State

U. S. Embassy

Freetown, Sierra Leone


Application for Assistance

Annual Program Statement



The U.S. Embassy in Freetown supports Sierra Leonean communities by providing small, one-year grants. The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program (ASSH) supports locally-run, community-initiated projects that seek to improve basic economic and social conditions with the communities.

This application may be used to apply for funding from the ASSH.  Please complete all sections, and attach additional pages as needed.

PROJECT TITLE:               ________________________________________________

ORGANIZATION:                ________________________________________________

ADDRESS:                           ________________________________________________


PROJECT COORDINATOR: ______________________________________________

E-mail: ______________________________   Telephone: _____________________ 

NUMBER OF DIRECT BENEFICIARIES: (Direct beneficiaries are persons who will use the goods or services.) Women _____                      Men _____                Total _____

FINANCIAL SUMMARY: (See the instructions for Project Proposal, part (f) below)

  1. a) Amount Requested from the Embassy: Le ________________________
  2. b) Community Contribution or Startup Capital: Le ________________________
  3. c) Total Budget: Le ________________________


Projects that are supported by community leaders will receive additional consideration.

We declare that this proposal is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge.  We are in full agreement with the proposal and wholeheartedly support it.  We understand that the Embassy can choose not to fund a proposal and that the costs of putting together an application and all activities that occur prior to the grant period are not reimbursable.

Project Coordinator:        ________________________          Date: _______________


Paramount Chief:             ________________________         Date: _______________


Village Chief/Headman:    ________________________        Date: _______________


Chairman of City Council: _________________________     Date: _______________


Applications must include the following. Attach additional pages as needed.

Project Application (attachment a): The proposal should have the following components:  The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.

Application Summary:  Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.

Introduction:  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 were applicable.

  • Statement of Problem: Describe the problem to be addressed by your project. Explain the cause of the problem, and how the problem is impacting the community. (For example, if the problem is a lack of seeds and agricultural equipment, discuss how that is affecting the lives of community members.)
  • Project Description: Describe the project. Explain how the project will address the problem.  Also, discuss what you have already done to prepare for this project.  (For example, clearing land for rice cultivation, identifying where a goat shed will be built, etc.)
  • Project Activities: List the activities necessary to carry out the project, and for each activity, explain when the activity will be completed.  (Keep in mind that the project must be completed within one year.)  Please specify if certain activities must occur at certain times of the year (for example, at the beginning of the rainy season).  The following is a sample format of an activity list:




Description of the Activity



1 Clearing and preparing land for vegetable gardening Month 1
2 Purchasing seeds and agricultural equipment Month 2
3 Organizing training for vegetable gardening Month 4


  • Project Site & Location: Describe the project’s location, including the name of the village, chiefdom, district, and province. Explain where the nearest large community is.
  • Beneficiaries: Explain who will benefit from this project. Examples include women, farmers, female traders, person with disabilities, youth, elderly, etc.  Provide the estimated numbers of direct and indirect beneficiaries.  Direct beneficiaries are the persons who will use the goods or services and directly benefit from the project.  (For example, recipients of agricultural seeds, attendees at agricultural trainings, etc.)  Indirect beneficiaries are people who will not directly receive anything from the project but whose lives will be positively affected by the project.  (For example, the family members of someone who receives seeds from an agricultural project.)

Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan:  This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame 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?

  • Community Contribution or Startup Capital: For the “Financial Summary” on the cover page, explain how you determined the Community’s Contribution or Startup Capital. The Community Contribution may include cash, materials, labor, land, space, etc. (For example, the approximate cost for 100 hours of volunteer labor, the cost of renting land to build a goat shed, etc.)  Startup Capital for a small business enterprise project includes financial investments, business outlay, infrastructure, materials, equipment and labor.  (For example, the cost of leasing commercial space, the cost of renting a generator, etc.)  The total amount of Community Contribution or Startup Capital should be at least 25% of the total budget of the project.  (For example, if the total project cost is Le 8,000,000, the community contribution must be Le 2,000,000 or more.)
  • Sustainability of the Project: All Embassy funds must be spent within one year of award.  Explain how you will continue this project after Embassy funding expires.
  • Project Committee: Create a Project Committee to provide oversight of the project management and activity implementation. Members of the Project Committee must come from the community.  Provide names, titles and phone numbers, like this:

Name _____________________ Title ________________   Phone______________


Name _____________________ Title ________________   Phone______________


Name _____________________ Title ________________   Phone______________


  • Accountability and Transparency: Describe what processes will be adopted to maintain accountability and transparency. (Examples include how decisions will be made to implement the project; how often committee meetings will be held; how financial information will be available for the committee and project associates to review, etc.)
  • Business Plan: Provide a business plan if your project involves a small business enterprise. The plan should begin with a discussion of the feasibility and market potential of the business. Subsequently, it should outline the steps to implement your business.  Describe the product or service the project will offer and who will buy it (i.e., who is the target market).  Additionally, the business plan should include information about initial capital, production cost and expected profit.
  • Previous Funds: Please indicate if your organization has ever received funds from the Embassy. If you have, please explain when and describe the project.

Detailed Budget (attachment b): Please provide a detailed, itemized budget that lists all materials, equipment, supplies, and services to be paid for by the project.  A budget should be stated in Leones, and there should be a direct relationship between the activities described in the proposal and the budget line items.  The budget should indicate which items will be paid for with Embassy funds and which will be supplied by the community’s contribution or startup capital. The following is the suggested format for the budget:





Unit Price





Community Contribution Embassy Contribution
1 Le Le Le Le
2 Le Le Le Le
3 Le Le Le Le
4 Le Le Le Le
Total Le Le Le Le


Map & Directions to Project Site (attachment c): Please provide a map and directions in order to assist Embassy staff in locating your project.

Plan of the Construction (attachment d): If your project requires construction, please provide a plan for the construction.  The plan should include a drawing of the building or structure.  Provide specifications of the size and materials to be used.



The Embassy accepts applications throughout the year, and funding decisions are made as money is available. Unfortunately, fewer applications are approved, but the Embassy will work with you to develop a stronger application for the next SSH funding cycle.


When reviewing your application, the Embassy’s selection committee will consider the following criteria:

  1. The project should improve the basic economic and social conditions of the local community and benefit as many people as possible.
  2. Ensure substantial participation by community members who will be actively involved in the implementation process.
  3. Applications should request less than the Leone equivalent of $25,000. Please note: Most recipients are awarded between $1,000 and $ 6,000.
  4. The project should involve a significant local contribution in cash, labor, material, or startup capital. At least 25 percent of the total budget must be provided in this way.
  5. The Embassy usually does not fund large construction projects, but will support small construction when it is essential to achieve the project’s goals.
  6. The project must spend Embassy funds within one year. However, the project should be sustainable so that the community will continue derive benefits after the funding expires.
  7. The Project Coordinator should be a resident in the community and not a direct family member of other Project Committee members. The Project Coordinator will be responsible for the finances and day-to-day operations of the project, and will serve as the primary liaison with the Embassy.
  8. The Embassy may consider funding only some components of a large project. For example, a group that proposes four activities may receive funding for one or two.


  1. Funds cannot be commingled with funds from other donors, international organizations, or other U.S. government programs.
  2. Funds may not be used for religious, military, or law enforcement related activities.
  3. Funds may not be used to buy used equipment, luxury goods, gambling equipment, or materials that are toxic, unsafe or environmentally unfriendly (such as pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides).
  4. Funds usually do not cover salaries or supervision costs.
  5. Except in special circumstances, funds may not be used to purchase vehicles or generators that involves recurring maintenance cost and other running costs.

Proposals should be sent by email to  or delivered to:

The Grants Officer

Economic and Commercial Section

U.S. Embassy, Freetown

For additional information, please contact Mohamed Turay at 099 105 290, 099 905 074, or