The SSH is a grass-roots grant assistance program that allows U.S. Ambassadors to support local requests for small community-based development projects. The purpose of the Special Self-Help Program is to support communities through modest grants that will positively impact local communities.
The requested amount for implementing activities cannot exceed $8,000. Project budgets generally range from $4,000 to $8,000.
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Projects submitted for SSH must align with one or more U.S. Embassy priorities:
Economic diversification, including small business creation and income generation: Projects must aim to:
generate sustainable income and employment opportunities in local communities,
advance economic diversification and encourage the use of local natural resources or income generation,
promote a culture of entrepreneurship, and/or
improve economic or living conditions of a community.
Women start-ups and women entrepreneurs: Eligible projects assist women who are launching a business or who are overseeing the early stages of business development (between one to two years). Such projects must promote a culture of women-led entrepreneurship and innovation that can be replicated in the community. Projects must also promote profitable businesses that generate revenue and benefit the community.
Social inclusion and creation of opportunities: Projects in this category must assist youth, children, women (particularly female heads of household), and other vulnerable groups to gain access to basic services (for example water, sanitation, and primary/pre-K education). They can also assist the creation of opportunities for vulnerable groups, particularly employment for youth.
Drought response/ resiliency: Eligible projects will increase the capacity of communities to cope with the effects of drought by building resilience and promoting income-generating activities. Activities can include increasing water supply quality, improving water management, diversifying agricultural practices, and providing benefits to the environment.
All applicants must be registered Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs). They welcome proposals from Community and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that work directly with communities. Organizations must be able to demonstrate that they have adequate internal controls and financial systems in place.
To be eligible for funding the project must meet the following criteria:
The project should help improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community level and have long-term value.
The project should be high-impact, benefiting the greatest number of people possible.
Substantial community participation in the activity is required. Contributions may include labour, materials (bricks, sand, gravel, seeds, etc.), land, buildings, or money that is given to ensure the success of the project.
Funding is limited to one project, which must be completed within twelve (12) months or less.
Projects must be self-sustaining upon completion. The U.S. Embassy’s support for the project is a one-time-only grant contribution.
Projects must be within the community’s ability to maintain and operate. Requests for large-scale agriculture or construction projects, or for expensive equipment are not considered priority projects.
This application will be evaluated on the following factors:
Completeness: Did the applicant submit all of the materials requested, including but not limited to requirements in the SSH forms found on U.S. Embassy Praia’s website.
Embassy priorities: Does the application describe how the project’s goals are related to the Embassy priorities stated in this document?
Sustainability: Is the project sustainable in the long term? Will the project be able to continue without additional investment? Are the suggested measurements of success adequate?
Need: Does the project adequately fulfil a stated need within a community?
Budget: Is the budget complete, and well defined? Is the budget reasonable?
Completion within one year: Can the project be completed in a single year?
Community support: Does the project show strong community support?
Impact: Does the project benefit the broadest numbers of beneficiaries possible? Is there a substantial impact on the affected community?
Contribution and Group Capabilities: Does the group provide adequate resources and show commitment to the project? Is the group capable of administering the project as designed?
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