Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund (Notice of Funding Opportunity)

The U.S. Embassy Pretoria announces an open competition for organizations to submit proposals to carry out projects through the U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund. 

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) program, funded by the U.S. Mission to South Africa, is a grass-roots grant assistance program that allows U.S. Ambassadors to support local requests for small-scale community-based development projects.  The purpose of the SSH is to support communities through modest grants that will positively impact local communities.  Preference will be given to organizations that demonstrate sustainability and a clear way to scale up activities.  Proposals which complement U.S. Mission objectives will also receive preference.  After the grant money is used, the project must be able to continue operating on its own or with help from the community.

Self-Help Program Application Schedule
  • Application Period: July 12, 2021 – August 20, 2021
  • Grant Award Timing: no later than September 30, 2021
  • Award Period:  October 2021 – September 2022
Important Notes
  • The requested grant amount can be between $4,000 to $20,000.
  • Applications are due nlt August 20, 2021 to
  • Limit of ONE (1) proposal per organization.
  • No comingling of funds from other donors; and
  • Submitting a proposal does not guarantee funding.
 Applicant Criteria
  • Applicants must be registered non-profit organizations (NPOs) in South Africa.
  • Applicants must have a valid DUNS number (see number.html)
  • To qualify, an applicant must be an organized, motivated group with a real need, and the proposed project must be feasible and based on the socio-economic context of the local community.
  • In addition, an applicant must demonstrate that it has adequate internal controls and financial monitoring procedures in place, and strong ties and support from the local community and local governmental bodies.
  • Provide evidence that the Project Coordinator is financially responsible and will be able to account for funds received (having a bank account is an example of such evidence).
Project Criteria
  1. Improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community or village level.
  2. Benefit the greatest number of people possible (be high impact).
  3. Include substantial community participation in the activity (contributions may include labor, materials – bricks, sand, gravel, seeds, etc.-, land, buildings, or cash to ensure the success of the project.
  4. Be within the community’s ability to maintain and operate.
  5. Be able to be completed within 12 months by September 30, 2022.
  6. Be self-sustaining upon completion (the Embassy’s support for the project will be a one-time-only/one grant contribution); and
Limitations/Exclusions from Eligibility
  1. Requests to buy equipment such as vehicles.
  2. Proposals that have a purely police, military, or cultural emphasis.
  3. Religious projects unless they genuinely assist the whole community.
  4. Personal businesses
  5. Scholarships, donations, or honoraria
  6. Payment for labor, salaries, operating costs, printing material, fuel, or land
  7. To remodel or renovate an existing facility
  8. Office supplies such as pencils, paper, forms and folders
  9. Projects that are partially funded by another donor or from the government of your country. Funds cannot be commingled with funds from other donors.
  10. Projects that focus on refugees or displaced persons. Other specific assistance programs are designed to address their needs.
  11. SSH funds may not be used to buy previously owned equipment, luxury goods, or gambling equipment.
  12. Salaries or supervision costs for the supervising organization.
Application Procedures

Submit the complete application package to the U.S. Mission South Africa Self-Help Grants Coordinator ( by August 20, 2021.  Only electronic submissions will be accepted.  Applications received after that date will not be considered.

Download the Notice of Funding Opportunity (MSWord 42KB) »

Guidance and Downloads for full application package (with all necessary forms to complete) below:

    1. SSH Fund Application (MSWord 128KB) »
    2. SF_424: Application for Federal Assistance (available at (
    3. SF_424a: Budget summary for non-construction program (available at (
    4. SF_424b: Assurances for non-construction programs (available at (