The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program (SSH) provides small grants to assist community development projects that improve basic economic or social conditions in local communities across Madagascar and the Comoros. The program aims to encourage self-reliance within local communities by assisting them with the resources they need to move from a good idea to taking action. The community organization often makes 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 $10,000 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, gender equality, and environmental norms.
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:
- operating or recurring costs (salaries, rent, administrative or maintenance costs, fuel);
- individual travel expenses (lodging, transportation, food and beverages, fuel);
- religious/police/law enforcement/prison-related/political or military activities;
- projects that are inherently political in nature or that contain the appearance of partisanship/support to individual or single party electoral campaigns;
- 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 USG.