Ambassador’s Self Help Fund

The U.S. Embassy Lilongwe 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 Self-Help Fund was established in Malawi in 1966 as a way to address urgent development needs at the community level. The goal of the fund is to improve the basic economic or social conditions of Malawians at the local community or village level.  Over the past 50 years, the Self-Help Fund has disbursed over $6 million to 1,463 projects covering all the 28 Districts in Malawi. Projects funded include classroom blocks, under-five clinics, pregnant mothers waiting shelters, school libraries, girls’ hostels, installation of biogas digesters, eco-stove production, and provision of clean and safe drinking water through boreholes and shallow wells.

The U.S. Embassy funds a variety of projects each year, with an objective to obtain geographical diversity in project selection. Projects for which women and girls are the primary beneficiaries are encouraged. We will not consider projects that benefit only small number of individuals. Each grant ranges from between USD $3,000 and USD $10,000.

Self-Help Program Application Schedule

  • Application Period: March 15, 2020 – May 29, 2020 (no later than 12:30 Malawi Time); and
  • Grant Award Timing: no later than September 30, 2020.

Important Notes

  • Limit of ONE (1) proposal per organization;
  • No co mingling of funds from other donors; and
  • Submitting a proposal does not guarantee funding.

Applicant Criteria

All citizens of Malawi representing a civilian, religious, social, community development, special interest, disability, or advocacy group or organization may request funding for a community activity.  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.

To be eligible for funding the project must:

  1. Improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community or village level, and have long-lived value;
  2. Benefit the greatest number of people possible (i.e., 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 twelve (12) months;
  6. Be self-sustaining upon completion (the Embassy’s support for the project will be a one-time-only/one grant contribution); and
  7. Provide evidence that the selected Project Coordinator is financially responsible and will be able to account for funds received (having a bank account is an example of such evidence).

 Proposals due May 29, 2020

All proposals must be received by May 29, 2020 (no later than 12:30 Malawi time). For applications sent by post they must be postmarked by that date and time. Proposals received after the closing date will not be considered.

Download the Notice of Funding Opportunity here