Ambassador’s Self Help Fund

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.

Applications due May 31, 2018

All proposals must be received by May 31, 2018 (for applications sent by post they must be postmarked by that date). Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

Notice of Funding Opportunity

The Embassy of the United States of America welcomes proposals for funding under the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Fund (“the Fund”).  A program of the United States Government, the Fund seeks to improve basic economic or social conditions of Malawians at the local community or village level, through established community groups.  Projects typically range from US$3,000 to US$15,000.

Project Categories:  This year, the Fund will prioritize: construction of girls’ hostels, libraries, laboratories, and waiting shelters for pregnant women; the provision of clean and safe water; environmental projects such as waste management; and other unique and innovative projects fitting the eligibility criteria below.


This year the U.S Government is supporting the SSH program with the Economic Support Funds – Overseas Contingency Operations (ESF-OCO) account.  This funding is used for unforeseen, unanticipated, or emergency requirements where the underlying situation is:

(a) sudden, which means quickly coming into being or not building up over time;

(b) urgent, which means a pressing and compelling need requiring immediate action;

(c) unforeseen, which means not predicted or anticipated as an emerging need; and

(d) temporary, which means not of a permanent duration.

Proposals submitted for SSH funding must include a thorough justification of how the outlined program requirements meet the sudden, urgent, unforeseen, and temporary definitions as outlined above.

In addition, every project must seek to:

improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community or village level;

support high-impact, quick-implementation activities that benefit a large number of people, without requiring further SSH assistance;

involve a significant local contribution in cash, labor, and/or materials, and be within the ability of the local community to operate and maintain on a sustainable basis;

use environmentally friendly materials such as cement bricks; and

be completed within twelve months.

Download the Self-Help Application Form here (PDF, 337KB)