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 SSH fund was established in Malawi in 1966 to help improve the basic economic and social conditions of Malawians at the local community and village level. The goal of U.S. assistance is to help create a peaceful, prosperous, and secure future for the people of Malawi. This program seeks to fund small but important projects that will expand opportunity for education and marketable job skills.  It will also support the creation or expansion of community business endeavors.  The program is structured to encourage communities to be self-reliant and undertake similar activities on their own in the future.  All projects are community-based, initiated locally, administered at the local level, and include significant community contributions in cash, labor, or materials. 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.

Grants for up to $8,000 U.S. Dollars (USD) each will be awarded to projects that increase fundamental education and marketable skills in the Malawian people or that expand entrepreneurial knowledge and opportunity.  Projects that address needs within disadvantaged or marginalized populations are encouraged.

Self-Help Program Application Schedule

  • Application Period: April 13, 2021 – May 31, 2021 (no later than 17:00 Malawi Time); and
  • Grant Award Timing: no later than September 30, 2021.

Important Notes

  • Limit of ONE (1) proposal per organization.
  • No comingling 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 31, 2021

All proposals must be received by May 31, 2021 (no later than 17:00 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

Download full application package (with all necessary forms to complete) below:

  1. DNUS Number registration guide
  2. N-CAGE Code guide
  3. SAM registration guide
  4. SF_424: Application for Federal Assistance
  5. SF_424a: Budget summary for non-construction program
  6. SF_424b: Assurances for non-construction programs