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Notice of Funding Opportunity – U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund (SSH) – 2023
April 6, 2022










Section A. Funding Opportunity Program Description

Assistance Instrument Type:  Grant Agreement
Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program
Funding Opportunity Number: SMZ-500-FY23-01
Assistance Number: 19.220
Funding Amount: $60,000.00 (Subject to Availability)
Number of Awards: Around 6 to 8
Key Dates:

  1. Questions must be submitted no later than 23:59 CAT on June 30, 2023
  2. Applications must be submitted no later than 23:59 CAT on July 30, 2023
  3. Notification of project approval and award signing expected by September 2023.

Executive Summary:

The U.S. Embassy in Mozambique announces this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Ambassador’s Special Self Help (SSH) program. The SSH program assists Mozambican community organizations and groups to develop lasting, self-sustaining projects that benefit entire communities.

A grant agreement for up to $10,000 U.S. Dollars (USD) in Fiscal Year (FY 2021) Economic Support Funds (ESF) will be awarded (pending availability of funds) for work that will support up to eight organizations.  The period of performance is 12 months. Funding authority rests in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.

Contact Person: For questions on the application and technical content, as well as proposal submission, please contact MaputoPoleconSSH@state.gov.

Please carefully read the entire solicitation package if you plan to submit an application; there are steps that you should take immediately in order to make your submissions by the deadline.

A.1. Background:

The Embassy of the United States of America in Mozambique welcomes the submission of proposals for funding under the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Fund. The SSH Fund assists Mozambican community organizations and groups to develop lasting, self-sustaining projects that benefit entire communities.

Purpose of Small Grants: In Mozambique, the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) program started in 1988 and allows the Embassy to respond quickly to local requests for small community-based development projects. The SSH program received a total of $2 million in 2021 to fund projects throughout Africa supported by Africa Regional Economic Support Funds.

A.2. Program Objectives:

  • Foster community self-reliance;
  • Have community participation and contribution – volunteer time and labor, donated land, equipment and materials – and the U.S. contribution must be on a one-time basis only;
  • Improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community or village level;
  • Be viable and sustainable in terms of finance, personnel support, necessary expertise and services;
  • Respect environmental norms for small projects; the proposed activity will not adversely affect protected or other sensitive environmental areas nor jeopardize threatened and endangered species and their habitat; and
  • Not exceed twelve months in duration.

Some examples of past SSH grants include:

  • Water Projects – boreholes, irrigation, or water collection systems, storage tanks;
  • Health & Hygiene – latrines at schools and clinics, community gardens;
  • Environmental Projects – recycling, solar panel systems, organic fertilization production;
  • Education Projects – classrooms, community libraries; and
  • Income Generating Projects – oil press for nuts, maize milling facility, clothing production, carpentry tools, and brick making machines.

A.3. Performance Indicators

The project should monitor and report on performance indicators that are specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time bound. Establish, where possible, performance baseline data and expected performance targets for each expected result, and include details on what sources of data will be used to document performance, how the indicators will be measured, frequency of measurement, and units of measure. Where possible, indicators should also allow for gender disaggregation. Indicators should reflect key project outputs or outcomes that reflect on the primary goals or objectives of the project and that the implementer can collect with high quality data.

All applicable indicators should be included in the proposal and subsequent to the award, routine, periodic reporting of all indicators will be required. The implementer will be responsible for quarterly reporting on each performance indicator included in the grant agreement as well as analysis of progress or impediments to reach indicator targets.

Section B.  Federal Award Information

Award Instrument: Grant Agreement
Period of Performance 12 months
Type of Funding FY 2022 Economic Support Funds (ESF) under the Foreign Assistance Act
Funding Amount: $60,000 U.S. Dollars
Number of Awards: 6 to 8
Anticipated Award Date: September 2023
Anticipated Project Completion Date: September 2024



Section C. Eligibility Information

C.1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply:   

  • Not-for-profit organizations that are registered in Mozambique, including civil society/non-governmental organizations.
  • Established, registered grassroots community-based organizations (CBOs) and Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) registered in Mozambique.


Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

Technically requirements for submission of Proposals:

1) Sent electronically to MaputoPoleconSSH@state.gov before the designated deadline date;

2) Have heeded all instructions contained in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), including registrations and length and completeness of submission; and

3) Does not violate any of the guidelines stated in the solicitation and this document.

For-profit and commercial firms are not eligible to apply in response to this NOFO.

Please see 2 CFR 200.307 for regulations regarding program income.

C.2. Cost Share

Cost sharing is required in the form of significant “community contributions” through cash, labor, or materials, as well as an investment in time and labor to promote a sustainable project outcome.

Please note: If cost-share is included in the budget then the recipient must maintain written records to support all allowable costs that are claimed as its contribution to cost-share, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. In the event the recipient does not meet the minimum amount of cost-sharing as stipulated in the recipient’s budget, the Department of State’s contribution may be reduced in proportion to the recipient’s contribution.

C.3. Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). The UEI will be generated when the organization applies in SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to register in SAM.gov. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.

Please see the FSD.gov website for information on how to register, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and for technical support.

Section D. Application and Submission Information

Once the NOFO deadline has passed, Department of State staff may not discuss this competition with any applicant until the proposal review process has been completed.

D.1. Address to Request Application Package

Applicants can find application forms and other materials needed to apply on https://mz.usembassy.gov/embassy/maputo/u-s-ambassadors-special-self-help-ssh-program/

The mandatory SF-424 forms can be found at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-mandatory-family.html under the announcement title and funding opportunity number provided above.

Please contact the point of contact listed on page 1 if requesting reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities or for security reasons. Please note: reasonable accommodations do not include deadline extensions.

Please read the entire announcement carefully and follow the guidelines below before sending inquiries or submitting proposals.

D.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Any prospective applicant who has questions concerning the contents of this NOFO should submit them by email to the point of contact listed on page 1. Please refer to the funding opportunity number. Any updates about this NOFO will also be posted on https://mz.usembassy.gov/embassy/maputo/u-s-ambassadors-special-self-help-ssh-program/.

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Unsuccessful proposals will not be contacted – if no contact has been made by September 30th, 2023, your proposal was not selected.

Application must have the following format:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered
  • All documents are formatted to A4 paper, and
  • All documents are single-spaced, Calibri – 14 point font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

Complete applications must include the following required documents:

  1. Mandatory application forms that must be completed and signed:
    *These forms are available electronically via Grants.gov

    • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – Organizations)
    • SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs)
    • SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs) The SF-424B is required only for those applicants who have not registered in SAM.gov.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Note: In order to view the documents, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader (available for free at https://get.adobe.com/reader/)                    
  2. Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period, proposed start and end date, and a brief description of the program.
  3. Proposal (5 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. For proposals thar are more than five pages long, only the first five pages will be read and accepted. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all of the items below.
    • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
    • Introduction to the Organization: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
    • Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed.
    • Program Goals and Objectives:  The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve. The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
    • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
    • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate.
    • Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline:  The proposed timeline for the program activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
    • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
    • Future Funding or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  4. Budget Justification Narrative:  After filling out the SF-424A Budget form, use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
  5. Work Plan and Project Timeline: (attached as a separate document)
      • In table format, please present a brief, one-to-two-page work plan matrix (which does count as part of the 5 pages), with a timeline including target dates for activities for the life of the agreement, which reflects the overall program approach, and objectives. The following timeline below is provided as an example.
      • Primary Activities, Deliverables, and/or Milestones Q1 

        (range of months)


        (range of months)


        (range of months)


        (range of months)

        Project Monitoring Plan X
        XYZ Activity X X X X
        Activity 123 X X
  6. Letter(s) of Institutional Support to indicate that your organization’s leadership is providing their support of the application.
  7. CV or resume of key personnel (1 page) who are proposed for the program.
    • Include names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
    • Note the location where key staff will be based.
  8. Official permission letters, if required for program activities.
  9. Copy of the organization’s Certificate of Registration

D.3. Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and System for Award Management (SAM)

Required Registrations:

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge – be wary of anyone requesting payment for registration as it is never required:

Applicants must have an active registration in SAM (www.sam.gov) prior to submitting an application, must prove a valid Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number, and must continue to maintain an active SAM.gov registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by the U.S. government. If an organization does not have an active registration in SAM.gov prior to submitting an application, the application will be deemed ineligible.
Note: The process of obtaining a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.


D.4. Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than 23:59 CAT on July 30th, 2023.
Applications received after the deadline will not be considered for this funding opportunity.

D.5. Funding Restrictions

The following activities and costs are not covered under this announcement and are classified as not allowable – please read this section carefully and match it to your project activities:

  • Fees or salaries, including those for training, seminars, travel costs, or per diem;Activities that appear partisan or that support individual or party electoral campaigns.
  • Procurement of vehicles;
  • Activities that appear partisan or that support individual or party electoral campaigns.
  • Direct support or the appearance of direct support for any religious organization, to include repair or building of structures used for religious purposes.
  • Military assistance of any kind, including weapons buy-back or rewards programs.
  • Purchase of firearms, ammunition, or removal of unexploded ordnances.
  • Para-police (i.e., militias, neighborhood watch, security guards) and prison-related projects. This restriction includes no funding of any secondary need in a law-enforcement organization.
  • Payments for any partner government, military, or civilian government employee salary or pension.
  • Duplication of services immediately available through municipal, provincial, or national government.
  • Funds for market research, advertising (unless public service related to grant program), or other promotional expenses.
  • Expenses made prior to the approval of a proposal or unreasonable expenditures will not be reimbursed.
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Fund-raising campaigns;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or projects;
  • Scientific research;
  • Activities with unmitigated and negative environmental consequences (such as dams or roads through forest lands);
  • Activities that benefit any employee of the United States Government;
  • Activities related to human rights;
  • Procurement of pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides;
  • Provision of capital to beneficiaries through either loans or grants;
  • Revolving credit schemes;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or projects;
  •  Purchase of alcohol, medicine, school uniforms, school fees, bursaries, or personal expense;
  • Purchase of food and food parcels;
  • Purchase of used equipment – to avoid recurring maintenance and support cost. There is a general policy for financing only new equipment unless it is simple in design and spare parts are available locally.
  • Projects intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization;
  • Projects seeking funds for personal use;
  • Projects that require a participation fee.

D.6. Other Submission Requirements

Applications must be submitted electronically to MaputoPoleconSSH@state.gov. Physical documents and proposals that are hand delivered, faxed, or couriered will not be accepted. Reasonable accommodations may, in appropriate circumstances, be provided to applicants with disabilities or for security reasons – but these should be communicated in advance.

Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable solicitation and these instructions.

Section E. Application Review Information

E.1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the application and to determine the likelihood of its success and impact. The criteria are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application. Applications will be reviewed on the basis of their fullness, coherence, clarity, and attention to detail. Points are awarded only to applications that are responsive within the context of this program announcement.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 20 points: The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 20 points: organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 15 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Budget – 10 points: The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

Monitoring and evaluation plan – 15 points: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators, and shows how and when those will be measured.

Sustainability – 10 points: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

Support of Equity and Underserved Communities – 10 points: Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program will support and advance equity and engage underserved communities in program administration, design, and implementation.

E.2. Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.

E.3. Federal Awardee Performance & Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)

i. The Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is
required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the U.S. government designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM.gov (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);

ii. An applicant, at its option, may review and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered. Currently, federal agencies create integrity records in the integrity module of the Contractor Performance Assessment and Reporting System (CPARS) and these records are visible as responsibility/qualification records in SAM.gov;

iii. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.206 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

Section F. Federal Award Administration Information

F.1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

F.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.

These include:

In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to specific programs, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the following: NOTE:

  • President’s September 2, 2020, memorandum, entitled Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients of Federal Funds that Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities;
  • Executive Order on Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence (E.O. 13933); and
  • Guidance for Grants and Agreements in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), as updated in the Federal Register’s 85 FR 49506 on August 13, 2020, particularly on:
    • Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR part 200.205),
    • Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. No. 115—232) (2 CFR part 200.216),
    • Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (§§ 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341),
    • Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR part 200.322), and
    • Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law, if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR part 200.340).

F.3. Payment Method:

Request for Payment will be submitted through a standard form SF-270. Payments shall be disbursed via electronic funds transfer (EFT) upon receipt of a signed SF-270 form and required reporting.

F.4. Reporting

Reporting Requirements:

Recipients will, at a minimum, be required to submit quarterly Progress Reports and Financial Reports. Progress Reports will compare actual to planned performance and indicate the progress made in accomplishing each assistance award task/goal noted in the grant agreement and will contain analysis and summary of findings, both quantitative and qualitative, for key indicators. Financial Reports provide a means of monitoring expenditures and comparing costs incurred with progress. Failure to submit reports on time will result in payment delays.

Recipients must report immediately when a program faces unplanned delays in implementation or cost increases, or fails to meet program targets or milestones. Any changes or revisions to the approved budget require prior approval from the Grants Officer.

Progress Reporting

At minimum, it is expected that progress reports include:

  • Significant activities of the period and how activities reflect progress toward achieving goals;
  • Evaluation of progress on goals/objectives with quantitative and qualitative data, as appropriate;
  • Any problems/challenges in implementing the project and a corrective action plan;
  • Evaluation of accomplishments with quantifiable information on goals and objectives to date as available, including reporting on agreed-upon indicators;
  • An update on expenditures during the reporting period; and
  • Supporting documentation or products related to project activities
  • Performance indicator results and supporting documentation;
  • As applicable, Project Spotlight highlighting a significant area of progress under the grant as well as photos of implementation.

Final Report

The final report will be due no later than 90 days after the end date of the award, or termination of all project activities.

Additional guidance may be provided prior to the award end date.

Section G.  Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact MaputoPoleconSSH@state.gov.

G.1. Questions

All questions must be submitted via email to contact listed above by June 25th, 2023. The U.S. Embassy will periodically create a document of submitted questions with answers and upload it to the announcement page in Grants.gov. Prospective applicants are advised to review the announcement page in Grants.gov for any updates. Note that once the NOFO deadline has passed, U.S. Embassies/Missions may not discuss this competition with applicants until the review process has been completed.

Section H.  Other Information

H.1. Guidelines for Budget Narrative

  • Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.
  • Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.
  • Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor. Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.
  • Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.
  • Indirect Costs: These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating. If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA.

Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy. It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.

Alcoholic Beverages: Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.

H2. Conflict of Interest

In accordance with applicable Federal awarding agency policy, applicants must disclose in writing any potential conflict of interest to the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity.

H3.  Marking Policy

Applicants are advised that recipients and sub-recipients of Federal assistance awards are subject to the State Department’s Marking Policy. More information on this policy can be found in Section N of the Department of State’s Standard Terms and Conditions:


H4. Evaluation Policy

Applicants are advised that recipients and sub-recipients of Federal assistance awards are subject to the Department of State Evaluation Policy. More information on this policy can be found here: https://www.state.gov/foreign-assistance-resource-library/foreign-assistance-evaluations/.

Further, recipient organizations are encouraged to conduct their own and/or independent evaluations on their Department of State funded programs to assess performance and outcomes.

H5.  Monitoring Site Visits

A monitoring site visit, at least once during the lifetime of a grant, is required by Department of State grant policy. The site visit is conducted to gather additional information on the recipient’s ability to properly implement the project, manage funds, and share substantiating document for programmatic, indicator, and financial reporting. Specifically, the site visit will involve the review of the programmatic progress (progress on activities, sub-recipient/consultant work, data quality, etc.) as well as administrative and financial management and controls.

H6. Privacy Disclosure

The Department of State understands that some information contained in applications may be considered sensitive or proprietary and will make appropriate efforts to protect such information. However, applicants are advised that the Department of State cannot guarantee that such information will not be disclosed, including pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other similar statutes.