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U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Program

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The Embassy is proud to announce that the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Ambassador’s Special Self Help (SSH) Program 2023 is officially open, and ready to receive proposal submissions, until the deadline of 23:59 CAT July 30, 2023.

U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Program at U.S. Embassy Maputo funds small grant projects, with have high reaching impacts that foster self-reliance, improve socioeconomic conditions, respect environmental norms, and welcome the participation and input of the receiving communities. The program began in 1988, and has awarded over $250,000 USD of funding in Mozambique over the last 4 years alone, reaching over 1 million individuals (directly and indirectly), through 30+ funded projects, spread over 9 provinces.

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 fertilizer production;
  • Education Projects – classrooms, community libraries; and
  • Income Generating Projects –peanut butter production, maize milling facility, clothing production, carpentry tools, and brick making machines.

Please carefully read the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) at the link below for detailed information on how to apply for funding.

Notice of Funding Opportunity – US Ambassador’s Special Self Help Fund (SSH)

NOTE: All proposal applications must be submitted in English and in digital form to MaputoPoleconSSH@state.gov, with budgetary information in US Dollars.

PROPOSALS THAT DO NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE NOFO WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED AS ELIGIBLE.

General information

Funding amount available: Ranging from $1000 – $10,000 per project – $60,000 total available

Total number of awards: 8 (depending on the amounts)

Eligibility:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including civil society/non-governmental organizations registered in Mozambique
  • Established, registered grassroots community-based organizations (CBOs) and Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) registered in Mozambique.
  • For-profit, commercial entities and individuals are not eligible to apply.

Mandatory Forms:

  • 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.

Proposal Format 

Proposal submissions should follow the following format:

  • Summary
  • Proposal (5 pages maximum)
    • Proposal Summary
    • Introduction to the organization
    • Problem Statement
    • Goals and Objectives
    • Program Activities
    • Methodology and Design
    • Timeline
    • Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
    • Future Funding or Sustainability
  • Detailed Budget and Budget Narrative
  • Workplan
  • CVs
  • Organizational Documents

Suggested Forms:

Please feel free to use the following suggested form to formulate your proposal, or use your own format if you wish.

Key Dates and Deadlines:

  1. June 30, 2023 at 23:59 CAT – Deadline for questions to be submitted
  2. July 30, 2023 at 23:59 CAT – Deadline for submission of grant proposal applications
  3. September 2023 – Expected time for project approval and award signing.

Contact Information

All questions and proposal application submissions should be made to MaputoPoleconSSH@state.gov before the above dates.

When sending an e-mail, please include “SSH” in the subject line.

WHAT IS THE SPECIAL SSH FUND?

The Ambassador’s Special SSH (SSH) Program is a program offered by the U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique.  SSH gives U.S. Embassy support directly to communities, groups, neighborhoods, areas, communities and towns that are doing something to help themselves.

MY COMMUNITY IS WORKING VERY HARD TO DEVELOP. CAN WE HAVE SSH MONEY?

Perhaps. SSH funds are given for specific projects or activities.  The money must be used to purchase something without which the project would not get started or cannot be completed.  If you have a plan, labor, and funds for a specific project, but need some supplementary help, the U.S. Embassy may be able to assist you.  However, we can only help the project once!  No repeat performances.

THE WOMEN IN MY COMMUNITY MAKE BREAD AND ARE VERY SHORT OF FLOUR. CAN SSH BUY SOME FOR THEM?

Unfortunately, no.  SSH activities should help improve basic economic or social conditions at the community level and should avoid financing those that have only short-lived value.  Therefore, SSH funds cannot be used to buy consumables like flour for bread, paper for a school or fertilizer for a farm.

CAN YOU GIVE ME EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS SSH WILL ASSIST?

Sure! Perhaps you are building a classroom and you already have timber, bricks, cement and enough meticais to buy books and paper.  However, you don’t have the money for desks, chairs and roofing sheets.  SSH may be able to pay for the desks or the roofing sheets.  Maybe your community is constructing a well.  People in the community have already dug the well, but they need cement to line it.  SSH funds may be able to help purchase the cement.

CAN YOU GIVE ME EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS SSH WILL NOT ASSIST?

Yes. We already mentioned not being able to provide items that are consumed, including food, paper or fertilizer.  We also cannot be involved in a project that is already being financed by the Government of Mozambique, as we have other programs that provide U.S. assistance to the Government of Mozambique.  However, we are willing to support locally organized projects that may be sponsored in part by government organizations.

SO, THE COMMUNITY HAS TO DO MOST OF THE WORK ITSELF?

Yes, that is the idea.  The SSH fund will try to get you some items you can’t otherwise get, but the community must do the work.  SSH money cannot be used for administrative and/or operational costs of a project, including salaries or travel costs.

THE COMMUNITY HAS ALWAYS WANTED TO BUILD A BRIDGE ACROSS THE CREEK. CAN YOU HELP?

Perhaps.  However, keep in mind that the community will have to decide what it will do for itself.  Remember, this is a “self-help” program.  The U.S. Embassy will help you help yourself, but the Embassy will not do the project for you.  If a community wants the bridge enough to contribute some of what is needed to build it, then the U.S. Embassy will be happy to talk with you about helping with the things you can’t get like building materials and supplies.

WHAT DO WE DO FIRST?

Talk to the community and find out what people can contribute to the project.  Some may have money and others may have a bag or two of cement, while others may have timber or bricks.  Still others may be willing to donate their time to manage the project or manpower to build it.  How you organize the effort is up to you.

EVERYONE WANTS THE BRIDGE VERY MUCH, BUT WE HAVE NO WAY OF GETTING SUPPORT RODS. CAN YOU HELP US NOW?

Now it is time for you to fill out the U.S. Embassy application for SSH Funds.  Answer each question carefully and as fully as you can. Tell us why you need the project, what the community will contribute to it, who will organize it, and what you want the U.S. Embassy to provide.  When you have completed the application, send it to the U.S. Embassy.

WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE APPLICATION?

The U.S. Embassy will consider your application, along with others received throughout Mozambique.  Since SSH Fund is limited, not all projects can be financed.  The SSH Selection Committee will consider all projects against the SSH fund criteria.  Those projects that best meet the selection criteria will be chosen for funding.

WE RECEIVED A LETTER STATING OUR REQUEST FOR SUPPORT RODS WAS APPROVED. WHAT DO WE NOW?

The project leader will be contacted by the U.S. Embassy’s SSH Coordinator to arrange final details and the signing of the SSH agreement.  The agreement states exactly what the U.S. Embassy will give your project and how it must be used.  In the meantime, the SSH project leader should identify sources for the support rods and obtain price quotes for their purchase.

WE HAVE THE RODS. CAN WE START WORK?

Of course!  However, please be sure to use the rods only for the bridge.  If there are any materials left over, you must advise the U.S. Embassy SSH Coordinator.  If you use items purchased with U.S. Embassy funds for any purpose other than the that stated in the agreement signed with the U.S. Embassy, you risk having to repay the funds and losing eligibility for future SSH funding.  From time to time, a representative of the U.S. Embassy may stop by to see how the project is going.  By all means, get started as soon as possible!

THE BRIDGE IS FINISHED! GREAT! WILL YOU BE HAVING AN INAUGURAL CEREMONY?

Yes. Everyone from the area will be there, and we would like someone from the U.S. Embassy to come too.  Fine!  We would be pleased to attend.

Even though the project is complete, please remember one thing: Don’t throw away the records of your project!  The U.S. Embassy must be able to check them for up to three years following the completion of the project.  Now, please let us know when the ceremony will be, so we can put it on the calendar!
Thank you again for your interest in the Ambassador’s Special SSH Fund.

Good luck with your project!

For more information and an application form for the The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund, please contact:

Elizabeth Filipe, Economic/Commercial Specialist
U.S. Embassy, Maputo
Tel: 258 (21) 492-797 Ext. 4459
Email: filipeEC@state.gov