Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund

1The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund invests in people who take the initiative to launch small-scale community development projects that improve incomes, environment, nutrition or education at the grassroots level.  We support high-impact initiatives that will quickly benefit a large number of people and be sustainable over time.  We help people help themselves.  Every project must include a strong element of community involvement.  We prefer proposals that cost less that $10,000 and we fund about six projects a year.  The fund does not support requests from individuals or private enterprises.  All proposals must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Improve the community’s economic conditions and quality of life; protect, enhance, or develop natural resources; and assist the greatest number or beneficiaries possible;
  • Have community contributions (cash, materials, labor) amounting to no less than 25% of the total project value;
  • Be completed within one year;
  • Be within the means of the local community or self-help group to operate and maintain over the intended life of the project;

The following types of projects, activities, and costs are not eligible for Self-help funds:

  • Personal service, administrative, start-up costs, and credit or loan programs;
  • Cultural, religious, police, and military activities;
  • Weather modification equipment;
  • Pharmaceuticals and medical equipment;
  • Pesticides and hazardous chemicals;
  • The purchase of used equipment;
  • Ongoing training, school or dormitory furnishings, laboratory equipment, or the payment of school fees;
  • The purchase of vehicles;
  • Land rental or purchase.

How to Apply for Special Self-Help Funds

Groups interested in applying for these funds should send project proposals to the Special Self-help Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy. Proposals and supporting documents will not be returned. Groups should include the following information in their proposals:

Group or Community History

  • Name of group or community;
  • Copy of group’s registration with the Government as a NGO, if applicable;
  • If self-help group or NGO, please provide the origin, goals, age of association, size, membership composition of your group;
  • Experience and special qualifications of group/community members.

Project Information

  • Project goals, project location (include map), and time needed to complete the project;
  • Number of beneficiaries, as well as type and amount of community contribution;
  • Amount of funding requested, including the following details:

A full budget with line item cost breakdown (see below)

  • The amount/value of the community contribution;
  • Three proforma invoices for every item to be purchased, or service to be provided;
  • Description of attempts have been made to address the problems the group/community is facing;
  • Information on any special technical assistance required;
  • Copies of CVs, if trainers, consultants, or experts are to be hired;
  • Schematic drawing of proposed project, if construction is involved;
  • Name of project supervisor/coordinator;
  • Any helpful supplementary information on your organization or project.

For more information, please contact the Special Self-Help Assistant at the U.S. Embassy Djibouti, telephone [253], fax [253] or by e-mail