U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund

Program Office: Department of State, U.S. Embassy Maseru

Funding Opportunity Title: U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program 2021

Announcement Type: Grant

Funding Opportunity Number: DOS-MSU-SSH-FY21

CFDA number: 19.700

Deadline for Applications: April 30, 2021


U.S. Embassy Maseru Special Projects Office announces an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that are community-initiated and involving schools, clinics, co-operatives, associations, training, or community improvement projects.

The U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) program is a grass-roots assistance program that allows U.S. embassies to respond quickly to local requests for small community-based development projects. This Self-Help fund provides small, short-term grants (one year) to community groups that are working to improve the basic economic and social conditions of their villages or communities. The fund provides grants for activities such as construction of classrooms, construction of ventilated pit latrines, construction of community centers and health clinics, boreholes for access to clean water, school equipment and supplies, medical equipment, solar heating and agricultural kits, among others listed in our guidelines.


U.S. Embassy Maseru issues one or more awards resulting from this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to applicants whose applications are the most responsive to the objectives in this NOFO. The Special Projects Office may a) reject any or all applications; b) accept other than the lowest cost application; c) accept more than one application; d) accept alternate applications; and/or e) waive informalities and minor irregularities in applications received. The Special Projects Office may give awards after discussions and negotiations with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or to suggest modifications in the project description, budget, or other aspects of the application.

Applicants should not request more than $10,000 USD. Please note that the U.S Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund is subject to the availability of funds. Applicants should include an anticipated start date of September 2021 and the project period should be 12 months.


C.1 Eligible applicants

The Special Projects Office welcomes applications from schools, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), or Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) that support community-based initiatives.

C.2 Cost sharing or matching

There is a requirement for cost sharing, matching, or cost participation (e.g. material and/or labor) of 10%.

C.3 Other

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management (SAM) (www.sam.gov) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 the implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p.189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p.235), “Debarment and Suspension”. Additionally, no entity listed on the Excluded Parties List System in SAM can participate in any activities under an award.


Application guidelines can be requested via email, GrantsMaseru@state.gov.

The U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund will accept applications from February 9, 2021 to April 30, 2021.

Applications can be emailed to GrantsMaseru@state.gov or mailed to/handed in to

U.S. Embassy Maseru

Special Projects Office

254 Kingsway

P.O. Box 333

Maseru 100, Lesotho

Any application that is received after the deadline, is incomplete, or is missing required documentation will be rejected.

Please Note: The Special Projects Office retains the right to ask for additional documents not included in this NOFO.

Additional information that successful applicants must submit after notification of intent to make a Federal Award, but prior to issuance of a Federal award, may include:

1. Pre-award site visit;

2. Written responses and any revised application documents addressing any conditions or recommendations from the review panel;

3. Bank account information; and

4. Other requested information or documents discussed during negotiations prior to issuance of a Federal award.


The Special Projects Office will determine eligibility for all applications and then each application will be evaluated and rated individually against the following criteria, listed below. The Special Projects Office strives to ensure each application receives a balanced evaluation by a review panel.

The application should be responsive to the NOFO, should be original, innovative and creative.

The application should demonstrate an immediate positive impact on a community need.

Competitive applications should clearly indicate the number of beneficiaries and the type of support they will receive, and the funds requested should reflect the number of beneficiaries served.

The project must be achievable and realistic for the means and skills of the community and must be completed within the 12-month timeframe.

The application should clearly detail how activities will be carried out, and the objectives should be clear, measurable, and have a well-defined timeline.

The project should show a clear path to self-sustaining activities that will continue once the grant money has been used.

The project needs to be able to quantify and report on the number of beneficiaries served with the funding received.

The budget should be complete and reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The plan for services and related cost estimates must be realistic.

After rating, shortlisted applicants will be contacted and may be asked for an interview to provide additional information or clarification on portions of their application and may be asked to accommodate a site visit. The final list of applicants will be presented to an internal review panel for final selection. Applicants not selected will receive notification that they will not receive a grant.


The grant award shall be written, signed, awarded and administered by the Grants Officer. The Grants Officer is the U.S. government official delegated the authority by the U.S. Department of State Procurement Executive to write, award, and administer grants. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient.

All awards will require both program and financial reports on a frequency specified in the award agreement. The disbursement of funds will be tied to submission of these reports in a timely manner.

All other details related to award administration will be specified in the award agreement as

For questions regarding this NOFO, please contact the Special Projects office at grantsmaseru@state.gov or +266 5885 3930.