NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTINUTY: Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program


Funding Opportunity Title:            Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program

Deadline for Applications:               June 30, 2022

Type of Funding:                              Economic Support Funds under the Foreign Assistance Act FY 2021

CFDA Number:                                19.220

Maximum for Each Award:            $10,000


    The U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali, announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out projects through the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Small Grants Program. Please follow all instructions below.

Purpose of Small Grants

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Program is a grassroots grant assistance program that allows U.S. embassies to support local requests for small community-based development projects. The purpose of the SSH Program is to support communities through modest grants that will have a positive impact on local communities. Equally important, the SSH Program is structured to encourage communities to be self-reliant and undertake similar community development activities in the future. 

Participants and Audiences:

All participants must be registered Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) and have been in operation for at least one year to be eligible for funding. Proposals are welcome from community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and non-governmental organizations that work directly with communities. 


Length of performance period: Up to one (1) year

Number of awards anticipated: Up to ten (10) awards (dependent on amounts)

Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $10,000

Type of Funding: Economic Support Funds

Anticipated programs start date:  October 1, 2022 

This notice is subject to availability of funding. 

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in one (1) year or less.

  1. Eligible Applicants

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program will only accept proposals from:

  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including civil society/non-governmental organizations.
  • Established, registered grassroots community-based organizations and faith-based organization.

For-profit commercial entities and individuals are not eligible to apply.

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching

Local involvement of the organization or group must be at least 10% in cash or in kind of the total project costs. The applicant’s contribution of funding may be crucial to make a choice between two viable applicants. The local contributions can be in cash or in kind. In-kind contributions can include labor (e.g., wages of masons and workers), food, accommodation for qualified labor, construction materials, fencing, water supply, transportation costs, or donations of other materials.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements 

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. If you submitted an unsolicited application prior to the publication of this Notice of Funding Opportunity, you must re-submit your application in order to be considered for funding.

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a NCAGE/CAGE code from ( ), unique entity identifier from ; as well as a valid registration on Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.

  1. Address to Request Application Package 

Application forms required below are available at:

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

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.

Content of Application

Please ensure:

  • 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 Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required 

  1. Mandatory application forms
  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
  • SF-424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF-424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs)
  1. Summary Coversheet: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period (proposed start and end date), and brief purpose of the program.
  1. 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. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: 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.
  • Key Personnel: 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?
  • Program Partners:  List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the timeframe 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.
  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), 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.
  1. Attachments:
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • A list of Committee/Board members (names, positions, addresses, phone numbers)
  • A copy of your organization registration with the proper authorities
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) of project manager(s)
  • A list of all people working in the organization (including all staff and volunteers) with names, positions and starting dates
  • Copies of your most recent bank statements for every account held by your organization
  • A copy of the most recent audited financial statement
  1. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (gov)

All organizations applying for grants must obtain these registrations before sending in their applications. All are free of charge:

Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that 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 EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

Apply for an NCAGE number and a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)

When applying for a Unique Entity Identifier, make sure the addresses used are EXACTLY the same as in NCAGE registration to link your organization in the two systems.

NCAGE application: Application page here:

Instructions for the NCAGE application process:

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423

For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766

Email for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM by logging onto: (please use Chrome browser). Start by creating an individual account, log in, and then proceed to register your entity. SAM registration must be renewed annually.

The U.S. Embassy will verify your registration status before accepting your application.

  1. Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than June 30, 2022.  Applications received by the U.S. Embassy after the closing date will not be considered.

  1. Funding Restrictions

Any cost incurred in preparation of your proposal or in advance of an award will not be reimbursed. 

  1. Other Submission Requirements

Complete proposals can be emailed to:

Once proposals are received, the Political and Economic Section will acknowledge receipt through an email. All applicants will be notified of the status of their proposals after the review process is completed.

  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. The criteria listed are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.   

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 25 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 – 25 points: The 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.

  1. Review and Selection Process

The Political and Economic Section will conduct a preliminary review of all applications to determine completeness. If the proposal does not meet the funding guidelines, the applicant will be informed. If the proposal meets the criteria and after the grants committee selects it among the finalists, the Grants Coordinator will follow up with the applicant to discuss the proposal and review the organization’s capacity. All projects eligible for funding are then reviewed by the U.S. Embassy Small Grants Committee, which will evaluate all eligible/complete applications and recommend funding priorities to the Ambassador for final approval. The Political and Economic Section will notify each applicant about the status of his/her proposal.

  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award will be written, signed and awarded by the Grants Officer and administered by his/her Representative. The grant 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.

Payment Method: Payments will be made by electronic funds transfer in at least one advance, as needed to carry out the project activities and based on agreed milestones. 

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: 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: 2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions.

  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted. 

Applicants should be aware of the post award reporting requirements reflected in 2 CFR 200 Appendix XII—Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

Foreign Assistance Data Review: As required by Congress, the Department of State must make progress in its efforts to improve tracking and reporting of foreign assistance data through the Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR). The FADR requires tracking of foreign assistance activity data from budgeting, planning, and allocation through obligation and disbursement.  Successful applicants will be required to report and draw down federal funding based on the appropriate FADR Data Elements, indicated within their award documentation.  In cases of more than one FADR Data Element, typically program or sector and/or regions or country, the successful applicant will be required to maintain separate accounting records.


If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact the Political and Economic Section at:

Note: We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the NOFO. Once an application has been submitted, State Department officials will not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.


Guidelines for Budget Justification 

Personnel and Fringe Benefits: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.

Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.

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, including any computer devices, 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 Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (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 as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.

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.