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U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self Help Small Grants Program

The U.S. Embassy in Zambia is pleased to announce the applications for Special Self-Help Small Grants Program to provide small-scale assistance directly to Zambian community-based organizations as part of an ongoing commitment by the U.S. government to support Zambian-driven development activities at the local level.

This program is highly competitive. They seek to support projects that demonstrate a high likelihood of success through their application.

Self-Help Program Application Schedule

Application Period: 27 June 2022 – 28 February 2023. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible and not wait for the last day to submit as there will be no grace period for late applications.
Grant Award Approximate Date: 30 September 2023

Focus Areas

  • Economic diversification, including small business creation and income generation
  • Social services
  • Youth and child development
  • Community-based natural resource management

Funding Information

  • Length of performance period: Twelve months or less
  • Number of awards anticipated: Four awards (dependent on grant amount)
  • Award amounts: The maximum amount per award is $15,000.

*All applicants must use the required application form to apply and attach all relevant documents, as per the instructions. The application form is found on our U.S. Embassy Lusaka SSH webpage and the Grants.gov website. The full grants opportunity package is on Grants.gov.

Participants and Audiences: All applicants must be Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) registered on the province or national level in Zambia. They welcome proposals from Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that work directly with communities.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be considered, applicants must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Must be a registered community-based organization (individuals and for-profit businesses are not eligible).
  • The project should be a single activity that helps improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community or village level, and have long-lived value. A successful proposal should also demonstrate the likelihood that it will be sustained over a long period.
  • Funding is limited to one project, which, once started, must be completed within ten (10) months or less. Grantees should recognize that funding is granted (not loaned) and on a one-time basis only. (Communities may only benefit once from the SSH grant program).
  • Projects should be high-impact, benefiting the greatest number of people possible. Projects which directly benefit only a limited number of people are discouraged.
  • Project proposals should respect the environmental norms for small projects and not adversely affect protected or other sensitive environmental areas, threatened or endangered species and their habitat.
  • The project must not replace or supplement activities normally supplied by the Zambian government, such as providing supplies for a district hospital, etc.
  • Substantial community participation in activity is required. Contributions may include labor, materials (bricks, sand, gravel, seeds, etc.), land, buildings, or money to ensure the success of the project.
  • Projects must be within the community’s ability to plan, execute, and maintain. The U.S. Embassy provides financial support only. Requests for large-scale agriculture or construction projects or for expensive equipment will not be priority projects.
  • Managers of a project should have evidence that they are financially responsible and will be able to account for any funds disbursed to their organizations. Having a bank account or establishing credit with vendors are examples of such evidence.
  • The requested amount for implementing activities must be reasonable; project budgets range from US$ 3,000 to US$15,000.
  • Successful applicants must have the ability to send one representative to Lusaka to attend the half-day grant signing ceremony and workshop.


SSH funds cannot be used for:

  • A project activity that is not clearly identified and described.
  • Revolving loan projects.
  • Projects that are partially funded by another donor or from the Government of Zambia.
  • More than one project for any organization.
  • Continuing former USAID or other USG projects.
  • Religious or military activities, as well as projects related to police, prisons, or other law enforcement.