Notice of Funding Opportunity(NOFO): Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program 2023 | Closing: March 31, 2023

United States Department of State
U.S. Embassy Kampala, Small Grants Office
Notice of Funding Opportunity
 Funding Opportunity Title: Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program 2023
Funding Opportunity Number:
Deadline for Applications:  March 31, 2023
Assistance Listing Number: 19.220             
Total Amount Available: $50,000


The U.S. Embassy Kampala Small Grants Office announces an open competition for registered organizations interested in submitting applications for the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Program, which supports small-scale, community-based initiatives that promote self-reliance, foster development, and promise an immediate and dramatic effect on local communities.  Projects should also include significant community contributions in cash, labor, or materials.  The SSH philosophy is to help communities to help themselves.  For the SSH Program in 2023, U.S. Embassy Kampala will prioritize projects that focus on the greatest number of people within a community and in which communities contribute to the project either via funds or labor.  All applications will be accepted, but priority will be given to those applications that meet the aforementioned focus areas.

Download: Detailed NOFO: Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program 2023
Download: Budget Template: SSH 2023 BUDGET Annex – log frame and projected
Download: Application Form: SSH2023-APPLICATION-FORM-Concept-Note


U.S. Embassy Kampala expects to have approximately $50,000 available to support five to eight organizations, subject to the availability of funding.  Grants are typically between $2,000 and $10,000 per project.  Project proposals should include a period of performance starting after September 2023 and concluding by September 2024.  The SSH Program receives hundreds of funding applications each year.  All submissions are reviewed in a competitive and transparent manner.  Given the limited funding available through the SSH Program, the U.S. Embassy can only fund a few projects each year.  Those projects that are short-listed will be contacted with additional details.  All other projects will receive a form letter response via email.  Unfortunately, detailed feedback for unsuccessful applicants will not be available.

This notice is subject to availability of funding.


C.1 Eligible Applicants

The U.S. Embassy Kampala Small Grants Office welcomes applications from all established Uganda-based, non-profit organizations/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), Community Based Organizations (CBO), and grassroots organizations.  The application must be submitted by an organization that is motivated, have a real need, and have already successfully implemented projects in the community.  The project should be feasible and based on the socioeconomic context of the local community.

To be eligible for funding, your project must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be community-based;
  2. Be initiated locally;
  3. Be administered at the local level; and
  4. Include substantial community participation and contributions in cash, labor, food, accommodation for qualified labor, carts of sand or gravel, bricks for construction, sand, fence, water supply, transportation costs, donations of and/or materials etc.
  5. Organizations that apply for SSH funds must be established and registered as Community Based Organizations (CBO) or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) at the local government level in the communities in which they work. Please provide registration certificate.
  6. Help improve basic economic or social conditions at the local community or village level and have long-lived value.
  7. The projects should be high impact, benefiting the greatest number of people possible.
  8. Funding is limited to one project, which must be completed within twelve (12) months or less.
  9. Projects must be self-sustaining upon completion. The U.S. Embassy’s support for the project must be a one-time-only/one grant contribution.
  10. Projects must be within the community’s ability to maintain and operate. Requests for large-scale agriculture or construction projects, or for expensive equipment are not considered priority projects.
  11. All applicants must display sound management in the form of financial and administrative procedures that protect against waste, fraud, and abuse.

C.2 Cost Sharing or Matching

Although providing a specific cost sharing, matching, or cost participation amount is not an eligibility requirement for this NOFO, the project proposal must include community participation and contributions in cash, labor, and/or materials as noted above in C.1.

C.3 Ineligible Expenses

The Self-Help Program may only pay for items and technical assistance that are necessary for the completion of the project.  The Self-Help Program cannot be used for administrative costs, salaries, costs associated with the project manager, or items that are not permanent in nature.

**Please Read Through This List Carefully**

The Special Self-Help Program does NOT fund:

  1. Requests to buy equipment like vehicles, motorcycles, office equipment, computers, phones, tablets, copiers, and stereos.
  2. Salaries or supervision costs for the supervising organization. Contingency estimates also do not qualify.
  3. Labor, salaries, operating costs, printing material, fuel, or land.
  4. Payment for pesticides and herbicides
  5. Proposals that have a purely police, military, or cultural emphasis.
  6. Religious projects unless they genuinely assist the whole community without regard to religious affiliation.
  7. Personal businesses.
  8. Scholarships, donations, start-up money, loans or honorariums.
  9. HIV/AIDS projects.
  10. Projects that focus on refugees or displaced persons. There are specific U.S. bilateral or multilateral assistance programs designed to address those needs.
  11. Projects that the community cannot continue after the SSH funding cycle has ended.
  12. Projects that have received prior SSH funds.
  13. To remodel or renovate an existing facility that is in disrepair because of neglect or lack of money.
  14. Office supplies such as pencils, paper, forms, and folders.
  15. Projects that are partially funded by another donor or from the Government of Uganda. Funds cannot be commingled with funds from other donors, international organizations or other U.S. government programs.
  16. SSH funds may not be used to buy previously owned equipment, luxury goods, or gambling equipment.
  17. Activities that are the responsibility of the government, for example, building hospitals.
  18. Activities that could potentially create tension within the community, harm community members, or damage the environment.
  19. Sports equipment or uniforms for a national sport team;
  20. Musical instruments or uniforms for a national orchestra or dance company.
  21. Surveillance equipment.
  22. Abortion-related facilities and services.
  23. Payments to government officials.
  24. Ceremonies, parties, celebrations, or ‘representational’ expenses.

C.4 Other

To be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity ID (UEI) Number or evidence of applying for a UEI.  Any selected organization will be required to have a UEI for the grant to be issued.  Organizations can register for a UEI at . Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System 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 Excluded Parties List System in SAM can participate in any activities under an award.

Lastly, 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.


D.1 Elements of successful projects

  • The project is initiated by the community.
  • The project benefits the greatest number of people within the community.
  • The project plan contains pre-established long-term goals and a coherent plan to keep the project running in the future.
  • A capable project manager who is a long-term resident in the community is responsible for the project.
  • The project is assisted by a non-biased umbrella organization, such as a religious mission or a local NGO that provides guidance and arbitration on issues when necessary.
  • There is strong coordination and communication amongst the grant-recipient group, local leaders, and local government representatives.
  • The project makes use of materials and supplies that can be maintained by the community, and the use of materials that will not harm the environment.

D.2 Acceptable Project Examples

  • Water Supply and Sanitation:
    1. Safe Water Access – Increase access to water (e.g., well drilling and spring capping); and expansion of water supply infrastructure, such as pumps and distribution systems.
    2. Basic Sanitation – Increase access to and use of sanitation services for safe human waste disposal to protect human health and environmental quality.
  • Small Scale Solar Projects:
    1. Install solar energy system at a youth center for middle/high school students.
    2. Install solar lights in a heavily trafficked trading center allowing for vendors to stay open longer and safer.

E.1 Address to Request Application Package

Applicants can find the required application forms on the U.S. Embassy Kampala website at or on  under the announcement title “Small Grants Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program,” funding opportunity number DOS-KAM-AMBSSH-FY22.

E.2 Content and Form of Application Submission

Complete applications must include the following:

  1. Complete the SSH 2023 application (Annex A)
  2. Completed Budget package (Annex B). Includes:
  3. Detailed line-item budget;
  4. Budget Narrative; and
  5. Activity logical framework with project timeline.
  6. A copy of the organization’s registration certificate, if available.
  7. A letter of approval for proposed project from the local development committee, tribal authority, and/or local town or district council.
  8. Original pro-forma invoices/quotations from the intended suppliers. Three quotes for each item are required.

All application materials must be submitted in English.  Please make a copy of your entire application for your own records.

Please note: The Small Grants Office retains the right to ask for additional documents not included in this NOFO.

E.3 Please note: Prior to receiving any funds, accepted applicants must have an active registration in SAM (, which requires a valid Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number

As noted in section C.4, the Small Grants Office may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable UEI and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Small Grants Office is ready to make an award, the Small Grants Office may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and give the award to another applicant.

The process for obtaining all these registrations can be lengthy and cumbersome.  We suggest any entity interested in receiving funding from the government of United States begin the process shortly after submitting their application, if possible.

E.4 Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Africa Time (EAT), on March 31, 2023, and must be made electronically to

Please submit the application package in Word and Excel format; do not submit as a PDF.


F.1 Criteria

Only complete applications will be evaluated.  The Proposal Review Committee will evaluate proposals according to several criteria, including:  Quality of project idea and impact on target group; Community participation and contribution in the project design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation; Project outreach/impact (i.e. cost per beneficiary); Feasibility of successful project implementation/impact (over a 1-year grant period); Sustainability; and Transparent and participatory beneficiary selection process.  Organizational capacity and past performance will also be considered.

F.2 Review and Selection Process

The Small Grants Office strives to ensure each application receives a balanced evaluation by a Review Panel.  The Small Grants Office will determine technical eligibility for all applications.  Proposals that meet the evaluation criteria and move on to the next level will be informed of next steps in the application process.  Non-eligible applicants will be notified that they are not being considered for funding


G.1 Federal Award Notices

The Small Grants Office will provide a separate notification to applicants on the result of their applications.  Successful applicants will receive a letter electronically via email requesting that the applicant respond to panel questions, conditions, and recommendations.  This notification is not an authorization to begin activities and does not constitute formal approval or a funding commitment.  Final approval is contingent on the applicant successfully responding to the panel’s conditions and recommendations, being registered in required systems, including SAM registration, unless an exemption is provided, and completing and providing any additional documentation requested by the Small Grants Office.

The notice of Federal award signed by the Department’s warranted grants officers is the sole authorizing document.

G.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements

The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards set forth in 2 CFR Chapter 200 (Sub-Chapters A through F) shall apply to all non-Federal entities, except for assistance awards to Individuals and Foreign Public Entities (for more information on these exceptions, see Chapters 5, Federal Assistance to Individuals, and 6, Federal Assistance to Foreign Public Entities Directive.)  Sub-Chapters A through E shall apply to all foreign organizations, and Sub-Chapters A through D shall apply to all U.S. and foreign for-profit entities.

The applicant/recipient of the award and any sub-recipient under the award must comply with all applicable terms and conditions, in addition to the assurance and certifications made part of the Notice of Award.  The Department’s Standard Terms and Conditions can be viewed at

G.3 Reporting

Applicants should be aware that the Small Grants Program awards will require that all reports (financial and progress) are submitted on a quarterly basis.  SSH requires grantees to adhere to specific procurement, reporting, and record-keeping requirements.  The Embassy will transfer the SSH funds to grantees via electronic funds transfer in two tranches, in U.S. dollars (the receiving bank will convert the funds to UGX at the current exchange rate).  Grantees are responsible for identifying reliable suppliers and obtaining invoices.  SSH encourages grantees to purchase materials from local vendors to the extent possible.

Information on this reporting will be forthcoming to final applicants.


For technical submission questions related to this solicitation, please contact the Small Grants Office at or +256 (0)414 306444.

Applications and additional guidelines are available at


Applicants should be aware that Small Grants Office understands that some information contained in applications may be considered sensitive or proprietary and will make appropriate efforts to protect such information.

Issuance of the NOFO and negotiation of applications does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government.  The Small Grants Office reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the project evaluation requirements.