Since TheGrantHelpers is based in the United States our blogs have been mostly about funding sources in the U.S. In response to growing requests from organizations in other countries, we will occasionally describe opportunities for grants on foreign soil. In this blog we mention a grant source available to organizations in countries with a U.S. embassy: the American Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund (AASHF).
Grants for Community Improvement
In every country where a U.S. Embassy is found, the Ambassador has a program that provides small grants to registered self-help groups, youth groups, community based organizations, and specific types of educational institutions and medical facilities. The objective is to assist groups in the development of projects that improve living conditions in their communities.
This fund will not support the start of a project or activity, but may fund the expansion of an existing project. Projects supported by this fund are expected to be completed and serving the community within one year. Only projects that have strong community involvement and significant community benefit, and produce ongoing, self-sustaining activities are eligible for funding. The AASHF entertains proposals in the range of $1,000 to $10,000; however the average grant awarded is $3,000 to $7,000.
Eligibility Varies by Embassy
Eligible applicants are Self-Help Groups that are registered through the District Gender and Social Development Office and should have been registered and working together successfully for at least two years before making application to the AASHF. Each country has specific requirements. Even the AASHF acronym might differ among countries. In some countries NGOs are not eligible for grants while in others they are. One example of the program is the U.S. Embassy in Lesotho. To find the program for a country, Google “US Ambassador Self-Help Fund” and the name of the country.
What to Include in a AASHF Grant Application
A carefully prepared application form, as well as the inclusion of all required attachments, is necessary for a project proposal to be considered complete. The group and benefiting community must contribute 25% or more toward the total cost of the project (not just 25% of the amount requested from the AASHF). Community contributions can consist of materials, labor, cash, or any combination thereof. Among the contributions, applicants should always plan to contribute unskilled labor and transportation costs.
The application forms are not difficult to complete. Usually there is an annual deadline that differs from country to country. Just go online to the U.S. Embassy website to get an application form and read the conditions. What is important is to demonstrate responsible fiscal and program management of the project. You are encouraged to take photos and get letters of appreciation from local leaders for the completed project. Building credibility will help your organization position itself for larger funding from other donors later.
TheGrantHelpers.com can advise you on developing a successful application, from general guidance and review to more details proposal construction and submission. Contact us for a free initial consultation.