Small Grant Programs

A. Background

The United States African Development Foundation (ADF) is an independent Federal agency established to support African‐designed and African‐driven solutions that address grassroots economic and social problems. USADF provides grants of up to $250,000 directly to underserved and marginalized community groups and enterprises. The grants help organizations create tangible benefits such as increasing or sustaining the number of jobs in a community, improving income levels, and addressing social development needs.

USADF is seeking to pair with the Ambassadors’ Special Self Help program (SSH) to reach our common goal of providing small grants for community driven development projects. Like the SSH programs, USADF’s mandate directs USADF to support projects which community groups undertake to foster their own development. Additionally, USADF’s mission includes the responsibility to ensure that funded projects focus on providing maximum benefit to poor and marginalized populations that include communities with incomes below the national per capita income level who may be in underserved geographic locations, have gender based needs, are persons with disabilities, and / or have youth oriented needs.

B. Program Characteristics

  • Grant Size: Up to $20,000 (preferably $5,000 ‐ $10,000)
  • Duration: Up to 12 months
  • Review Cycles: Open
  • Disbursements: Direct to Grantee or Third Party, Usually only 1 or 2 disbursements.
  • Monitoring: Closeout Report

C. Application Process

In order to simplify the USADF funding process to accommodate the Self Help programs in various countries, USADF will rely on the application and screening processes required by the individual Ambassadors’ Special Self Help Programs. To support the decision to fund a particular project, when submitting the application to USADF, a Site Visit Report and a Recommendation from the Self Help Coordinator should also be submitted.

During the Site Visit, the Self Help Coordinator will work with the applicant to refine the project activities and budget. The recommendation to fund can be included in the Site Visit Report or as a separate memo as long as it confirms that the applicant meets the Self Help funding criteria and the seven USADF eligibility requirements (listed below). The recommended funding should be provided in USD. In cases where there is not a defined project application, the proposals submitted to USADF should include the following minimum information:

Minimum Application Requirements:

  1. Country Name
  2. Project Name
  3. Project Supervisor Name
  4. Contact Information
  5. Group Name
  6. Group Description (general organizational summary)
  7. Project Location
  8. Project Description (proposed activities)
  9. Project Budget
  10. Community Contribution to Project
  11. Other Donor Sources (specify if group has received other USADF funding)
  12. Project Start and Completion Dates
  13. Project Sustainability Description
  14. Number of Project Beneficiaries (direct and indirect; total and women)
  15. Site Visit Report from Self Help Fund Coordinator
  16. Recommendation to Fund confirming the group satisfies USADF eligibility requirements.

USADF Eligibility Requirements:

Organization Eligibility Requirements:

  1. The organization must consist solely of indigenous Africans.
  2. The organization and/or its members are nationals of the host country.
  3. The organization must be a legally registered African entity.
  4. The organization has successfully worked together and has the potential to productively utilize development funds.
  5. The ownership and management must be in agreement on the problem to be addressed and have a commitment to benefit their community.
  6. The organization represents a marginalized or under‐served community.
  7. The outcome of the project must provide real (measurable) benefits to the community. Benefits include job creation, increased incomes levels, improved market access, and quality of life improvements.

D. Grant Award Process

Once projects are approved at the embassy through the normal Self Help program process, USADF will review grant submissions to concur that they comply with the USADF mission.

USADF’s review of proposed projects is heavily informed by the assessment of the Self Help Coordinator. However, there are some proposed activities or applicant groups that USADF does not fund through the small grants program:

  • government entities
  • construction of schools, clinics, or other non‐income generating facilities
  • permanent construction
  • activities that pose significant risk to the environment (i.e. use of hazardous materials)
  • groups who have already received USADF grant funds for the same grant activity

Once approved, USADF will prepare the Grant Agreement documents and send them to the Self Help Coordinator. The Self Help Coordinator will explain the Grant Agreement terms to the grantee before the documents are signed by the grantee. The signed documents should be immediately returned to USADF, preferably in advance of the first disbursement request.

E. Disbursement Process

All disbursements will be sent via direct deposit to the bank account of the grantee or a designated third party vendor. Depending on the policy of the Self Help programs in various countries, either proforma quotes or receipts for purchased items should accomp any the Disbursement Request. The Disbursement Request Form will be sent along with the Grant Agreement.

USADF will send grant funds in one or two disbursements based on the policies of the Self Help programs in various countries. Disbursements can be transferred in a local currency equal to or less than the USD value indicated on the grant agreement. The currency of the disbursement request should be indicated on Disbursement Request Form. The first disbursement request should be submitted to USADF in the first month of the grant. All disbursement requests must be received at least 2 months prior to the end of the project period and all grant funds must be spent on approved grant activities prior to the end of the grant period. If grant funds are not spent during the grant period, the grantee must return the unused funds to USADF.

Disbursement Requirements:

  1. Letter on bank stationary with account name, account number, bank address and bank

SWIFT Code for Electronic Transfer;

  1. Disbursement Request form
  2. Proforma quotes for requested purchases and or receipts for purchased items

Note: No date limit for receive requests; they are received continuously.

Useful Addresses:

African Development Foundation (ADF)
Embassy of United States of America
B.P. 413 N’Djamena, Republic of Chad
Phone 235 2251 70009,Ext. 4549


The Democracy and Human Rights Fund Activity (DHRF) is one of a variety of programs used by the U.S. government (USG) to promote and defend civil and political rights, strengthen democratic institutions and civil society, and foster democratic values and practices in the states of Sub-Saharan Africa.  It was authorized in May 2000, building upon the foundation laid by the original Democracy and Human Rights Fund (DHRF).  Embassies have recognized the impact that DHRF and DHRF II activities have made in strengthening nascent civil society groups that lack access to financial or organizational support.

The DHRF II provides grants to indigenous organizations for small, focused, high-impact, and short-term (one year) activities that promote or defend democratic institutions, civil society, an independent judiciary, free and fair electoral processes, freedom of religion, and human rights.  Activities are completed within 12 months of the signing of the grant agreement, and are designed to achieve measurable results.  No funds may be used, directly or indirectly, to influence the outcome of any election in any country.

Goal and Purpose of the DHRF Activity

Civil society is essential to sustainable democracy and good governance. If capable and accountable government agencies are the supply side of democracy and good governance, civil society is the demand side.  It forms a vital link between the clients and the providers of government services, and plays a necessary role in promoting and defending civil and political rights, without which democracy cannot take hold or endure.

The DHRF II allocates grants to small, highly focused, short-term, high-impact activities proposed by dedicated indigenous organizations to promote and defend civil and political rights.  Beyond the direct impact made by the activities it funds, DHRF II builds civil society capacity by supporting organizations that are struggling to establish themselves and would otherwise lack the resources to acquire greater influence in society.

Civil and political rights are defined and elaborated in the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  These internationally recognized rights are also often enshrined or expanded upon in national statutes.  Activities that promote the rule of law, political pluralism, domestic civil and legal rights, or the right to free religious belief and practice fall under this definition. Any other use of the DHRF is prohibited by law.

The DHRF II does not fund on-going, multi-year activities or long-term institutional capacity building.  It does not support development-oriented projects, humanitarian assistance, or the promotion of rights described in the United Nations’ International Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights.

Areas of Intervention of the Democracy and Human Rights Fund 698-0541

The projects which could be funded human rights must:

  • be implemented within a period not exceeding one year
  • towards concrete actions
  • touch a significant number of individuals

The areas of intervention are as follows:

  • promotion and defense of the human rights
  • reform and the strengthening of the judicial system
  • support to parliaments
  • civic education
  • promotion and defense of the rights of the women and children
  • support to the electoral process
  • prevention and conflict resolution
  • support for media outlets

Criteria of Selection of Projects to Fund with Democracy of Human Rights Fund 698-0541

The funding request will be reviewed by a human rights Committee of officials at the Embassy of the United States taking into account the below listed selection criteria:

The request shall:

  • follow the format developed for bidders to this Fund and containing full information;
  • demonstrate its relationship with democracy and human rights, highlighting the impact on beneficiaries;
  • present a budget with reasonable costs and a realistic timetable;
  • demonstrate that the bidder has adequate administrative capacity to complete the proposed activities and to provide an accurate accounting of expenses incurred;
  • agree with the priorities set by the Embassy of the United States of America in its annual work Program.

This Fund may not lend itself to fund the following costs:

  • purchase of vehicles;
  • the purchase of the premises or long term rental;
  • support to the police or the army;
  • propaganda;
  • the supervision of political parties;
  • the payment of wages; operating costs in the long term (except those who come to be created);
  • the resumption of funding for the same activity for two consecutive years;
  • the construction or maintenance of buildings;
  • and intercontinental travel.

Presentation of a Funding Application to Democracy and Human Rights Fund 698-0541

The funding request for human rights should follow the format shown below:

I. Details on the organization

  • name of the organization
  • address
  • phone number
  • name and title of the person who is responsible for the management and monitoring of the Project

II.     Description of the organization

  • date of the organization creation
  • place where the bidder or and many branches seat
  • number of members
  • funding indicative
  • presentation of activities already carried out

III.   Presentation of the project

  • objective: what will be the impact of the project?  Who will be the beneficiaries and how much will they be?
  • calendar: starting date, closing date, duration of its implementation and the relationship between this project and other activities undertaken during the same period
  • total cost of the project, cost to be covered by the bidder, cost which will be covered by other sources of financing and the costs for which it seeks funding from the Embassy of the United States of America

IV.    Budget

  • presentation detailed by budget headings

Note: no date limit for receiving requests; they are received continuously.

Useful addresses:

Embassy of the United States of America
Democracy and Human Rights Fund
B.P. 413 N’Djamena, Republic of Chad
Phone 235 2251 70009, ext. 4549

General Information

The main objective of the “Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program” is to demonstrate the interest of the United States Government for the social and economic well-being of the communities that strive to take care. The immediate objective of the program is to support local initiatives already undertaken or envisaged involving a significant Community contribution so that these efforts of self-promotion.

Selection Criteria

The project should:

  • improve the economic or social conditions at the level of the community or village;
  • support activities that
  • may come to end within a short time (less than 12 months),
  • will have concrete results, amenable to objective measures,
  • will affect a large number of beneficiaries;
  • have an important local contribution (in-kind, labor or cash whose value amounts to 25% of the total cost of the project, at least);
  • come from the community itself, without exceeding its means to maintain or operate the project in a sustainable manner;

The appropriations for the Embassy CANNOT finance:

  • activities denominational or military;
  • insecticides or pharmaceutical products;
  • recurring costs (salaries, rent, water and electricity);
  • the Working Capital Fund;
  • vehicles;
  • the training, except in the specific case where a large number of individuals in the community can benefit;
  • labor and wages, except in exceptional cases;
  • two projects in the same community, except in exceptional cases.

On average, the funds allocated by the Embassy are of the order of $7,000, approximately FCFA 5 million. Applications for funding can be slightly above this average as these are located below.

Presentation of a Funding Application

The funding request must include the elements set out below:

I. Details on the Bidder

  • name of the group/association/community
  • location (village, township, Sous-préfecture, Department)
  • staff
  • name and address of the responsible Chief
  • presentation of the works already carried out

II. Presentation of the Project

  • title of the project
  • objectives
  • participants (who does what for the implementation of the project?)
  • beneficiaries (who will be the beneficiaries and how much will they?)
  • time limit for the implementation of the project (from the signing of the memorandum of understanding)
  • continuation of activities at the end of the project (sustainability)

III. Budget

  • a detailed presentation of expenditure by budget item
  • the total cost of the project: costs to be covered by the bidder,.
  • and costs for which it seeks funding from the Embassy

IV . Documents to be attached

  • a letter of authorization or support of a local authority
  • a letter of official recognition

V. Please send applications to the address below:

Note : no date limit for receiving requests; they are received continuously.

Useful addresses:

Embassy of the United States of America
Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program
B.P. 413 N’Djamena, Republic of Chad
Phone 235 2251 70009, ext. 4549