The U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund
The Special Self-Help Fund (SSH) provides small-scale assistance to Cameroonian communities as part of the U.S. Government’s commitment to support development activities in Cameroon. Since 1983, the U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon has funded small community projects under this program in all ten regions of Cameroon. The maximum support available for most projects is USD 10,000 (or about 4.5 million francs CFA).
Basic Project Requirements
- Initiated by the community and benefits the community by increasing income or improving living conditions;
- Benefits a large number of people;
- Involves a significant local contribution such as labor, materials, land, equipment, or money;
- Within the ability of the community to operate and maintain;
- Completed within one year without requiring further Self-Help Fund assistance; and
- Respects environmental norms.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: THE SELF HELP PROGRAM CAN NO LONGER FUND ANY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Project Categories and Acceptable Activities and Items
- Water Supply and Sanitation: Ensures broadly accessible, reliable and economically sustainable water and sanitation services to bolster healthy, secure, and prosperous communities.
- Social Services: Improves the life and living conditions of special populations which may be vulnerable or at-risk on a temporary or chronic basis. These could include groups such as the disabled; orphans, children and at-risk youth; victims of gender-based violence; ethnic minorities, internally displaced or other socially excluded groups; the elderly; and female heads of household.
- Social Assistance: Provides financial or technical support for reforestation and soil conservation in post-conflict or post-disaster settings. Provides assistance to those suffering from temporary shocks resulting from economic reform.
Unacceptable Activities and Items
- Any type of construction project.
- Repair of existing facilities that are in poor shape as the result of neglect or lack of funds.
- Payment of recurring operating costs such as rent, salaries, administrative or operating costs, ongoing training/education needs, medications, fuel, animal feed, or seeds.
- Religious, political, or military activities, as well as those relating to police, prisons, or law enforcement.
- Revolving credit schemes.
- Office equipment and supplies such as computers, film projectors, stereos, pencils, paper, forms, folders, etc.
- Equipment or uniforms for national sport teams or national musical or dance groups.
- Land or buildings.
- Vehicles, luxury goods, gambling, or surveillance equipment.
- Abortion-related equipment and services.
- Pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides.
Funded Projects in 2011
In the year 2011, the U.S. Embassy was pleased to sponsor five SSH projects in five regions for a total of USD 50,000.
Table 1 – Projects Funded in 2011 by Region and Project Type
|Far North||Health Center construction|
|Littoral||Health Center construction|
|North West||School classrooms and office construction|
Selection and Award Process
The program is highly competitive; historically, less than ten percent of the applications received each year are selected. If a project is selected for consideration, someone from the U.S. Embassy will contact the applicant, verify the information, and visit the site.
Application deadline: Open season. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Selection period: January – August
Award period: September - December
How to Apply for the Fund
Complete and send the application form to the U.S. Embassy. Click here (PDF - 160KB) to download the application. You can also request the application by mail or in person through the SSH Office. The Self-Help Application Form is FREE of charge and the Embassy DOES NOT request any payment to receive and evaluate a project.
Embassy of the United States of America
B.P. 817 Yaounde
Telephone: 2220-1500 Ext. 4171
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 7:30 am - 5:00 pm and Friday 7:30 am - 12:30 pm