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The U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund

Funding opportunity #: AFYDE-SSH-GR-POLECON-2016


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.

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

  • 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 2014

In the year 2014, the U.S. Embassy was pleased to sponsor six SSH projects in five regions for a total of USD 50,000.  

Table 1 – Projects Funded in 2014 by Region and Project Type

RegionProject Type



Far North Classroom Construction



Center Construction of fence around school for the deaf 



South West  Construction of surgical room for clinic



Adamoua  Classrooms Construction



South West  Footbridge Construction

North West
Water catchment site protection 

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. 

Selection Timeline

Application deadline:  March 31 for current year but applications are accepted                                  on an ongoing basis.
Selection period:        April through June 
Award period:            August-September

How to Apply for the Fund 

Complete and send the application form to the U.S. Embassy.  Click here (DOC - 149 KB) 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.

Contact Information

Self-Help Fund
Embassy of the United States of America
B.P. 817 Yaounde

Telephone:      22220-1500 Ext. 4235
Fax:                22220-1503
Office Hours:   Monday through Thursday 7:30 am - 5:00 pm and Friday 7:30 am - 12:30 pm 

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