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2023 Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program – Notice of Funding Opportunity: Statement of Interest
February 28, 2023

Funding Opportunity Title: 2023 Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program
Funding Opportunity Number: NGA-POLECON-GR-23-002-022423
Deadline for Applications: April 30, 2023
CFDA Number: 19.220
Total Amount Available: $75,000


The U.S. Embassy Abuja announces an open competition for organizations to submit a statement of interest (SOI) to carry out projects through the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (ASSH) Small Grants Program.

Please carefully follow all instructions below.

The submission of the SOI is the first step in a two-step process.  Applicants must first submit a concise (two-page) statement of interest designed to clearly communicate program idea and objectives.  This is not a full proposal.

The purpose of the SOI process is to allow applicants to submit program ideas for evaluation prior to requiring the development of a full proposal application.  Upon a merit review of eligible SOIs, selected applicants will be invited to expand on their program idea by submitting a full proposal application.  Full proposals will go through a second merit review before final funding decisions are made. 

Program Objectives: 

ASSH is a grassroots grant assistance program that provides modest grants for small scale community development activities that improve living conditions.  The program is intended to be flexible and allow the Ambassador to respond directly to requests from local communities for assistance with projects that have immediate impact, and further Mission priorities.  ASSH is structured to encourage communities to be self-reliant and undertake similar activities on their own in the future.  The U.S. contribution will be a set amount on a one-time basis only.


Economic diversification and creation of opportunities

Projects that generate sustainable revenue and create employment opportunities in local communities benefiting these beyond individual group members.  Projects should advance economic diversification at the grassroots level and promote a culture of entrepreneurship, including women-led entrepreneurship and innovation that can be replicated locally.  Projects should encourage the use of locally sourced natural resources for income generation through diversified agricultural practices.

Social inclusion and services

Projects that aim to improve the lives of vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, the elderly and female heads of household.  This includes access to basic services such as water and sanitation.

Youth and child development

Projects that create opportunities for youth, including employment, or enable access to and enhance early childhood and primary education.

Environment and community-based natural resource management

Projects that expand effective community ownership and management of natural resources, promote the conservation of natural resources, build resilience and increase the capacity to adapt to environmental changes.



To meet the following criteria to be eligible for consideration, projects must:

  • Help improve basic economic or social conditions on a small community scale and has a long-term value.
  • Have high impact, benefit a significant number of community members and have a high beneficiary to budget ratio.
  • Be initiated by the community, demonstrate strong community involvement and participation.
  • Be feasible and based on the socio-economic context of the community.
  • Include a community contribution of 10% or more of the total cost of the project. This may be in cash or in kind, such as volunteer time and labor, food, accommodation costs, donated land, transportation costs, equipment, and materials.
  • Aim to be completed within 6 – 12 months and be self-sustaining upon completion. The project plan contains pre-established long-term goals and a coherent plan to keep the project running in the future.
  • Identify a real need, demonstrate that benefitting community can maintain and operate the project as evidenced by implementing prior successful projects.
  • Show that applicant organization is financially responsible as evidenced by a bank account in its name.
  • Illustrate strong coordination and communication among the applicant, local leaders, and local government representatives.
  • Be submitted by an organized group that is motivated and a capable project manager who is a long-term resident in the community is responsible for the project.
  • Not request U.S. contribution amount above $10,000.
  • Have a project budget that is clear, complete, and well defined, and includes only items permanent in nature or technical assistance necessary for the completion of project.

The following is not eligible for funding:

  • Projects relating to partisan political activity, including fund raising campaigns.
  • Personal expenses for an individual.
  • Private businesses.
  • Purchase and set up of surveillance equipment.
  • Creating, continuing, or supplementing technical assistance programs.
  • Duplication of other U.S. Government programs.
  • Projects that would benefit, either personally or politically, to any employee of the U.S. Government, or the spouse or family member of a U.S. Government employee.
  • Charitable or donation related activities.
  • Projects that support specific religious or military activities, as well as those relating to police, prisons, or other law enforcement.
  • Projects that have purely cultural emphasis.
  • Large-scale agriculture or construction projects.
  • Scientific research.
  • Costs associated with the project manager.
  • Projects intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the applying organization. This includes vehicles and office equipment and supplies.
  • Purchase of alcohol, medicine, school uniforms, school fees.
  • Support for educational or other facilities used to a significant degree by U.S. employees or their dependents.
  • Support for abortion-related facilities and services.
  • Purchase or production of toxic or otherwise unsafe products such as herbicides, pesticides or hazardous chemicals.
  • Salaries for applying organization staff or contractors.
  • Purchase of food, refreshments, food parcels; medicines and other consumables
  • Support for private nurseries, or public/government schools unless through involvement of a Parent-Teacher Association.
  • Training costs.
  • Travel costs.
  • “Startup” or “Seed” capital or loans.
  • Previously owned equipment, luxury goods, or gambling equipment.
  • Funds to remodel or renovate an existing facility that is in disrepair because of neglect or lack of money.
  • Projects that are partially funded by another donor or the Government of Nigeria. Funds cannot be commingled with funds from other donors, international organization, or other U.S. government programs.
  • Other activities barred by the Foreign Assistance Act, or the ASSH program. 

Participants and Audiences: 

  • The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program will only accept proposals from non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations registered on the federal or state level in Nigeria that work directly with communities.
  • Strong preference will be given to established, local, grassroots groups based within the communities where the projects are implemented.
  • Groups that have been funded through the Ambassador’s Special-Self Help program in the past are not eligible.
  • For-profit, commercial entities and private businesses are not eligible.
  • Individuals are not eligible. 



Length of performance period: 6 to 12 months
Number of awards anticipated: Approximately 10 awards (dependent on amounts)
Award amounts: Awards may range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $10,000
Type of Funding: Funding authority rests in FY 21/22 Economic Support Funds under the Foreign Assistance Act, U.S. Department of State
Anticipated program start date: October 1, 2023
Funding Instrument Type: Grant 

This notice is subject to availability of funding. 



  1. Eligible ApplicantsThe following organizations are eligible to apply:
    1. Non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations legally registered in Nigeria
    2. Established, local, grassroots groups legally registered in Nigeria
  1. Cost Sharing or MatchingA community contribution of at least 10% or more of the total cost of the project is required.  Applicants must demonstrate a substantial commitment by contributing to the project in cash or in kind as described in the project requirements section.
  1. Other Eligibility RequirementsIn order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov.  Please see Section E.4 for more information.  

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.


  1. Content and Form of Application SubmissionPlease follow all instructions below carefully.

    SOIs that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.


Content of SOI must include:

  •  Project name and location address, including geographic coordinates, legal name, status and address of applying organization, contact name, email address and phone number
  • A brief project description summarizing goals, objectives, outcomes, performance indicators, description of target groups and number of direct and indirect beneficiaries, and proposed timeline. Please ensure that the proposal clearly addresses the objectives and project requirements stated in Section A of this notice.
  • Introduction to the applying organization including a description of past and present operations as well as information on previous grants from the U.S. government and other donors.
  • A clear statement of the applicant’s organizational capacity to carry out the proposed activity and manage U.S. Government funds.
  • Total budget amount in U.S. dollars at the official rate including a brief description of costs and community contribution. Do not include Nigerian Naira amounts. Budgets using Nigerian Naira amounts will deem the application ineligible.
  • Signature and contact information of a community leader residing in the beneficiary community. Community leaders include local municipal leaders, religious leaders, civil society leaders, or any governing body that has oversight over where the project will be implemented.  One community leader can sign the statement of interest; however, multiple signatures are strongly encouraged.

Please ensure:

  • All documents are in English
  • All pages are numbered
  • SOI does not exceed 2 pages


  1. Submission Dates and TimesSOIs are due no later than April 30, 2023.
  1. Funding RestrictionsAny costs incurred in preparation of your proposal or in advance of an award will not be reimbursed. 
  1. Other Submission Requirements

The SOIs are to be submitted via email to:


  • Subject line of the email should state: 2023 ASSH SOI – Name of applicant organization (as appropriate)
  • SOIs should be attached as one PDF document, submissions in other formats will deem the application ineligible.
  • We are unable to access google docs or other links, documents sent through a link will deem the application ineligible.
  • Documents that are not readable due to low scan resolution will deem the application ineligible.


  1. CriteriaEach SOI will be evaluated and rated based on the evaluation criteria outlined below.

    Quality of Program Idea (maximum 5 points): The SOI is responsive to the program framework.  The idea is communicated well and is feasible.  The SOI promotes a creative approach to address program objectives.

    Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants (maximum 5 points): The SOI demonstrates the organization’s expertise and previous experience in administering programs in its stated field.

    Number of Beneficiaries (maximum 5 points): The number of people to benefit directly and indirectly is realistic and high.

    Budget (maximum 5 points): Costs are realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.  Budget is in line with the grant amount ranges and limitations denoted in this notice.  Applicant demonstrates community contribution.


  1. Review and Selection ProcessA Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible SOIs.  All eligible SOIs will be reviewed against the criteria listed above.  SOIs are reviewed individually against the criteria and not against competing SOIs.  For a fair review all panelists will review the first page of the SOI up to the page limit and no further.  The panel may provide conditions and/or recommendations on SOIs to enhance the proposed program.  Conditions must be addressed, and recommendations should be addressed, in a full proposal application.
  1. Following the review, only successful SOI applicants will be contacted before May 31, 2023 and instructed to submit full applications. A full application will include:
    • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
    • SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs) 
  1. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

Required Registrations:

All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.

Note:  As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.

The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number.  Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.

 Note:  The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  Please begin your registration as early as possible.

  • Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
  • Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code. I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions: 

Step 1:  Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process. SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions: 

Step 1:  Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:

NCAGE Homepage:  https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/sc/CageList.aspx

NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):


An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:

  • An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
  • For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.

Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request.  Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.


  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: Before submitting the SOI, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply if a full proposal application is requested and awarded, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include:

2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/about-us-office-of-the-procurement-executive/.


If you have any questions about the SOI application process, please contact: abujash@state.gov