Remarks by Ambassador James F. Entwistle – Ambassador’s Small Grants Program Signing Ceremony (October 30, 2015)

Abuja | October 30, 2015

(as prepared for delivery)

I am delighted to join you all this morning to recognize the promising work of 35 organizations covering 20 Nigerian states.  For over two decades, the U.S. Ambassador’s Small Grants Program has partnered with local NGOs throughout Nigeria, funding small community-based development projects.

Using funds from the U.S. State Department’s Special Self-Help Program and the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), the people of the United States support small, community-based development projects improving the living conditions of Nigerians within their home towns and villages.

This year, approximately $250,000 will fund the construction of classrooms, health clinics, community centers, food processing mills, boreholes, and latrines.  Those funds will also provide books, classroom furniture, laboratory equipment, carpentry equipment, and brick-making machines.  Finally, some funding will benefit communities affected by HIV/AIDS by addressing economic, nutritional, and hygienic needs.

You may ask, “Why is the U.S. government doing this?”  As a partner, the United States wants Nigeria to thrive.  Our direct assistance to improve basic economic and social conditions promotes a conscious responsibility to lift up society.  And we are always happy to help people who are trying to help themselves.

My first public engagement as U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria was the commissioning of a medical clinic in the Mapa community.  This clinic, supported by Small Grants Program, addresses the healthcare needs of expectant mothers and their children.

While the United States is proud to support the establishment of these projects, we take greater delight in seeing communities become self-reliant and self-sustaining, independent of assistance.  We remain confident that each community can maintain momentum and continue to grow for many years to come.

I congratulate each of today’s recipients for their proposals and the outstanding work that you will complete.  The United States considers our support of your projects as a significant investment in the Nigerian people that will generate huge returns.

Thank you.