Small Grants Program

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 5 million francs CFA). Read more about it below.

Julia Taft Fund for Refugees

The Julia Taft Fund for Refugees is an initiative by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to respond to critical unmet needs of refugees. Created in 2000, the Julia Taft Fund for Refugees supports projects that fill gaps in refugee service not already being addressed by other organizations. The Julia Taft Fund for Refugees is meant to cover a one-time need of no more than $25,000 and cannot support a program for more than one year. Successful programs are those that can be implemented locally and that are not being addressed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), other international organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Read more about it below.

ARDF-Democracy, Human Rights and Governance- Fund

The purpose of ARDF – the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Fund is to strengthen democratic institutions, improve governance, and promote respect for human rights in Cameroon. The ARDF provides assistance to Cameroonian organizations that seek to implement short-term, highly targeted activities designed to show measurable results. Last year, ARDF funding supported organizations in all ten regions of Cameroon. Typical ARDF grants are approximately USD 20,000 (approximately 10 million francs FCFA); they may not exceed USD 25,000 (approximately 12.5 million francs FCFA). A single group may not apply for more than one grant in a given funding period. Organizations that have successfully partnered with development agencies in the past and that can provide audited financial statements will be more competitive for this program and stand a greater chance of receiving ARDF funding.

The U.S. Embassy will give priority to proposals that are creative and innovative and that utilize technology and modern media to reach a wide audience.

Introduction

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 the SSH program in all ten regions of Cameroon. The maximum support available for most projects is USD 10,000 (or about five 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.
  • 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.
    • Safe Water Access: Water pumps and distribution systems, well drilling, bore holes, spring capping.
    • Basic Sanitation: Toilets, sinks, etc. Innovative approaches to building demand for sanitation-related products and services are encouraged.
  • Social Services
    • Education and Training: Construction and/or equipment of schoolrooms, vocational training workshops/centers.
    • Health: Construction and/or equipment of health facilities.
    • Community Development: Foot bridges, community centers, solar energy, etc.
  • Income Generating Activities: Food storage facilities, grinding mills, vocational training activities that produce employment and marketable skills.
  • Environment/Agriculture: Financial or technical support for reforestation, and soil conservation including post-conflict or post-disaster settings, waste management, biodiversity conservation, and community agricultural projects.

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 2019

In the year 2019, the U.S. Embassy was pleased to sponsor six SSH projects in four regions for a total of USD 50,000.

Table 1 – Projects Funded in 2019 by Region and Project Type

Selection and Award Process

Project
Number
Region Project Type
1 Adamawa Construction of a primary school classroom, office, toilets and manufacturing of classroom desks
2 East Construction of two primary school classrooms
3 East Construction of a modern well and disinfection of eight water sources
4 South Production of improved cooking stoves and training of fish saleswomen in fish smoking
5 Southwest Construction of a borehole
6 Southwest Construction of primary school toilets and water stand taps

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: April 30. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.
Selection period: May – July
Award period: August-September

How to Apply for the Fund

Complete and send the application form to the U.S. Embassy. Click here (DOC 58 KB) to download the application. You can also request the application by e-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

Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund
Embassy of the United States of America
B.P. 817 Yaounde

Email: grantsyaounde@state.gov
Telephone: 22220-1500 Ext. 4171
Fax: 22220-1503
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 7:30 am – 5:00 pm and Friday 7:30 am – 12:30 pm

2020 Julia Taft Refugee Fund

The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon is pleased to announce the availability of funding opportunity through the 2020 Julia Taft Refugee Fund.

What is the Julia Taft Refugee Fund?

The Julia Taft Fund for Refugees is an initiative by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to respond to critical unmet needs of refugees. Created in 2000, the Julia Taft Fund for Refugees supports projects that fill gaps in refugee service not already being addressed by other organizations. The Julia Taft Fund for Refugees is meant to cover a one-time need of no more than $25,000 and cannot support a program for more than one year. Successful programs are those that can be implemented locally and that are not being addressed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), other international organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

What can the Julia Taft Refugee Fund support?

The Taft Fund is intended primarily to support projects that assist refugees and/or returnees. We will also consider support of projects that benefit both refugees/returnees and their host communities, with refugees representing 80% of the direct beneficiaries. Projects that target Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs), stateless persons and vulnerable migrants, will not be considered under this program. We cannot provide direct support to the local government, recommend a project funded the previous year, nor can we provide continued funding for a project as the Julia Taft Refugee Fund is meant to cover a one-time need and not a long-term program.

Projects Funded during the last cinq years

In the years 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, the U.S. Embassy was pleased to sponsor five JTF projects in three crisis-affected regions for a total of USD 124,300.

Year Region Project Type
2019 Adamawa Equipping a vocational training center, and training out-of-camp refugee women in Borgop and Ngam.
2018 East Construction and equipping of a comprehensive food-processing center for out-of-camp refugees in Kenzou.
2017 East Construction of five gender sensitive eco-toilet blocks around the Lolo Refugee Camp.
2016 Far-North Construction of two boreholes for out-of-camp refugees in Kerawa.
2015 East Construction of a specialized school for refugees in Mandjou.

 

Who is eligible to apply?

The Julia Taft Refugee Fund is limited to Cameroonian registered CBOs, associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with at least 2 years of experience working in Cameroon. Recipients of the previous year’s Julia Taft fund are not eligible for this year’s funds.

How can my organization apply for funding?

NGOs are invited to submit a grant proposal for their projects by January 20, 2020, using the standard U.S. Embassy format (attached – (PDF 239 KB)) via email to grantsyaounde@state.gov.

Please note the following guidelines when preparing proposals:

  • Project budgets cannot exceed $25,000.
  • Proposals should comply with the U.S. Embassy standard grant format (attached – (PDF 439 KB)).
  • Applicants must have a DUNS number and be registered in SAM.gov
  • Applicants must have a Code of Conduct, which must be consistent with the UN’s Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) recommendations on the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation.

Grant Application Form (PDF 307 KB)

Contact Information:

Julia Taft Refugee Fund
United States Embassy
Phone: 237- 222-20-1500 Ext: 4171 or 4075
E-mail: grantsyaounde@state.gov

Introduction

The purpose of the Africa Regional Democracy Fund (ARDF) for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance is to strengthen democratic institutions, improve governance, and promote respect for human rights in Cameroon.  The ARDF provides assistance to Cameroonian organizations that seek to implement short-term, highly targeted activities designed to show measurable results.  Last year, ARDF funding supported organizations in all 10 regions of Cameroon.  ARDF grants are using between USD 20,000-25,000 (10 million-12.5 million francs FCFA).  A single group may not receive more than one grant in a given funding period.  Organizations that have successfully partnered with international donors in the past with proven records will be more competitive for this program and stand a greater chance of receiving ARDF funding.

The U.S. Embassy will give priority to proposals that are creative and innovative and that utilize technology and modern media to reach a wide audience.

Basic Project Requirements  

The U.S. Embassy will consider funding under the ARDF Program only those projects that:

  • Have a funding ceiling of $25,000;
  • Are initiated by Cameroonian organizations (excluding the executive branch of the Cameroonian Government);
  • Promote political pluralism and respect for human and civil rights;
  • Benefit a large number of people;
  • Include activities, expenditures, and timelines that are consistent, reasonable, and within the ability of the organization to implement;
  • Can be completed within one year, without requiring further ARDF assistance; and
  • Respect environmental norms.

Project Categories and Acceptable Activities

  • Promote Accountable, Transparent, and Responsive Governance: 
  • Support local civil society entities, including think tanks, academic research, watchdog groups, media associations, journalists, and other civil society actors to advocate for legislative transparency, accountability, and oversight at all levels of government.
  • Provide specialized technical support to support democratic governance, with a particular focus on legislative oversight.
  • Promote Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms:
  • Support the protection, mitigation, and responses to human rights violations and abuses, in particular human rights violations affecting the most vulnerable, by strengthening human rights frameworks, institutions, and oversight.
  • Support local and key international human rights organizations and institutions to promote human rights systems, policies, and protection, with particular focus on women and youth.
  • Strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations, including faith-based organizations; and resident, vendor, or other associations through civic education and citizen participation to advocate for democratic rights and norms that advance public involvement in civic life.
  • Support Democratic Processes and Promotion of Strong Democratic Norms: 
  • Support political processes, such as peace processes and negotiations, which seek long-term democratization and respect for human rights and accountability, with a particular focus on empowering women, youth, and marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Unacceptable Activities and Items

ARDF funding may not be used to conduct the following activities or purchase the following items:

Paramilitary activities and activities that support police and other law enforcement forces (even if the proposed activity is consistent with programs described above);

  • Construction of buildings;
  • Purchase of vehicles;
  • Long-term (12 months or more) recurring administrative costs such as building or equipment maintenance, rent, office supplies, or administrative salaries;
  • Travel outside of the immediate region;
  • Conferences or workshops that lack a specific and clearly-articulated goal;
  • Research projects without a results-oriented component;
  • Humanitarian assistance or support for refugees (unless human rights related);
  • Activities that do not directly encourage or promote increased respect for civil and human rights;
  • Purchase of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, or fertilizers;
  • Activities to influence the outcome of elections; or
  • Training or advice, or support for police, prisons or other law enforcement forces, military or any program of internal intelligence or surveillance.

Funded Projects since 2017

Since 2017, the U.S. Embassy has sponsored 63 ARDF projects for a total of USD 1,000,000.  Some of the themes of projects that received funding included:

For Civic Education:

  • Training of municipal-level CSO networks on participatory planning, budgeting, and budgeting expenditure tracking within the framework of decentralization and peace building
  • Teaching women and youth in low income areas about good governance, civic engagement, anti-corruption, democracy, sustainable development, and environmental issues
  • Training of local and regional actors on strategies for implementing inclusion of Persons With Disabilities and Indigenous people in local governance

For Elections support:

  • Engagement of youth and CSOs on promotion of citizen participation and electoral transparency through elections observation
  • Mobilization of youth and women leaders for strong and nonviolent involvement in the electoral process
  • Community mobilization for greater participation of women, indigenous people, Persons With Disability, and youth in the electoral process
  • Strengthening of the skills of members of media, CSOs, and political parties for an impartial, free, and fair election process

For Human Rights Systems, Protection and Policies:

  • Education of communities on the rights of children, widows, women, and minorities
  • Facilitation of the issuance of civil documentation for indigenous people and IDPs
  • Provision of legal assistance to detainees and promotion of the use of Habeas Corpus
  • Protection of Human Rights defenders and dissemination of human rights international standards
  • Combatting Trafficking in Persons, child abuse, Sexual and Gender-based Violence in schools and traditional settings

Selection and Award Process

The program is highly competitive; historically, less than 10 percent of applicants receive funding each year.  If a project is selected for consideration, someone from the U.S. Embassy will contact the applicant.  The selection committee will base its decision on the potential impact, feasibility, and financial soundness of the proposed activity.  The committee will consider the track record of the organization proposing the activity as well as its contribution to the project.

Selection Timeline

Application Deadline:     June 4, 2020
Selection Period:   July – August 2020
Award Period:       August – September 2020

How to Apply for Funding

Complete and send the application form to the U.S. Embassy.  Click here(PDF – 997KB) to download the application.  You can also request the application by mail or in person through the Political and Economic Section.  The Africa Regional Democracy Fund Application Form is FREE of charge and the Embassy DOES NOT request any payment to receive and evaluate a project.

ARDF Guideline:  Click here (PDF – 379KB)

Contact Information

Address:   Africa Regional Democracy Fund
Embassy of the United States of America
B.P. 817 Yaoundé

Email:             grantsyaounde@state.gov
Telephone:      22220-1500 Ext. 4171 or 4070
Fax:                22220-1503

Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 7:30 am – 5:00 pm and
Friday 7:30 am – 12:30 pm

Please click here for French versions of U.S. Department of State required grant application forms. These forms must be submitted in English, but French translations are provided as a guide to assist you in completing them.