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Diplomacy in Action

Special Self-Help Programs: Individual Country Programs

Sep 23, 2003 - One of 25 houses to be occupied by orphans who graduated from the Centro Arnaldo Jannsen professional training program to become carpenters, furniture makers, electricians, and welders.Angola:  In FY-03, post had to choose from over 75 proposals totaling approximately $600,000. The eight activities finally selected reflected efforts to expand income-generating and self-sustaining activities in the provinces and included projects on "Traditional Midwife Training" and "Helping People with Disabilities join the Economy."


Charge d'Affaires of Embassy Cotonou David Brown, fifth from right,  assists local officials of Dassa Zoume with a ribbon cutting honoring the acquisition, with SSH funds, of a mini tractor which will help villagers cultivate their rice fields

Benin:  In FY 2003, the Ambassador's Special Self-Help program was able to meet the needs of Benin by focusing on projects that improve educational opportunities, the environment and agriculture.  With the help of local Peace Corp Volunteers, the realization of these projects will help reduce illiteracy, deforestation, poverty, health problems, and juvenile delinquency throughout Benin.   For example, the construction of an orphanage at Athieme-Mono will improve the living conditions of thirty-five orphaned children by providing them a safe and healthier place to grow.

Botswana:   Self-Help endeavors in Botswana often focus directly on women by helping to improve their quality of life through economic empowerment and health-related projects, such as HIV/AIDS education and prevention, income-generating projects, and childcare initiatives.  In FY 2003, Embassy Gaborone funded 14 projects in seven regions throughout Botswana, which, however, represented only 20% of the many viable requests it had received.   

A straw shelter used as classroom for 52 children in Kada, Burkina FasoBurkina Faso:  Embassy Ouagadougou reports that its Self-Help contributions continue to have a revolutionary impact. In FY 2003, they benefited women's organizations in seven villages, making it possible for women who have had to struggle all their lives to provide for their basic needs to now generate adequate income for themselves and their families. Self-Help activities further aided in the construction or improvement of shools to alleviate the classroom shortage that prevents 70 percent of Burkinabe children from going to school, and provided for the availability of potable water through several well-digging projects.

 Ladies embroidering with small girl on tabletop.

Burundi:   Embassy Bujumbura received approximately 300 proposals for FY 2003 funding due to the continuing erosion of Burundi's economy and crucial need for humanitarian assistance. Included in the selected activities were those for refurbishing and renovating several primary and secondary schools, potato and vegetable farming, and the construction of a bakery. Other proposals focused on the construction or expansion of sewing centers, bakeries, and soap factories, as well as the rehabilitation of a bridge.  

Peace Corps Volunteer Kevin Tice helps build a Springbox for the women of Tchangue, Cameroon.  [Photo taken September 2003 by Kevins counterpart Hans Mvondo,]Cameroon: FY 2003-funded SSH projects included the fabrication of classroom furniture, providing equipment for two women's vocational training centers, and assisting with the building of a grain storage facility in the North Province. Also included were the construction of several wells, as well as a wildlife education and conference center in the Southwest Province to raise wildlife conservation awareness. All activities were widely publicized via radio and print media coverage.


Beneficiaries of a basic sanitation project on Santo Antao, inaugurated by Deputy Chief of Mission James Knight. [Photo taken by Embassy Praia Special Self-Help Coordinator Maria Brito, Oct. 25, 2003]Cape Verde: Five activities in crucial areas of development were funded by Embassy Praia in FY 2003, one of which was a basic sanitation project. Located on Santo Antao, it involved the construction of a community septic tank in the high mountainside of the island and its connection to the main sewer system way below at the seashore. The difficult execution of the undertaking was well justified in that it improved the quality of life of close to one hundred families.

Central African Republic:  Embassy operations were suspended in November 2002.

Women from the village of Mamdi collecting water from a borehole water well. [Photo taken Feb 9, 2004 by Embassy Self-Help Coordinator Les McBride]Chad:  From among more than 200 project proposals, Embassy N'Djamena was able to finance only 11 in FY-03. The selected activities, with a special focus on women's groups, included artisanal manufacturing; the dredging and widening of a large pond for livestock; and the construction of fords across river beds for market access. The projects are spread throughout eight of Chad's 18 regions.

Comoros:  Embassy Port Louis, which administers the Special Self-Help Program with the help of American missionaries and a Liaison Representative, reports that the political and economic deterioration of Comoros has resulted in limited to nonexistent resources for basic needs. Thus, SSH funds are more than ever needed in aiding community-based education, as well as projects geared toward women and children.  

Congo/Brazzaville: Post selected two large projects for FY 2003: One was designed to establish a center to teach young unemployed women and girls raised in poverty and with interrupted or inadequate access to schools how to support themselves by designing and producing clothing. The other project was chosen to establish a center to teach handicapped women sewing and clothing design to give them a means of self-support. Both of these activities will give the most vulnerable sectors of Brazzaville's women to be self-sufficient, improving not only their own lives, but also those of future generations.

Cote d'Ivoire:  During FY 2003, post continued to fund mostly income-generating projects, which encourage pride of ownership and thus better motivate communities and cooperatives to satisfy other basic needs on their own. In selecting activities, regional diversity and gender equity were taken into account as selection criteria, with women's cooperatives and vulnerable children remaining a preference.

Djibouti: In FY-03, Embassy Djibouti selected 22 projects that were dispersed throughout the country.  Accessing water by building underground cisterns or digging wells was a major priority.  Projects provided farmers with water pumps, wells, and other agricultural equipment in order to improve land usage. Within the urban area, skill development for the young through computer and vocational workshops was the main focus.   

Street children seated around Embassy Special Self-Help Coordinator, Rebecca Ward.Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC):  Embassy Kinshasa selected ten SSH activites for FY-03, all of which are aimed at improving socio-economic conditions.  One such project allowed the purchase of a generator to provide electricity for a Kikongo/Bandundu hospital's operating room; another will benefit 2,800 Kinshasa households without funds to buy essential nutritional food for their children; a third will fund the construction of five bridges across small rivers in the Bulungu-Panu area that will play a key role in connecting schools, markets, hospitals, and social centers.   

Equatorial Guinea: FY-03 funds were used to excavate and install two high-quality, durable community wells in the villages of Ayabifilia and Messeng-Abain, where, currently, villagers travel approximately three kilometers to obtain potable water. This will also benefit a primary health-care center previously constructed in the area. 

A Self-Help-Fund grant to Gertem Elementary School allowed the construction of four new classrooms. ,Photo by project representative tesfay Ghebre, Feb. 2003,Eritrea:  This past fiscal year, Embassy Asmara focused on projects which would support schools and address natural resource management. It also funded several water projects as inadequate sanitation facilities in schools and public places is a critical problem in Eritrea. Providing rural village communities with potable water, post says, can reduce water-borne diseases, especially among children and the elderly.

Ethiopia:  The projects Addis Ababa selected in FY 2003 are dispersed throughout Ethiopia's administrative regions and benefit a wide range of communities. They will mainly affect income generation, environmental issues, construction, and rural food production. One activity, benefiting an estimated 100,000 women, will enable workshops to be conducted that address the harmful practice of female circumcision. It will also train community agents in making home visits and preparing reports.

Gabon:  The FY-02 allocation funded several educational projects, one farm expansion, and an HIV/AIDS Prevention Resource Center.  As a non-USAID presence post, the Special Self-Help Program is believed to be its most important tool for public outreach and development promotion.  

Gambia, The:  Embassy Banjul funded 14 Special Self-Help projects in FY-03. They were distributed within all five administrative divisions of the country and included several income-generating activities, particularly in the area of agriculture. The program included several innovative projects such as the micro-solar electrification of an entire village and the training of 20 village representatives in the building of beehives used for the production of honey and cosmetics. The latter included a body cream which was in high demand at a recent trade fair.

Eunice Ago Agbo, Chairperson of the Fiase Women Textiles Society, with finished product of the Batik Ghana:  Twenty projects were funded in FY 2003, all of them targeting deprived communities in great need of the benefits they will render. The four allocation sectors for these grants were education, income generation, health/sanitation, and housing. One of the activities involved the drilling of two boreholes and benefited 600 villagers in two communities, most of them suffering from water-borne diseases, who had to drink from the river Kebe, which dries up at a certain time of the year.

Guinea:  Embassy Conakry reports that it continued to address the need of under-served populations in the following sectors: encouraging entrepreneurship (in particular women's groups) through income-generating activities, promoting positive natural resource development, and fostering grassroots democracy through broad-based participation in project activities. In FY-03, more than 20 proposals were submitted to expand or renovate health centers, build health posts, or improve sanitation conditions; 15 proposals to build, expand, or outfit schools and training centers; and five proposals to support sustainable agricultural projects.

Guinea-Bissau:  Four activities crucial to education and small-business interests were funded in FY-2003.  One of these helped provide better school facilities to increase school attendance amongst Tchur Brik's children, who previously could only receive instructions in a distant community.  The inauguration of the project was nationally televised.

  Brick construction in Samburu, a remote area of Northern Kenya, where a SSH grant will allow the Maingati Womens Group to harvest rain water from a huge rock wall.Kenya:  Embassy Nairobi's selection for FY-03 grants continued to focus on projects that enhance access to clean water and basic hygiene, are environmentally sound, and use appropriate technology. Included were income-generating projects and high-impact community health projects benefiting the greatest number of people possible. One activity was funded for the benefit of 1,200 farmers who had started up a small dairy and were forced to carry their milk to the roadside for pickup by their only, unreliable, vehicle. The SSH grant will pay for cooling units at central points for milk storage.

Lesotho:  Embassy Maseru funded 14 projects with its FY-03 allocation. These included the completion of a five-classroom building; the purchase of bedding and heating equipment for abandoned and orphaned children, and the purchase of bee-keeping equipment and accessories.

Liberia:  Embassy Monrovia funded 17 projects in FY-2003 to help improve the socio-economic conditions in war-torn Liberia.  Most projects aimed to train displaced persons to return to the workforce with new skills and finding new income-generating opportunities.  The Camp Community Used Clothes Project in Margibi County, for example, used SSH funds to support their small thrift store business.  SSH funds also enabled the EL-Macintosh Industrial School in Paynesville Township to teach career development and computer skills to war-affected young girls, helping to restore hope and continuing their education.

Madagascar:  Embassy Antananarivo has concentrated on selecting projects that have an entrepreneurial component in order to foster more self-sustainable activities. The 12 activities selected in FY 2003 included the provision of solar energey for a rural village, a carpentry workshop, and a cash crop development to ameliorate the lack of economic opportunities by giving 50 fruit trees to each family for cultivation.

Malawi:  During FY-2003, post continued to fund SSH projects emphasizing community development, The construction of a Bio-Gas Plant in the northern region of Malawi is underwayimproving the environment and education, but was only able to fund 22% of the 127 applications it received. With SSH funding, the St. John Secondary School in the District of Mzimba constructed and installed a maize mill. A portion of the profits from the maize paid for school fees and purchased food for the students who are mostly orphaned.  Another project helped provide financial support for a women's cooperative group, Mother's Union Members, that provides education, food, clothing, and health services for the orphans in the community.

Mali: The Ambassador's SSH projects during the FY-2003 period funded programs supporting education, health, food production, and income generation. Over 400 young boys and girls will learn technical gardening skills that will help improve local vegetable production.  Another SSH project makes it possible for women in Darsalam and Koutiala to  receive efficient pre-natal care and reduce delivery complication with the construction of a maternity dispenser.         

Garralla group displays SSH sign in front of newly-built room to house a millet grinding machine purchased with SSH fundsMauritania:  Embassy Nouakchott financed 33 community projects in FY-2003, two of which focused on the most basic needs for Mauritanians living in rural poverty: those related to water and food.  A local health clinic in the heart of Abdalla Diery had a serious problem with water shortage, but with SSH funding, the community was able to build a well preventing starvation and diseases.

Mauritius:  Sixteen activities were funded in FY 2003, most of them focusing on workforce-development initiatives for children who must leave school to support their families, as well as tools and equipment to improve agricultural initiatives.  Also supported was the purchase of computer and Braille keyboards to train visually impaired students, and several diabetic screening devices.

Mozambique:  In FY-02, focal areas of funded projects included: HIV/AIDS awareness and community development programs; water and food security projects, such as new bore holes and storage facilities for excess grain; and programs aimed at education and training in income-generation/small business activities with a particular emphasis on women.   

Disabled clients from the Onyose Trust pick vegetables from their garden. The project was sponsored by Embassy Windhoeks SSH Program and provides a means of generating income for the centerNamibia:  Embassy Windhoek selected 13 projects for FY 2003 in nine of Namibia's 13 regions.  The Self-Help Committee approved projects that emphasized education, workforce development, and women's businesses.  SSH funding provided playground equipment and books for the Choto Pre-Primary School.  It also supported women's entrepreneurial endeavors: a five-women cooperative group rendering laundry services to the community, and the Namibia's Women's Network that manufactures soap, dolls, and floor polish to sell on the local market.

Niger villagers display a sign that explains the collaborative nature of new garden project. 
 Niger:  In FY-2003, the Embassy 's SSH Committee selected 13 projects that will address Niger's most crucial problems: access to drinking water and to education.  With collaboration of Peace Corp Volunteers, Self-Help activities will be implemented throughout Niger and will contribute towards the reduction of the country's poverty as  well as achieve Niger's Millennium Development Goals.



Ambassador John Campbell signed the Self-Help Grants [State Department Photo].Nigeria: 13 Grass roots Organizations Awarded $140,000.00 from U.S. Ambassador Self-Help Grants: On Monday, September 26, 2005 U.S. Ambassador John Campbell signed a grant totaling $140,000 to 13 organizations under the Ambassador's Self-help Program (SSH) and the Democracy and Human Rights Program (DHRP). 10 organizations were awarded $80,000 under the SSH for various projects including construction of school classrooms, health clinic, food processing plant, laboratory equipment for secondary school, school furniture and a workshop for a skills center. $60,000 was disbursed to 3 organizations under the DHRF for projects including a comprehensive campaign on civic rights for women in purdah, a 2 day workshop on anti-corruption laws, and a comprehensive campaign against female genital mutilation in ten communities.   

Men in sewing class. Rwanda:  Among the 16 activities supported by Embassy Kigali in FY-03 is a small-animal husbandry revival project, for which each of of the 255 beneficiaries contributed a stable, compost, forage, and part of the veterinary fee. At the end of October, the first round of goats had been bought and distributed to 125 recipients. Additional projects included the construction of classrooms, the conversion to a modern bee-keeping enterprise, and the expansion of a fence construction workshop.

 Sao Tome/Principe:  Embassy Libreville, which manages the SSH Program for Sao Tome and Principe, funded five activities in FY-02, among them the Undabesa Blood Bank Project in Sao Tome City, which will purchase needed supplies and help with the startup of a countrywide blood-bank drive/campaign. Another project, in Sao Joaquim, Principe, will assist the grantee to repair this isolated community's only water source and build a small public washing station.  

School latrines in the village of Madina Cherif, Kolda region.Senegal:  Post's FY-02 allocation funded 19 projects, which included income-generating activities (millet machine, cereal warehouse, shea-butter processing) and those related to health (health post), water (well digging and distribution system), and education (school classroom and wall construction), located throughout the 11 regions of the country.  

Seychelles:  The Ambassador's SSH Fund helped finance five projects in FY-2003.  The program has been very successful in supporting the mission's focus on environment, economic development, education, and wildlife conservation.  One grantee, the Faith and Hope Association, used funds to provide more formula milk to HIV-positive mothers to feed their newborn babies in order to prevent AIDS transmission.  

Sierra Leone:   In FY-2003, Embassy Freetown funded seven self-sustainable projects that helped improve the local agricultural economy, increase entrepreneurship, and provide better facilities for more children to attend school.  One SSH grant provided funding for the construction of the Community Carket Building, a place where local small farmers can sell their fresh produce to the local market, helping to lessen poverty and starvation.  

Somalia:  In FY-2003, the Embassy selected 13 self-sustainable projects that meet the needs of the Somali people, especially those aimed to empower women.  Projects funded improved irrigation, primary education, and vocational training.

Original building used by the Eastern Cape community.South Africa:  FY 2003 funding was distributed in the categories of education, community development through employment, and health. A major focus of projects in the latter category was the alleviation of the suffering of HIV/AIDS orphans. One such project in the Western Cape cared for over 50 orphaned and abandoned children before they could be placed with foster families; another, the Busy Bee Hospice near Sharpville, serves terminally ill patients thought to no longer benefit from intensive care and thus discharged from local hospitals.

 Swaziland:  Embassy Mbabane financed 15 projects in FY-2003 that ranged from providing better facilities for secondary school children to income generating projects for women in the community.  SSH funds assisted the Makhosini primary school to purchase a water tank and other materials needed to refurbish the school's water supply. The Embassy also financed the construction of a new clinic.  To attract more teachers, the Nsalitje Primary School used SSH to build a teacher's lounge/office.    

Students carrying stones to building site of 36-bed girls' hostel being constructed in TanzaniaTanzania:  Ten projects were funded in FY-02 in a variety of sectors: income generation/job creation, education, and community development.  Youths between the ages of 5 and 19, as well as women's groups, are the direct beneficiaries of 30 percent of the activities. Three of the projects (purchase of science laboratory furniture and carpentry equipment, and a cheese production workshop) are located on Zanzibar and Pemba, promoting goodwill in predominantly Muslim communities.  

Togo:  Embassy Lome financially supported 14 projects that funded school and health-clinic construction projects, and improved small-business opportunities and water accessibility.  SSH funds assisted the Administrator from the Adetikope CEG School to build more classrooms, thereby increasing school enrollment.    The construction of the Nassable Women Community and Training Center will provide a space for more women to learn how to read and write and gain job skills.

Uganda:  Embassy Kampala provided several SSH grants that focused on education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.  Now, more students from the Kabale District in south-western Uganda will be able to practice reading and research through the purchase of books and reference materials for the Kabale Public Library.  By building more classrooms, more Muslim orphans in the Raki District will attend school and receive  quality education.

Children in schoolyard at Aunty Maggies School in Ngungu, Zambia.

Zambia: In FY 2003, Embassy Lusaka chose  proposals that supported its objectives for Economic Growth and Health. They included seven of Zambia's nine provinces and a wide range of activities, from boreholes to a Poultry House project, to one that teaches farming skills to more than 250 women and 100 orphans.  

Ambassador Sullivan switches on newly installed irrigation system for a field of paprika.Zimbabwe:  During FY-03, all of the projects funded by Embassy Harare were in areas affected by high HIV/AIDS rates. One of the activities, the Chabata Water Development Project, will benefit a secondary school with an enrollment of approximately 450 children, one third of which are somehow affected by HIV/AIDS. The school is overcrowded and  Irrigation at work.  [Photographs taken May 10, 2002 by Embassy Harares Information Officer Samuel Kaerezi.]currently uses a dug well for its water needs, as does the entire surrounding community. The once functioning borehole is not deep enough to produce water during the current drought situation, and a modest Self-Help grant will provide drilling to put it back into operation.


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