Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

The two main components of SGAFP are:  

a) Small Grants  
The Small Grants (SG) provides grants of up to US $200,000 under the theme of Let Girls Learn (Education) and Civic Participation for projects lasting for up to one year to Pakistani organizations. Geographically focusing in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, the program is designed to fund innovative activities that promote USAID’s development objectives that may not necessarily fit into existing U.S. government programs.
b) Ambassador's Fund 
The Ambassador’s Fund  aims to support self-help initiatives of up to one year with grants not exceeding $ 75,000. Grants under this component support activities in the priority areas of Vulnerable Populations, Social Entrepreneurship, Small-Scale Energy Solutions, Promoting Culture and the Arts and Disaster Preparedness. The applications are accepted from across Pakistan, however, applicants are especially encouraged from under represented geographic areas (i.e. where USAID is not currently implementing large programs), especially Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK.
The major sectors for grants under Small Grants: 1: Let Girls Learn (Education) 2: Civic Participation
Components Maximum Funding Limit (USD)*Maximum DurationCost Share
Small Grants  - Let Girls Learn200,000Up to one yearEncouraged
Small Grants  - Civic Participation200,000Up to one yearEncouraged
Ambassador's Fund75,000*Up to one yearRequired

* USAID may approve awards in excess of  maximum funding limit in exceptional circumstances

Small Grants is open to applicants from Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province.  
No. The acceptance and processing of applications will take place on a rolling basis and therefore there are no specific deadlines or solicitations for these grants.  
Yes. Experience of implementing donor-funded projects will be considered positively, while lack of such experience will be a disadvantage.  
Applicants should prioritize their needs and submit one application at a time. A second application will not be considered until the applicant is informed about the status of its first application.  
A conscious effort should be made to distribute the benefits of the project to women and men, as well as other disadvantaged segments of the populations like physically challenged persons and disadvantaged community groups.      
The proposed projects should be environment friendly and must not pose any threat to the environment. In case a project or any of the project activities has any negative implications on the environment, the applicant must give strategies to mitigate such impacts in order for the application to be considered.  
Applicants who have not been successful in receiving an award are welcome to apply again. These applicants may, if interested, contact USAID's SGAFP Office to discuss the reasons why their original application was rejected and get suggestions on how a new proposal could be strengthened.  
No. Normally USAID's SGAFP will process one application at a time. Therefore applicants are advised to apply for one component of the program; either the Small Grants Program or the Ambassador's Fund.  
Yes. USAID has specific branding and marking requirements which are binding on all successful applicants/grantees. The grantees will have to comply with USAID branding and marking. The grantee will be given branding and marking guidelines by the SGAFP’s communications department which they will have to follow for all program related activities.

Application Concerns

A valid proposal under USAID Small Grants must meet the following criteria:
  • be innovative and unique
  • be independently originated and developed by the applicant
  • be consistent with and supportive of USAID Pakistan's strategy and objectives
  • be able to meet a specific programmatic need
  • not be an advance proposal for a known USAID requirement that can be acquired by competitive methods
Yes. There are specific forms for both programs which can be downloaded from the website or can be obtained from the Program office by writing to it via post.  
For a grant under USAID's Small Grants Program, the applicant should submit an application by using the form given on the website. The application, once complete, may emailed to the following address: or sent through post to SGAFP office at : Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program G.P.O. POB 2077, Islamabad, Pakistan    
  • The applicant organization must meet the eligibility criteria;
  • The applicant organization must be viable and functional with demonstrated capacities to undertake the proposed project;
  • The objectives and key activities of the proposed project must be focused and clearly articulated;
  • The implementation strategy must be comprehensive and should include approach of the applicant organization; procurement processes; operational and administrative controls; and methodologies for implementation of the proposed activities;
  • Monitoring and reporting capacities of the organization should be elaborated upon;
  • A cost share, where applicable, should be indicated; and
  • A detailed and itemized budget with budget narratives/explanations must be provided
Pakistani NGOs, CBOs, civil society organizations and other not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Private sector organizations are also welcome to apply for grants. - Organizations must have been registered and functional for a minimum period of 02 years at the time of applying for a grant. - The organization's activities should focus on SGAFP's primary sectors. - The organization must have strong financial management systems and have audited financial statements demonstrating adequate capabilities in this regard.  
  • Individuals
  • Political parties
  • Foreign-based organizations
  • Faith-based organizations whose objectives are discriminatory and/or serve religious purposes
  • Informal alliances without legal status
  • Government entities will normally not be considered for awards under these two programs except as directed by USAID
"Cost Share" means the applicant's contribution which it will provide for the proposed project. Cost share is not mandatory under the Small Grants Program. However, the Program strongly encourages applicant organizations to contribute, either in cash or in-kind. Greater weightage will be given to applications which include a cost share.  
A list of ineligible activities that cannot be funded is given in the applicant's guidelines.  

Selection Procedure

USAID’s decision on an application, whether of acceptance or rejection, will be communicated to the organization by SGAFP in writing.  
The applicant will be sent an acknowledgement of receipt when an application is received by SGAFP. The processing of an application may take 10-12 weeks at which point the applicant will be duly informed of the outcome.  
The application submitted by the organization is sent to USAID for review by its technical office. Once it is vetted by the Agency, SGAFP’s staff reviews it to ensure that all the required information has been provided and to verify that the organization is eligible for funding. The SGAFP staff may contact applicants to request additional information, if necessary. The staff may also organize a visit to the office of an applicant to learn more about the organization and its capacity. Once the review process is complete, the SGAFP's Technical Evaluation Committee meets to review and score the application and make a recommendation as to whether it should be awarded the grant or not. This information is then sent to the US Embassy for further review. Staff from USAID reviews the proposal and SGAFP's recommendation before taking a decision. These decisions are then communicated to the applicant by SGAFP.  
The evaluation criteria and weight of each criterion is depicted in the table below:
Criteria Weightage
Proposed Program Approach (due considerations should be given to gender mainstreaming and inclusive development) 40 points
Past performance 20 points
Appropriateness of the proposed Team 10 points
Organizational Capacity 10 points
Effectiveness and Reasonableness of Total Cost 20 points
Total Points 100 points
The minimum score that an applicant organization will need to qualify is 70.

For Grantees

Yes. However, preference will be given to new applicants to maximize outreach of the program to other deserving communities.  
After the award of a project, the Grantees will be required to submit the following reports:  
  • Monthly physical progress reports of the project activities
  • Monthly financial progress reports
  • Project close out plan one month prior to the project's end date
  • Project completion report
  For all these reports, SGAFP will provide reporting templates to the Grantees.
Yes. Any unused funds should be promptly returned to SGAFP upon the completion of a project.  
Yes. The project monitoring will be carried out through:
  •  Progress reports by the Grantees
  •  Monitoring visits by SGAFP staff
  • The purpose of such monitoring visits will be to assess the progress vis-à-vis agreed targets and to monitor the operational transparency, documentation and other obligations as envisaged in the Grant Agreement.
Yes. The SGAFP may conduct a financial audit of the project at any stage, either internally or through a Chartered Accountant Auditing Firm.  
No. The SGAFP funds cannot be used for any project/activities that have not been approved.  
In such cases, SGAFP will terminate the Grant Agreement and the Grantee will return all the disallowed costs. In addition SGAFP may take other legal action as deemed appropriate.  
Yes. Applicants, however, accept full responsibility for the veracity of the contents of all application submissions and submission of unsubstantiated or falsified data will, if discovered, result in disqualification. If applicants are discovered intentionally submitting false information about themselves, their experience, or the proposed project beneficiaries, such applicants will be barred from submitting future applications to all USAID-funded programs in Pakistan.  

"USAID/Pakistan has, in cooperation with the USAID Office of Inspector General, established the Anti-Fraud Hotline to provide an avenue for the reporting of fraud, waste, and abuse which may be associated with USAID funded projects in Pakistan. Complaints are handled with complete confidentiality and individuals are encouraged to report when corruption, fraud, waste or abuse may exist in the USAID/Pakistan projects. Reports can be filed anonymously via the easy-to-use Hotline (Toll free number 0800 84700); e-mail at; fax at 021-35390410; postal address at 5-C, 2nd Floor Khayban-e-Ittehad, Phase VII, DHA, Karachi, Pakistan; and on the website"

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