Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

The two main components of the SGAFP are:
a) Small Grants
The Small Grants component of the Program has completed. We are, therefore, no longer accepting applications under this component. 
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 Empowering Vulnerable Populations, Encouraging Social Entrepreneurship, Developing Small-Scale Energy Solutions, Promoting Culture and the Arts and Improving Disaster Preparedness.

The thematic areas for grants under Ambassador's Fund:
  1. Empowering Vulnerable Populations
  2. Encouraging Social Entrepreneurship
  3. Developing Small-Scale Energy Solutions
  4. Promoting Culture and the Arts
  5. Improving Disaster Preparedness
Ambassador's Fund Program is open to applicants from across Pakistan, however, applicants are especially encouraged from under represented geographical areas (i.e. where USAID is not currently implementing large programs), especially Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK.  
No. The acceptance and processing of applications under the Ambassador’s Fund will take place on a rolling basis and therefore there are is no specific deadline for submitting an application. However, applicants are encouraged to visit our website for related updates.  
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 only one application at one time i.e. either under the Ambassador’s Fund or the Small Grants Program. A second application will not be considered until the applicant is informed by SGAFP about the status of its first application.  
A conscious effort should be made to distribute the benefits of the project among women and men, as well as other disadvantaged segments of the populations like persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged community groups. In planning their proposed projects, applicants should ask themselves the following questions: How will the different roles and status of women and men within the community, political sphere, workplace, and household affect the work to be undertaken? How will the anticipated results of the work affect women and men differently?  
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.  
Yes. USAID has specific branding and marking requirements which are binding on all successful applicants/grantees. The grantee will be given branding and marking guidelines by the SGAFP’s media and communication department which has to be followed during implementation of the project.  
Yes, an applicant whose previous application has been rejected can apply again by submitting a fresh application.
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. There are separate guidelines for applying under the Small Grants Program and the Ambassador's Fund Program, both are available on SGAFP’s website.

Application Concerns

The applicant may send the complete application form along with required documents on email address: or through post at:

Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program, G.P.O. POB 2077, Islamabad, Pakistan

  • The applicant organization must be viable and functional with demonstrated capacity to undertake the proposed project.
  • The need for the project should be adequately justified with the support of primary/ secondary data.
  • The objectives and key activities of the proposed project must be focused, in line with the thematic sector selected and clearly articulated.
  • The implementation methodology must be coherent and sequential and should include details of carrying out each activity.
  • The proposed project should be able to benefit a significant portion of the population.
  • Application must include an elaborate and strong media plan.
  • A detailed and itemized budget with budget narratives/explanations. Lump sum costs should be avoided.
  • Significant cost share (in cash/ in kind) by the applicant organization in the total project cost.
  • Registered Pakistani NGOs, CBOs, civil society organizations/ private sector organizations and other not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply.    
  • Organizations must have been established for a minimum of six months for the Ambassador's Fund at the time of applying for a grant.
  • The applicants should be willing to contribute significantly (in cash/ kind) towards the total project cost.
  • 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. Although there are no specific parameters defined for cost share but generally it is expected from the applicant organization to demonstrate ownership of the proposed project through significant cost contribution in the total project cost. This contribution can be either in the form of cash or in kind (including use of office premises, equipment, vehicles, utilities, skilled & unskilled labor, material contribution etc.).

A list of ineligible activities that cannot be funded is given in the applicant's guidelines.

Yes. Applicants can engage a consultant if it feels that it lacks the required capacity to write a good technical and financial proposal. However, the applicant organization shall accept full responsibility for the veracity of the contents and submission of unsubstantiated or falsified data, if discovered, may result in disqualification of application. 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. Moreover, the cost of drafting application cannot be included in USAID or applicants own cost contribution.

Yes. Application under the Ambassador’s Fund is accepted on specified template only, which is available on SGAFP’s website and can be downloaded free of cost .

Selection Procedure


In both cases i.e. approval or rejection of an application, SGAFP will inform the applicant organization either through email/ phone call/ letter (hard copy).


Once the application has been received by SGAFP, the applicant will be sent an acknowledgement receipt through an email. Further processing of the application may take 6-8 weeks or even more. Applicant can inquire about the status of its application by writing an email regarding the same and send it to

Once an application for the Ambassador's Fund is received, the SGAFP 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 applicant 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 and the US Embassy in Islamabad as well as the Consulates in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar (if required) reviews the proposal and the SGAFP's recommendation before taking a final decision. The final decision i.e. approval or rejection is communicated to SGAFP for further sharing with the applicant organization.

The evaluation criteria and weight of each criterion is depicted in the table below:

Criteria Weightage
Proposed Program Approach 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. But overall performance of the applicant in executing previous grant will be a major factor in deciding about the new award.


After the award of a grant, the Grantees will be required to submit the following reports during implementation:

  • 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.


"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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