Ambassador Pamela E. Bridgewater (left) with Mr. François Houdegamé (right), Sub-Prefect, and residents of Akpro-Missérété near Porto-Novo, Benin, after ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony of three wells financed by Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund. Potable water transforms lives and improves health for rural villagers. (Photo taken November 21 2001 by Haoua Riley, SSH Coordinator, Embassy Cotonou)
The Ambassador's Special Self Help Program (SSH) is a development program funded by the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID). The program allows ambassadors in developing countries to respond directly to the initiative and aspirations of local communities. SSH projects can often be quickly implemented and have a big impact -- making the program very valuable and highly appreciated at the grassroots level.
Special Self Help projects are initiated and administered by the local community. SSH funds finance only a portion of the total construction costs. A significant community contribution in cash, labor and/or local construction materials is required; hence the term "Self Help." From 2000 to 2001, eight wells water projects have been funded by the Self-Help Fund in Benin. The Special Self Help of the Ambassador in Benin has financed various projects throughout the country including: school construction, health clinics, wells, public sanitation, and women's training centers projects.