Training for a Brighter Future with a U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Grant

clothesIt took time and hard work for the Hardap Training Center in Rehoboth to grow its reputation for practical job skills training and community empowerment. But over these years, the machines and equipment used to help thousands of local residents learn skills to better their lives and their community began to break down. A grant from the U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program gave the center the boost it needed to continue serving Hardap Region’s needs.

In 1997, the Women’s Action for Development (WAD) founded the Hardap Training Center with a goal to be an empowering agent for disadvantaged rural people in Namibia and help them build the region’s economy. The Hardap center had addressed this goal through socio-economic and socio-political training programs but recognized the need for practical job skills training to put empowerment concepts to use. In addition, the center was finding new ways to use its revenue to serve the community through home-based care initiatives.

woman workingIn 2012, the Hardap Training Center received a grant from the U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program to purchase ovens, bread machines, industrial sewing machines, and bicycles, and to advertise the center’s programs. Expert-led training programs now include computer literacy, office administration, typing, needlework, upholstery, weaving, catering, baking, food dehydration, paper brick making, climate change awareness, and leather work. Advertisements have increased enrollment. The bicycles have helped in delivering items produced by the center to buyers, as well as reaching residents in need of home-based care. The increased revenue has allowed the center to hire another employee, expand its home-based care program, and open a daycare center, so trainees have a safe place to keep their children while they learn new skills. Over seventy percent of Rehoboth’s underprivileged population has now taken part in training programs at the center.

Year round, the U.S. Embassy accepts applications for the U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program to address community-based needs.

  • Successful grant proposals will show that the project has a strong community contribution and benefits the local community by increasing income or improving living conditions.
  • If the project is designed to generate income, it must be truly community-based and not a for-profit enterprise or sole proprietorship.
  • Grant proposals should be focused on helping communities, rather than individuals or individual families.

For more information about the U.S. Ambassador’s Self-Help Program.