Small Project Assistance Program

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Partnering with the Peace Corps to address community priorities and boost local capacity.

The Small Project Assistance Program (SPA) is a collaboration between USAID and the Peace Corps to support grassroots community development projects. Since 1983, USAID has provided more than $76 million in SPA funding to reach 30 million local community members in more than 115 countries around the world.

With USAID funding, SPA partners with the Peace Corps to strengthen the capacity of local community groups. SPA partners can include informal community working groups, local associations, local government entities, schools, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). SPA works in every sector, with the objective to work with and build the capacity of local communities.


Who We Work With


Generally, any country in which the Peace Corps operates that is served by a USAID bilateral or regional Mission is eligible to initiate and participate in the SPA Program. To get involved, USAID Missions and Peace Corps Posts should contact their respective headquarters for information on starting a field-level SPA Program, how to participate in the annual SPA funding negotiation cycle, and other programmatic information.

Peace Corps Volunteers should contact their respective Peace Corps Post.  For small grants, Peace Corps Volunteers should contact their Peace Corps Small Grants Coordinator for information.


Host country community groups and leaders are invited to participate in the SPA Program by working closely with a Peace Corps Volunteer and the respective community counterpart. Peace Corps Volunteers and counterparts may be invited to participate in SPA-funded technical training and/or SPA program support activities, as communicated by the respective Peace Corps Post.

Where We Work

SPA supported 50 Peace Corps Posts with funding from nearly 50 USAID Missions.

How the Program Works

The SPA Program provides support to Peace Corps Volunteers and their community counterparts in the following ways:

  • Grants: Small grants are the main component of the SPA Program. Averaging $2,500 per grant, this funding, paired with a minimum 25 percent match from the community, supports development projects aimed at building capacity for community led development.
  • Technical Training: Through the SPA Program, Peace Corps Posts provide technical training for Peace Corps Volunteers and their community counterparts, allowing for more specialized work and a broader reach of USAID development activities.
  • Program Support: The SPA Program enables Peace Corps Posts and USAID Missions to support, invest in, and learn from the work being done by Volunteers and their communities.

Program Outcomes

With more than $4 million in funding during FY2019, SPA provided the following support for community-led projects around the world:

  • More than 700 grants
  • More than 60 training activities
  • More than 65  program support activities

SPA has proven to be effective in helping partner countries meet their own development goals. An evaluation of 2013-2017 grants found that:

  • 96 percent of SPA projects were completed
  • 67 percent of projects were completed and meaningfully sustained by the community
  • 28 percent of projects were completed, sustained, and expanded upon by the community

Read the full evaluation

Stories from the Field

A group works on science experiments

Liberia: Supporting Hands-On Science Learning

Six teachers and a Peace Corps Volunteer teamed up to promote the use of interactive science experiments in the classroom. To do so, they created a workbook showing how to construct and use scientific equipment, but with only locally available materials.

Learn more >>

A group sits on the floor, working on projects

Kosovo: Training the Trainers on Youth Engagement

A Youth Development Workshop convened 25 community members, along with 25 Peace Corps Volunteers, to learn about the best ways and strategies to engage local youth populations.

Learn more >>

Coffee plants

Dominican Republic: Scaling Up a Coffee Grower Cooperative

A coffee grower cooperative, made up of over 80 farmers, faced a challenge: in the coffee market, opportunities for selling raw products in bulk are severely limited. They needed the equipment and training to process and market their materials to be more competitive.

Learn more >>

News and Updates

To learn more about the Small Project Assistance program and other locally led development work at USAID, subscribe to our monthly newsletter which features program updates, resources, events, and more.

Read past editions of the newsletter in the archive.

Additional Resources

Small Project Assistance Fact Sheet (PDF 782KB)
Small Project Assistance Evaluation
Peace Corps Website - Small Project Assistance Program

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Last updated: April 08, 2022

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