How to Apply

US4LLD concepts are accepted on a rolling basis. You can submit a concept at any time by following these guidelines.

Application Steps

Step 1: Confirm your eligibility

Double check the specific US4LLD eligibility requirements and list of ineligible countries on the main US4LLD page.

Eligible organizations must:

  • Have received less than $5 million from USAID directly (as a prime recipient) over the previous five fiscal years and
  • Be a small local, international, or United States-based non-governmental organization, educational institution, or other small entity.

Eligible concepts must: 

  • Clearly demonstrate a unique, innovative, or proprietary program that advances locally led development (see step three).
  • Be independently originated, developed, and completed without U.S. Government supervision, endorsement, direction, or direct involvement.
  • Not be an advance application for a current or planned competitive solicitation.

Step 2: Begin your application

Download our concept form to use for your submission. The form includes eligibility requirements and other considerations to develop a strong application. Responses must be a maximum of 10 pages using single-spaced formatting.

Step 3: Ensure your concept advances locally led development

Does your concept show how the proposed activity takes locally led development approaches? Consider these questions as you review your draft:

  • Local input: How were communities directly involved in developing your concept? What local demand exists to address the development challenge you’ve identified, and how do you know? Did you meet with local communities or leaders that will be impacted by your proposed activities? What did you learn from them and how did their input inform the concept you’re submitting?
  • Local ownership: How will your proposed activity empower local actors to take the lead in addressing their own development challenges? How do local leaders own and implement the effort? With what kinds of existing in-country resources and networks does your concept creatively engage?
  • Innovation: How will your proposed activity go beyond or improve upon traditional development practices? What has and has not worked to address the development challenge you are aiming to address with your locally led approach? How do these lessons learned inform your creative, contextually relevant approach?
  • Sustainability: How will your proposed activities produce results that are more sustainable over the long-term compared to existing practices? What factors will help ensure that the changes and the development outcomes of the activity will be sustained over time? How will the results be sustained without donor funding?
  • Adaptability: Do you take an adaptive management approach? How does your activity promote intentional learning? If you need to, will you be able to modify programming in the case of unpredictable events that change circumstances? How will you know when it may be time to try new approaches? Read this Discussion Note for some best practices.

Have more questions? Explore the Frequently Asked Questions.

Step 4: Submit your concept

Submit your completed concept form to and carbon copy

What Happens After Submission?

Due Diligence Review

First, the Washington-based US4LLD program team will review your concept to ensure it meets the basic eligibility requirements. This includes clearly demonstrating how your proposed activity advances locally led development. Explore step 3 in the “How to Apply” section where you’ll find insightful questions that will help to ensure that your concept thoroughly incorporates local input, local ownership, innovation, adaptability, and sustainability.

Additionally, you and/or your organization must have received less than $5 million directly from USAID over the previous five fiscal years.

Finally, US4LLD is unable to support activities primarily focused on construction.

If the US4LLD program team determines that the concept is not eligible for US4LLD funding, the US4LLD program team will notify you. Your concept will still be forwarded to the cognizant USAID Mission for their consideration.

The review process may take between one to four weeks depending on a variety of factors.

USAID Mission Review

If your concept is eligible for US4LLD funding, the US4LLD program team will notify you and send it to the USAID Mission located in your concept’s country of focus for review.

USAID Missions share technical feedback on eligible concepts with the US4LLD program team within 60 calendar days of their receipt of the concept. If the Mission does not accept your concept, the US4LLD program team will share technical feedback as well as tailored resources on other USAID partnership opportunities. If the Mission is interested in further exploring supporting your concept, the process will move to the next step.

USAID Mission Engages Applicant

If the USAID Mission decides to move forward with your application, the US4LLD program team will reach out to you to set up an introduction to the US4LLD program. Then, the Mission will reach out to you for further discussion.

To move forward, USAID will either collaborate with you to co-create the award directly or co-create and request for you to submit a full application. Please note that the offer to collaborate through co-creation does not commit USAID to fund an award or pay for costs incurred to prepare the application or participate in co-creation. Learn more about different types of USAID awards and funding mechanisms here.

The US4LLD program team may offer support to the USAID Mission as necessary throughout this stage.

Have more questions on this stage? has answers to many frequently asked questions about:

You can also refer to this reference guide on responding to a USAID funding opportunity for more quick tips.

Final Step: US4LLD Award!

From the date you submit your concept to the date of award finalization, the process may take anywhere from 6 to 24 months. This estimated timeline may be shorter or longer, depending on a variety of factors.

Still have questions? Explore the Frequently Asked Questions


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