Small Project Assistance Program

Guatemalan children water
Guatemalan children enjoying the newly constructed faucet in their school.
Peace Corps/SPA

The Small Project Assistance Program (SPA) is a joint collaboration between the USAID Office of Local Sustainability and the Peace Corps to support local community development projects in sectors ranging from health to agriculture to small enterprise development. Since 2000, nearly $44 million in USAID funds have leveraged over $34 million in local community contributions and third party contributions. This has allowed the United States Government to support more than 15,000 grants, more than 1,000 technical training courses, and reach nearly 30 million people.

Through an Interagency Agreement between USAID and the Peace Corps, Peace Corps volunteers participate with USAID in development efforts, helping communities to implement small, self-help activities, such as improving access to clean, potable water, while gaining critical training in building latrines, maintaining water systems, and reducing the spread of waterborne diseases.

SPA-sponsored projects focus on strengthening local community groups, including local associations, local government entities, schools, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Volunteers also work with NGOs to improve services to surrounding communities. Community members learn key development skills, including program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, integrated planning, and service delivery.

SPA grant activities have an average size of $2,500 and are meant to build the capacity of host country individuals, organizations, and communities to meet and lead their own development needs and priorities. To this end, SPA community grants have three main requirements:

  • Be community initiated and directed
  • Meet a determined community need
  • Promote sustainability and capacity building.

Generally, any country in which Peace Corps operates that is served by a USAID bilateral or regional Mission is eligible to initiate and participate in the SPA program.

Below is a snapshot of SPA's global programming from October 2016 - November 2017 using funding from USAID:

FY 2017 SPA Funded Activities Snapshot
  • 50 Countries
  • $2,886,480 SPA Funds Expended
  • $4,185,142 Total Leveraged Value
  • 67 Training Activities
  • 36 Program Support Activities
  • 541 Grants
  • 576,035 Community Members Involved
  • 91,183 Direct Participants
  • 484,852 Community Stakeholders

For more information about the SPA program, please contact localsustainability@usaid.gov.

Last updated: September 12, 2018

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