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2 years, 3 months
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Up to 12 months
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3-6 months
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Small Project Assistance (SPA) Program

Learn about the SPA program and how it supports innovative ways for communities to meet their development needs.

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For over 40 years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Peace Corps have been partnering to support locally led development projects through SPA.

Program overview

Started in 1983, the Small Project Assistance (SPA) Program represents the largest and longest running partnership between United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Peace Corps. Since 2000, over $58 million in USAID funds have enabled the SPA Program to support life-changing projects around the world. SPA grant projects have generated an additional $36 million in local community and third-party contributions.

The SPA Program is active in approximately 40 Peace Corps countries each year, with each one's development priorities driving the focus of local programming. In any given year, the multi-sectoral SPA Program supports activities in each of the seven U.S. Foreign Assistance Framework Program Categories:

  • Security: Preventing human trafficking, enhancing local government responsiveness
  • Governance: Civic engagement, public accountability
  • Health: Malaria prevention, maternal and child health services improvement
  • Economic growth: Agricultural development, workforce readiness, and climate resilience
  • Education: Improving education infrastructure and services
  • Humanitarian assistance: Environmental disaster preparedness
  • Cross-cutting: Integrated approaches typically addressing youth development, civic engagement, and entrepreneurism

Program details

There are three components to the SPA Program: Grant projects, training activities, and field-level program support.

  1. Grant projects, which are the most widely used component of the SPA Program, enable Volunteers and community counterparts to implement community-led development interventions.
  2. Training activities allow Volunteers and their local counterparts to exchange knowledge and gain technical skills for wider development activities.
  3. Field-level program support enables Peace Corps posts to invest in, provide technical assistance to, and learn from their local SPA programs.

Impact on communities

SPA grant projects and technical trainings provide valuable skills and knowledge transfer that support communities in finding innovative, local solutions to their development needs. In an average year, over 275,000 community members participate as stakeholders in more than 500 SPA grant projects.

Through the SPA Program, USAID resources combine with the Peace Corps’ reach, scale, and local community interaction to catalyze community-led development. Often, communities continue to independently maintain or expand SPA grant projects even after the grants have ended, reaffirming the program's long-term, sustainable impact in communities around the world.

For more information about the collaboration between the two agencies, visit the Peace Corps and USAID partnership web page.