102.1: How It Was Put Together: Oct 2013-May 2014


THE WORK STARTS: Overall project presentation at EGM for Swepa members’ approval and adoption on 13th February 2014.

Datuk Adeline then set about getting the various partners together to get the project off the ground:


SWEPA will work with several key partners for this project:


Project presented to Swepa Exco Oct 2013 and approval granted to take up this project;  


October 2013: Barefoot Solar Project Committee formed: 

Organizing Chairperson      PP Datuk Adeline Leong
Deputy Chairperson IPP Hanaa Wong Abdullah
Advisor President Datin Jeanette Tambakau
Project Coordinator Yap Li Ling
Treasurer Jenny Lee
Secretary Maria Joy
Committee Karen Wong
AFC Committee Mr Thondik VenantiusMr Parasul BasangMr Juidywa Juas @ Eddy
Pacos Committee Anne LasimbangHelen Morgan
SWEPA Executive Secretary Cynthia Chai

 15th Feb 2014: EGM approved RM10K as seed money.

2.  Barefoot

who will fund (together with the Government of India) the training of three grandmothers (from Kg. Sonsogon Magandai) to be “solar engineers” for 6 months in India



Meeting David Lee, the Coordinator for the UNDP (United Nations Development Fund) GEF (Global Environment Facility) SGP (Small Grants Programme) was another Divine Intervention!

As Chairperson of ENSEARCH Sabah, a research organization on environmental management, Datuk Adeline organized a “Sustainable Living in Malaysia Seminar”  in November 2013 in Kota Kinabalu. At the Seminar she met up with David Lee who asked her whether she knew of any project that can come under the UNDP SGP grants. As they are for small rural projects dealing with climate change, renewable energy and empowering the rural community our Barefoot Solar Project couldn’t have been a more ideal fit for the Grant!

As with all such grants, detailed application forms had to be filled and the committee under Hanaa & Li Ling worked tirelessly to comply. Approval for USD50K came through in April 2014! This grant will go towards the equipment to be shipped from India.

4. AFC: ASIAN FORESTRY COMPANY: Yap Li Ling, A SWEPA member and Executive of AFC:

SELECTION OF VILLAGE –  It took some time to select the village as it has to be remote enough and well out of the electricity grid’s planning. Kampung Songsogon Magandai which takes 3-5 hours by road from Kota Marudu has been identified. SWEPA member Yap Li Ling assisted greatly in the selection as one of the requirements is that the village must consist of 100 houses.  Li Ling’s company, Asian Forestry Company is replanting the forest there and it was her staff, Parasul who first went to Kg Songsogon Magandai to inform the village of this project in December 2013. The road condition was so bad that Parasul had to stay there overnight and the vehicle had to go into the workshop for 3 days after the trip for service and repairs.  We have to wait for the dry season before SWEPA can visit the village as the road is almost impassable because of its poor condition and the rain.  AFC’S TEAM OF Mr Thondik Venantius, Mr Parasul Basang and Mr Juidywa Juas @ Eddy are indispensable for all the ground work.


Kampung Sonsogon Magandai in red.


5. FUNDING FOR THE Rural Electrification Workshop – REW: 


A workshop for repairs and servicing all the equipment has to be funded and built. A sum of RM50K is needed.

On May 7th 2014 Datin Jeanette, Hanaa and Li Ling went to see Datuk Vincent Pung the GM of Sabah Credit Corporation (SCC) and a man with the heart for the rural poor. SCC’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects in the rural areas are legendary.

After listening to the 3 ladies’ presentation, Datuk Vincent not only pledged the RM50K for the REW workshop, he has also undertaken to fund the full amount for the solar electrification of a SECOND village!

Praise the Lord! As Datuk Vincent said, “Anything to help the rural poor.” Bless his heart!


Anne Lasimbang of PACOS Trust has been active in these villages and would be an ideal partner to help spread awareness of the project to them as well as to monitor the sustainability and problems that would arise in the ensuing years.

PACOS Trust (Partners And Community Organizations Sabah) is a community-based organisation (CBO) dedicated towards supporting indigenous communities in Sabah. It sees itself as an organisation that strives to empower indigenous communities through systematic building and strengthening of community organisations, which can act collectively on its own. 

7. RALEIGH INTERNATIONAL: Sustainable Development Charity

 To build the REW Workshop:

Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity. It harnesses the passion and energy of young people to effect positive change in sustainable development. Its programs focus on providing access to safe water and sanitation, protecting vulnerable environments and building resilient communities. Through AFC’s association with Raleigh International, its youths will come to build the REW workshop. 

8. Liaison with the Government:

The Federal Government, namely the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (Datuk SP Dr. Max Ongkili) and the State Government (District Office of Kota Marudu) – logistics and other support such as improving the road conditions to enable the equipment to be brought in.

The MP for the constituency is YB Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, the Federal Minister for Energy, Green Technology & Water and he was invited for the launching on 16th May 2014. He was unable to attend and his political secretary Datuk Daniel Klinsik represented him.

With official government sanction, the District Officer of Kota Marudu, Mr Sualim Sanan and the Assistant Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs, YB Anita Baranting, were the official State government representatives. They brought in their teams to help with the logistics and organising the lunch, etc. at the launch.


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