104.1: The Project Brief May 2014

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Project Brief May 14 SWEPA Barefoot Solar Project Borneo

SWEPA Barefoot Solar Project Borneo 


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


List of Committee Meetings held :

1st Committtee Meeting                     –               21st October 2013

2nd Committee Meeting                     –               29th November 2013

3rd Committee Meeting                     –              3 rd January 2014

4th Committee Meeting                      –              3rd February 2014

5th Committee Meeting                    –               21st February 2014

6th Committee Meeting                       –               6th March 2014

7th Committee Meeting                       –              3rd April 2014

8th Committee Meeting                       –              23rd April 2014

9th Committee Meeting                      –              7th May 2014

10th Committee Meeting                    –               19th May 2014

11th Committee Meeting                    –               4th June 2014


Past President Datuk Adeline Leong , President Datin Jeanette Tambakau , IPP Hanaa Wong Abdullah, Ursula and Niney Chong met Mr. Bunker Roy (Founder of Barefoot College, India) in September 2013 at the Global Marketing Summit in Kuala Lumpur and convinced him to come to Sabah. He had earlier (in 2007) declined to bring Barefoot to Malaysia because he said Malaysia is a Developed Country. When Datuk explained that Sabah was in Borneo, he said “Yes!” and SWEPA took on this humanitarian project electrify a rural village and to empower selected illiterate grandmothers.


With Bunker in KL
With Bunker in KL


Datuk Adeline put a team together in SWEPA with the full support of President Datin Jeanette Tambakau. A key member is Ms. Yap Li Ling whose company, Asia Forest Solutions Sdn Bhd, works closely with many rural kampungs in their reforestation programs. Li Ling initiated the first step in identifying which kampung was to be selected, according to the criteria set by Barefoot (a minimum of 100 houses, non-electrified, inaccessible). After some months of sending a team into the rural areas of Kota Marudu, finally Kampung Sonsogon Magandai was identified and selected.


Kg. Sonsogon Magandai is 5 hours from Kota Marudu on very rough old logging roads (impassable during the wet season) and Kota Marudu is 3 hours (sealed roads) from Kota Kinabalu. To access the kampung fr KK, most people would spend one night in Kota Marudu then make their way into Kg. Sonsogon Magandai at first light. (It is too dangerous to drive at night or in the dark.)


SWEPA has had a number of meetings and plan a total of 10 site visits for a period of 18 months.

The Project Manager Ms. Yap Li Ling has planned this project as follows:

Phase 1 :                Identifying and selecting the kampung and the grandmothers;
Application for the GEF Small Grants Program UNDP grant;

Selection of Strategic Partners and coordination;

Bunker Roy’s first visit and Official Launch.

Phase 2 :                Preparation of the grandmothers for the trip – Medical check, Passports, Visa;
Set-up of Village Committee.

Phase 3 :                Six-months’ training in India;
Shipment of equipment, Customs, Delivery and
Building of Workshop

Phase 4 :                Return of the grandmothers;
Handover of REW* building;

Electrification of the kampung;

PACOS takes over monitoring of kampung for 5 years.

The Objectives of this project :

1. To electrify 100 homes in this kampung

2. To empower 3 grandmothers who can return after they are trained, to then train more women in their kampung, to make a living providing a professional service of maintaining the solar equipment.(Women empowerment – focus of SWEPA).


SWEPA will work with several key partners for this project:

1. Barefoot College – 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

2. GEF Small Grants Programme UNDP – who have approved a grant for this project for 12 months

3. PACOS Trust – Partners of Community Organizations in Sabah (NGO) – who will monitor this project for 5 years after SWEPA hands over

4. Raleigh International – who will build a *Rural Electronic Workshop (REW) for this project for the kampung

5. Asian Forestry Company Sdn Bhd – Liaison and communication with the kampung, transport and logistics

6. 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

7. Sabah Credit Corporation – sponsor of building materials and transportation costs.


Official Launch:

The official Launch of this project was held on 16 May 2014 in Kg. Sonsogon Magandai. This was officiated by YB Anita Baranting who travelled to the kampung by road together with Mr. Bunker Roy and Ms. Meagan Fallon, both of whom arrived in KK on 12 May 2014. This was Bunker Roy’s first visit to Sabah and this project is the FIRST Barefoot Project in Malaysia.

Mr. Bunker Roy and Ms. Meagan Fallon were accompanied by SWEPA President Datin Jeanette Tambakau and they stayed in Kg. Sonsogon Magandai for two nights, interacting with the villagers, meeting and interviewing and selecting the grandmothers who will go to India and stay for 6 months to be trained as solar engineers. The community meetings were held to gather support and commitment for the project and support for the grandmothers’ families.


From PACOS Mdm Anne Lasimbang and her group, GEF-Small Grants Programme-UNDP representative Mr. David Lee, also visited the kampung and stayed for one night.

Also present at the Launch were Datuk Daniel Klisik, representing Datuk SP Dr. Max Ongkili, SWEPA Past President Datuk Adeline Leong (Project Chairperson), Hanaa Wong Abdullah (Project Dep. Chairperson), District Officer of Kota Marudu En. Sualim, Mr. Thondik from Asian Forestry Company Sdn Bhd and PBS Wanita.

The villagers all came in full force for the Launch to show their gratitude as recipients of this project.

Next Phase:

SWEPA and all partners are now ready for Phase 2 and arranging for the grandmothers to have their medical check-up at the Kota Marudu Hospital for their visa application. Thereafter, the grandmothers will make their first trip to Kota Kinabalu to apply for their passports.

SWEPA has successfully given this project due publicity in the local media. It is hoped that as the project progresses, it will be covered by the national print and online media as well to highlight the cause for the Empowerment of Women in Sabah.

Reported by,

Hanaa Wong Abdullah

Project Dep. Chairperson

SWEPA Immediate Past President

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