106: Project Update May-September 2014


SWEPA Barefoot Solar Project Update 23rd September 2014:

Swepa send-off.THE SEND OFF! 15th Sept.2014 @ 6.00am. Hanaa, Datin Jeanette, Tarihing,, Li Ling, Karen

In the first week of September both Tarihing Masanim & Boyocot Punam  were supposed to have come down to Kota Kinabalu to prepare and await the issuance of their Indian visas and to leave on the scheduled date of 10th September. However, the 2nd lady Boyocot had a change of heart due to her fear of flying and decided not to proceed. Brave Tarihing declared that she didn’t mind going alone. Swepa member Li Ling of Asian Forestry Company (AFC) had volunteered to accompany Tarihing all the way to Tilonia.

Thus on the 5th September Tarihing was brought out from the kampong by AFC personnel and to KK to stay with Jennifer Anjek of PACOS near Kinarut. After several frantic phone calls to the Indian High Commission’s office in Kuala Lumpur by Datuk Adeline concerning the visa application, Swepa received the good news that an additional place to the quota for the College training had been approved by the Indian Government and that the visa can be issued by Monday 15th September and Tarihing can leave for New Delhi that same evening! This success of a place for a grandmother from Borneo was achieved by the concerted efforts of Bunker Roy who worked tirelessly to ensure that an additional place was found for Tarihing. We are indebted to you Bunker for your efforts in making sure this is happening!

Datuk Adeline happened to be in KL that weekend so she dropped by the Indian High Commission’s office on Friday 12th September to ensure all was in order. She met up with Shushovan and Meyyappan of the Education Section of the Indian HC and  noted with joy that everything had been approved! They have received the sanction from the Ministry in Dehli after many phone calls and had put in a lot of work on their part to ensure that Tarihing’s case proceeded successfully. She informed Mayyappan that Li Ling and Tarihing will see him at around 10.30am on arrival from KK. He confirmed that Tarihing’s student visa was ready and all that was needed was her fingerprints and it should be ready in 1-2 hrs time for them to be able to leave on 6pm Malindo flight to Dehli!

Please see accompanying report on Tarihing’s travel and arrival at Barfoot College, Tilonia,  India.



SWEPA Barefoot Solar Project Update 27th August 2014:

AUGUST 2014:
The Raleigh International team spent the whole month of August completing the REW (Rural Electrical Workshop) Building complete with water tanks to catch run-off rain water, toilets and kitchen. It was completed in time for the official launch on the 26th August 2014 when the official representative of the sponsoring partner Mr Eligius Samuel , Head of Corporate Services Dept of Sabah Credit Corporation did the official opening. The others who were present besides the villagers were Datin Jeanette Tambakau, President of SWEPA and her members Ursula U; Puan Rufina , PACOS Representative,
Mr Dickie Humphries of Raleigh International and his dedicated team who made it happen, Encik Hamdan Hj Sarudin , ADO of Kota Marudu and Mr Eddy, Liason Officer of Asian Forestry Company.

REW L4 (2)

After the ceremony, the two women Tarahin Masanim & Boyocot Punam selected to proceed to Barefoot College for their training in Tilonia, India were brought down to Kota Kinabalu in preparation to leave for India in mid-September 2014. Jennifer Anjek of PACOS has kindly offered to put them up in her home. We now await the issuing of their visas and their air tickets as arranged by Barefoot College.

Grandmas 2 (1)




1. May 2014 : The official launch of this project was held in Kg. Sonsogon Magandai and
the Guest of Honour was YB Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Max Ongkili, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water. SWEPA together with Asian Forestry Company (Sabah) Sdn Bhd (AFCS) coordinated the launch with the District Office of Kota Marudu. All key partners were acknowledged on the invitations and the backdrop with the logos of sponsors being included on these print materials. Sabah Credit Corporation was included.

Mr. Bunker Roy and Ms. Meaghan Fallone of Barefoot College in India made their first visit to Sabah for this event and travelled the 9 hours from Kota Kinabalu to the kampong by road together with SWEPA President Datin Jeanette Tambakau. The group included 2 French television reporters and all stayed in the kampong for 2 nights interacting with and getting to know the residents of Kg. Sonsogon Magandai.

Whilst there, Mr. Bunker Roy personally interviewed the group of women (grandmothers) who were interested in the prospects of going to India to learn about solar engineering. Three women were chosen.

2. June 2014 : Two of the three selected women made the trip to Kota Kinabalu in June for the necessary medical checkup for their visa application to India as well as to have their International passports made. AFCS coordinated the ladies’ travel from the kampong and looked after them in Kota Marudu. The third grandmother had a change of heart due to her poor health (dizzy spells) and decided not to go to India after all.

SWEPA arranged several project committee members to take care of the two women who spent one night in Kota Marudu first. Upon their arrival in K.K., the women were brought to UTC to have their IC’s updated and then their passports made.

Over the next 7 days, they were taken to the Luyang Hospital for their medical check-up, TB tests and Yellow Fever vaccine. They were also taken to a private clinic for their blood tests, after which they were given vaccines for Hepatitis A and B.

The two ladies were guests of both Datin Jeanette Tambakau and Mdm Jennifer Anjek (PACOS). Although they were made as comfortable as possible, they did experience some homesickness and one of them nearly decided to change her mind about going to India as well. After some motivation from a few committee members, both kampong women were back on track. Just before their return to the kampong, they were taken to the airport for a visit and then to see the aeroplanes taking off and landing on the runway. This last tour was to ease their fears of going on the aeroplanes and for them to have a better idea of what the airport looked like and what to expect when they leave.

AFCS arranged for the Letter of Agreement to be signed by 100 houses in Kg. Sonsogon Magandai and 55 houses in Kg. Sg. Magandai. AFC also conducted the census of the 55 houses in Kg. Sg. Magandai.

PACOS visited Kg. Sonsogon Magandai to form the Village Committee on 27th June 2014.

3. July 2014 : Raleigh International volunteers arrived in Sabah and AFCS facilitated the several teams’ transport to and from Kg. Sonsogon Magandai where where they would be building the Rural Electronic Workshop (REW) over 8 weeks from 30 June to 30 August 2014. AFCS assists SWEPA to monitor the construction of the building and coordinates much of the logistics between teams.

SWEPA arranged for the purchase of the building materials, based on a simple drawing of the building, with some specifications from Mr. Bunker Roy incorporated in the drawing eg. A store room, a working bench for technical work, a small hall and a toilet. This toilet would only be the second toilet in the village. (The first one is situated in the church.) We have added a small kitchen as well.

AFCS also arranged for the transport of the building materials, which was ordered from a local hardware shop in Kota Marudu. It took one 3-ton lorry to transport the materials from Kota Marudu to the nearest drop off point to the kampong and then several trips by pick-up trucks into the kampong and the site for the REW building.

SWEPA has been receiving reports from AFCS & Raleigh International and also on the progress of the building of the REW and the volunteers. The building is progressing well to date. There will be a small launch after the completion of the REW building on 26 August 2014 and we would like to invite SCC to the launch as Guest of Honour.

Also in July, 3 members in this team attended the two-day briefing and training by SGP (Small Grants Proposal), who have given SWEPA a grant for this project. The training was for Grantees to become more familiar with their reporting system and updating of projects, both financially and how capacity was built for the project beneficiaries.

Presently, we are at a stage between Phase 2 and Phase 3 of this project.

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