Greetings of Hope to ENRICHE Sabah’s rural communities by Sabah Women Entrepreneurs & Professionals Association in collaboration with financial assistance from the Global Environment Facility / Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP) , implemented by UNDP on behalf of the three GEF Implementing Agencies – UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank – and executed by UNOPS.

In 1992, the Year of the Rio Earth Summit , the GEF/SGP was established. This unique Programme embodies the very essence of sustainable development by ‘ thinking globally acting locally’. In doing so, it provides financial and technical support to projects that are able to conserve and restore the environment while enhancing the people’s well-being and livelihoods. SGP demonstrates that community action can maintain the fine balance between human needs and environmental imperatives.

Thus SWEPA’s Barefoot Solar Project well defines the implementations in accordance to Small Grants Programme Projects. With successfully lighting up 4 villages ( Kg. Sonsogon Mangandai, Kg. Sungai Mangandai, Kg. Binontungan Suyad and Kg. Sosongon Suyad) by solar power by our three ‘solar mamas’, Tarahing, Rusni and Gining. SWEPA continues to fortify sustainability and explores numerous ways to help the rural people to be self independent through skills such as handicraft making, agriculture, sewing skills, honey bee harvesting etc, to name a few.

With successful and sustainable solar powered communities, the path had been lit and the need to empower women, men and youth grows stronger and so Barefoot Solar Project with the help of the funds raised from the 3D Live Portrait as well as GEF/SGP Funding, SWEPA embarks further on its continued course to ENRICHE our communities for long term and help them to be self sustaining and to teach their skills to others and continue with hope the circle of a dignified quality of life.

The SWEPA ENRICHE Vision: To Tap into the various inert skills that rural people already have and to give them a platform for better training, building their self- confidence and teaching them how to overcome challenges with long term sustainable solutions.

The SWEPA ENRICHE Mission: To stay righteous on our path and work together with GEF/SGP in alleviating poverty and sustaining basic human needs such as food, water, shelter, LIGHT, and medical availability.

It was a ‘divine intervention’ that while scouting for a sponsor of funds for SWEPA’s First Barefoot Solar Project, our Advisor and Visionary Leader, Datuk Adeline Leong coincidentally met with the Organizer of SGP at an event and it is from this meeting that the footsteps to fund the first Barefoot Solar Project were started which have continued to progress with a Memorandum of Agreement signed between SWEPA and GEF/SGP on May 23rd, 2017. In this signed Pact, GEF/SGP has established and provided funding for a project, being SWEPA ENRICHE PROGRAM – Enterprise, Education and Empowerment by and for rural women. This Project builds on the work of enabling the solar powered communities to drive further positive changes more cohesive and productive which will sustain them for economic impacts and climate change.

We are therefore very fortunate and grateful to GEF/SGP that has provided us the funding for this Project , being The SWEPA ENRICHE curriculum which provides rural women and young people with the opportunity to gain confidence, practical knowledge and skills that are relevant to their life and priorities. SWEPA will continue to help the 4 villages as mentioned before and enable them to receive their socio-economic benefits by creating livelihood opportunities, vocational training and capacity building so that their women and young people can increase control over their lives and capacity to solve challenges and to contribute towards creating sufficient and sustainable rural communities.

We, In SWEPA enrich the lives of our ‘extended families’ and hope for a better tomorrow through the implementation of the ENRICHE Program.

For :
H – Helping & Reaching out to the rural poor.
O – Opportunities created to Educate – Train – & Empower rural women
P – People elevated with better skills to self sustain and improve their livelihood
E – Eradicating Poverty

Let us HOPE & ENRICHE together.

I end with an appropriate quote by Desmond Tutu : ” Hope is being able to see that there is Light despite all of the darkness”.

By: Dr. Shelly Bhardwaj
Blog Co-ordinator





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