SWEPA Barefoot Solar Project Borneo Sabah
SWEPA Barefoot Solar Project Borneo Sabah
This project aims to provide solar energy to 100 houses in a remote village, Kampung Sonsogon Magandai, Kota Marudu, Sabah which has no access to electricity. The project addresses climate change by providing this source of renewable energy and provides the community with the means to improve their standard of living.

The project is located at Kg. Sonsogon Magandai which is in one of the poorest parts of Malaysia and the location is inaccessible from the main road. The main target group of this project is two young grandmothers between the ages of 35 and 50, who will be trained as solar engineers. The selected women will undergo 6 months’ training in India, learning about solar energy systems . Upon completion of the training, the women will return to their villages where they will install, maintain and repair the solar equipment. The project can be duplicated in other kampongs.

OBJECTIVES : The main objective is to provide basic solar electrical services to rural communities to electrify their homes. This project also supports the empowerment of women as agents of sustainable change.
1. To implement the ‘barefoot’ approach of demystifying and decentralizing solar technology down to the rural communities
2. To form Village Committees to implement the entire solar lighting project through women Barefoot Solar Engineers (BSEs) in their villages
3. To organize village meetings to collectively identify semi-literate women from the non-electrified villages and send them for 6 months training to India
4. To train semi-literate rural women to fabricate, install and maintain the solar lighting systems in their village. They will be trained in the installation of solar lighting systems in remote, small, inaccessible villages in India
5. To organize the community to sustain the project through collecting monthly users’ contribution and barefoot solar engineers (BSEs) wages
6. To put the fabrication, installation, repair and maintenance of solar technology in the management, supervision, control and ownership of rural communities.


Educate and Empower Women to become solar engineers who install and maintain the equipment for all households in their villages. Utilizing renewable energy sources and creating sustainability and independence for rural communities.

Demystify and Decentralize technology through technical education for the marginalized and most rural communities. Target semi-literate or illiterate Grandmothers.

Empowering Women and their Communities. Women are the greatest catalyst for change around the developing world. Each woman has the potential to become an agent of change.

ENERGY FOR ALL. Clean energy access for all. All people should have access to clean water and basic power. Our Grass-roots approach drives bottom up solutions that work.

Objectives and Activities:
1.0 Electrification of Homes
1.1 SWEPA Site Visits – Kg. Sonsogon Magandai : To meet with the villagers, briefing of the project, slide show and Q&A, confirm number of houses by physically counting the houses by criteria : - no generator sets or existing agricultural activities, to sound out potential grandmothers.
1.2 Site Visits – SWEPA and Bunker Roy will be visiting Kg. Sonsogon Magandai for the final selection of the two grandmothers and project will be launched by the Federal Minister of Energy, Green Technology & Water or the Chief Minister of Sabah.
1.3 Supply of Equipment
1.4 Equipment Delivery
1.5 REW Rural Electrification Building - Supply of building materials for REW Workshop, transportation of building materials to Kg. Sonsogon Magandai and construction of REW Workshop by Raleigh International volunteers and the villagers
1.6 Monitoring and Evaluation – Site Visits to audit the Village Solar Committee of 5 members who will administer, supervise and ensure that monthly contributions are received, bank account of the Village Solar Committee, quarterly, to ensure that the solar units installed in every house do not leave the village and that 50% of the collected contributions are paid to the Women Solar Engineers every month
1.7 Documentation – Reports, Press Articles and Video - Press Conference in Kota Kinabalu and Videographer for 1 field visit & 15 min. clip
2.0 Empowerment of Women
2.1 Training of 2 grandmothers at Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India; where they will learn by unique language consisting of a combination of hands, sight and sound language
2.2 At the end of 6 months, the grandmothers will graduate as Women Barefoot Solar Engineers (WBSE). They will return to Kg. Sonsogon Magandai and electrify 100 households with solar lighting units.
2.3 The grandmothers assume the responsibility of repair and maintenance for a min. of 5 years. Barefoot Solar Engineers play the key role in sustaining and replicating solar technology in rural communities, change the perception of what is a professional for rural villages and challenge both age and gender barriers.
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Project Snapshot

Sabah Women Entrepreneurs & Professionals Association
Area Of Work:
Climate Change Mitigation
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 32,189.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 9,063.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Replication of project activities
A woman, Madam Tarihing was undergone six months training in India, she in turn will train others in the committee for installation, repair and maintenance, widening the skills among the people.
Project sustainability
To organize the community to sustain the project through collecting monthly users’ contribution and barefoot solar engineers (BSEs) wages. The solar project is designed to be sustainable thgrough a monthly collection of RM 15 per house to support Madam Tarihing monthly salary for maintenance of the solar equipment and savings for future's parts purchase requirement.
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Grantee Contact

Yap Li Ling
Phone: +6088 222 939
Fax: +6088 268 122
Email: ll.yap@forestsolutions.com.my


2nd Floor, Wisma Wanita, Kilometer 3.5, Jalan Tuaran
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah ,

SGP Country office contact

Ms. Shin Shin, Lee
603-8689 6055
Ms. Nurul Fitrah Mohd Ariffin Marican


Level 10, Menara PJH, No.2, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Precinct 2,
Putrajaya, 62100

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