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  SGP's Stories - Community Micro-Hydro-dam

A local community-based multi-focal project, initiated through the building of a micro- hydro-dam in Kg Bantul, Sabah, Malaysia.

 

Bario Asal, Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak

Bario Asal micro-hydro project funded by SGP sets another fine example, how the community driven initiative has successfully helped to improve their standard of living by providing electricity to the village homes. Bario highlands, probably one of the remaining last frontiers poses formidable challenges to have the villages connected with national grids for electricity supply.

In 2006, SGP together with Bario Asal community explored the other possible means especially renewable sources to provide them with the power supply. As a result a community based micro-hydro project was conceived and SGP awarded a full grant of US$ 50,000 in 2007.

Objectives

The project was awarded to Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung (JKKK), a long house community consist of 50 households. The objectives of the project include:

  • Improved standard of living by providing accessibility to 24 hours electricity supply generated through renewable resources – micro-hydro.
  • Getting the Bario Asal community consensus and efforts in protecting and conserving 600 hectares of community forest within the watershed.
  • Enhancing awareness among the villagers in the importance of conserving the watershed.
  • Build capacity within the community to operate, maintain and manage the micro-hydro and serves to improve confidence in the community’s ability to undertake community development project.

Outputs/Beneficiaries

The construction work of turbine and powerhouse was completed in early 2009. As a result, direct benefits to the villages include:

  • Uninterrupted power supply to 50 households
  • Income savings to the households at average of RM 300 – 400 per month, previously used for diesel purchase to run generators; cost for wear and tear
  • Training to the local men to maintain and operate the powerhouse
  • Initiatives taken by community to conserve surrounding forest at the upper stream to ensure continuous flow of water to the dam and powerhouse.

Community Partnership

The project was successful in mobilizing community resources both in terms of financial and physical. SGP funding was supplemented by part contribution from State Authority and partly by each household in the village.

Construction works were mainly carried out by the villagers themselves using locally available resources.

The project also managed to salvage some of the construction materials and infrastructure abandoned from a previous project in the same site and reused them in the project.