VIREC is a Virtual Resource Centre of the Ummah Initiative Group in partnership with the world class Kwale mineral sands vision 2030 flagship Base Titanium Project. VIREC is basically a knowledge sharing and skills building portal targeting to support career and entrepreneurship development among diverse categories of users across the country and beyond.
In addition to knowledge creation, sharing and skills development, VIREC is a practical business hub offering custom local supplier development programs, businesses linkages and real supply chain opportunities through our custom built E-Commerce Platforms.
We are seeking to create and enhance stakeholder engagements with a view to improving investor – community relations, contributing to peaceful mutual co-existence, and helping grassroots communities attain long term resilience against radicalisation and violent extremism push pull factors.
More About VIREC
Ali Libondo – Executive Director
Ummah Initiative Group
The ECOPRO platform is a pool of shared corporate environmental experiences and solutions, innovative environmental approaches integrated with socio economic solutions, research opportunities and real circular economy business opportunities. The ECOPRO community led environmental solutions initiative is designed with a purpose to ensure communities are proactively generating solutions to mitigate challenges affecting their environment, and at the same time achieve socio economic empowerment and transformation. By extension the ECOPRO program offers community solutions to conflicts and various forms of violence and crime catalysed by environmental factors and challenges.
Endorsement Messages from our Partners, Collaborators, and Stakeholders
General Manager – Environment & Community Affairs
Base Titanium Ltd
Colin Forbes – General Manager
Environment and Community Affairs, Base Titanium
Congratulations Ummah Initiative Group for a job well done! I am happy knowing that beyond the lifetime of the Kwale Mineral Sands Base Titanium Mine, you will be able to continue implementing community support programs in Kwale and further across the 47 counties. As the largest mining project in Kenya, Base Titanium is pleased witnessing how UIG has transformed itself over the years to become the competitive community organisation it is today. We are happy that UIG was able to see unique opportunities brought by the mining project and fully utilised them to create a unique identity and niche within the growing extractives sector in Kenya.
The Extractives Virtual Tours (EVITO) and the Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub extension is a clear testimony of what Base Titanium has been able to accomplish in terms of local content enabling for UIG itself, and the communities targeted to benefit ranging from students in learning institutions, youth and women groups, and other diverse community support programs implemented by government and other development stakeholders across the 47 counties. As you get ready to roll out the Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub, I take this opportunity to wish you success!
DR. MELBA WASUNNA
External Affairs Manager
Base Titanium Ltd
Dr Melba Wasunna – External Affairs Manager
It gives me much pleasure to have been part of this great journey from the beginning. Right from conceptualisation this looked like a great idea, and now that it’s actualising it is even more fantastic! Challenged by the COVID 19 pandemic you rose up to the occasion and made a significant contribution to help the extractives sector move forward. As a world class mining company Base Titanium is proud of what we have managed to accomplish together in our partnership to help the sector overcome challenges related to the pandemic, and enhance the opportunities and strategies for local content maximization. As Kenya’s extractives sector continues to grow, there is no doubt whatsoever that the Extractives Virtual Tours (EVITO) and Virtual Resource Centre (VIREC) platform will be a great value addition in the long term.
Community Relations Manager
Base Titanium Ltd
Pius Kassim – Community Relations Manager
Base Titanium has done so much in terms of development and operationalisation of community development policies such as the Mining Act 2016 and Mining Regulations 2017, and I am happy to see how the EVITO – Virtual Resource Centre platform has made effort to showcase this to the world and create room that will inform discussions and future developments in Kenya’s mining sector. Since the COVID –19 pandemic we have not been able to receive learning institutions and community members for educational visits, and even when we could receive, the numbers were always limited, leaving out so many others desiring to benefit. The Virtual Resource Centre is coming in handy to mitigate such challenges. I urge the community, county governments and development stakeholders to embrace the platform and support the successful rolling of the EVITO VIREC platform. We have helped set the pace and we will be happy to see other extractives sector projects coming in to help complete the vision and objectives of the platform.
Finance and Admin Manager
Base Titanium Ltd
Mackson Mwango – Finance & Admin Manager
As a company that cares to support empowerment of local communities in Kwale and across the 47 counties, we have shared a lot of information from the Base Titanium warehouse to enrich the virtual resource centre and business hub platform. Over the years as a company we have helped many local SMEs to supply goods and services at Base Titanium. The VIREC local supplier development program which we have strongly supported, will go a long way to consolidate the gains, propel the local content campaign forward, and strategically position local SMEs for more lucrative supply chain opportunities in the extractive sector, multinational corporations and government mega infrastructural projects. Congratulations Ummah Initiative Group for this achievement!
PROF. HALIMU SHAURI
Dean – School of Humanities & Social Sciences
Prof. Halimu Shauri – Dean School of Humanities & Social Sciences
I am impressed by the creativity and innovative thoughts that have informed the Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub Portal. This is definitely a new approach that will bring significant value addition to the classroom experience in secondary schools and Universities. It is by all standards a very dynamic, all-inclusive and progressive community empowerment portal, a perfect web of development solutions integrating technology, extractives, tourism and greater blue economy opportunities for economic empowerment of local communities. The ideas and strategies put in place to capacity build local communities, and strategically position them for optimization of value chain opportunities in the extractives sector, tourism and blue economy are amazing to say the least. As a University, we are excited by the enormous opportunities created to nurture social entrepreneurs and environmental entrepreneurs, creating much needed solutions for our communities, and further creating direct and indirect income generating activities for our youth and women, contributing to the wider development goals as captured in the County Integrated Development Plans across the 47 counties, national and global community development aspirations. As you get ready to register, empower and facilitate YAOGA affiliate teams to nurture and promote responsible and constructive citizen engagements, and good governance community development approaches, I strongly recommend the importance of conducting baseline surveys to help the program measure success and impact made thereafter. Otherwise as a University, we are ready to walk with you along this journey towards community development and transformation, hoping that together we can make meaningful contribution to the attainment of the global sustainable development goals.
DR. MWAKUMANYA MAARIFA
Dean – School of Environment & Earth Science
Dr. Mwakumanya Maarifa – Dean School of Environment & Earth Science
This is getting interesting, I’m just mesmerized, really, by the kind of thinking our young people are displaying. I am saying this because these young people will surely need a push. Just a push in terms of mentorship, a push in terms of guidance, a push in terms of providing them with the resources and giving them the platform. If these four issues are available for our great young thinkers then nothing will be left unturned. Sometimes ago when we were going through the Base Titanium social environmental impact assessment, nobody thought of what will happen after the base operations are over. Nobody thought of what would happen during the operations. But today I’m impressed by the way the youth have challenged themselves and thought creatively to utilize all available opportunities. With the support that Base Titanium is providing the young people, we are now witnessing such innovative initiatives as EVITO – Extractives Virtual Tours and the VIREC Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub. Our youth are coming out strongly to offer solutions in the midst of COVID – 19 pandemic. Solutions that actually double up as profitable business ventures. Everybody can actually interact with this platform; it’s a major source of information, information on production processes, environmental conservation, community development, name it, just at the click of a button and you are sorted. Beyond being a virtual source of information, the platform is connecting with real issues affecting communities by offering training opportunities in a wide range of areas, and creating a conducive environment for generation of local solutions affecting the environment through the ECOPRO initiative, where youth and women can look for environmental early warning signs and propose early response solutions. Once through with these trainings and mentorships, the beneficiaries can progress further and even start environment friendly and profitable business. Our youth and women can start their own enterprises, and which I believe is something that is encouraging, something that if any of us were in a position to support the youth should actually take it up. Sometimes back people thought it was very difficult to approach these big companies like Base Titanium, because they have their own ideas and thinking, but we have realized that, actually now these companies are thinking together with our young people, and if our young people align their thinking with the vision and mission of these big companies, then they can get the support they need, like what we are witnessing with EVITO Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub, a UIG initiative supported by Base Titanium. My appeal also goes to the other companies, Base Titanium has set the highest standards of engaging with our youth. Listening to their ideas and supporting implementation of those ideas. If other companies replicate what Base Titanium is doing, then a big positive impact will be made. Both County and National Government should complement such efforts and provide the right environment for scaling up.
HON. SAFINA KWEKWE TSUNGU, CBS
Principal Secretary – STATE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
Hon. Safina Kwekwe Tsungu, CBS
Principal Secretary – State Department of Tourism
In the year 2020, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, State Department for Tourism Partnered with Ummah Initiative and Base Titanium Kwale World Class Mineral Sands Project, to launch twin digital platforms to mitigate COVID 19 socio economic challenges, and to promote peaceful and mutual coexistence of local communities and private sector investments, including the extractives and the hotel and tourism sectors. Together with Colin Forbes, Base Titanium General Manager for Environment and Community Affairs, we presided over the launch of Faraja Safaris, Events, Properties and Booking Platform, and the Tijara Community Online Store at the Leopard Beach Resort in November 2020. Again in March 2021, I had the privilege of gracing the Madini Mazingira Na Ustawi wa Jamii Annual Conference, Exhibitions and Excursions event held at the Diani Reef Beach Hotel. This was followed by a tour of the Base Titanium Mine and tree planting at a dedicated rehabilitation area within the mine. It is interesting to see the unique approach integrating the Extractives and Tourism to create economic opportunities for local communities. It is on this background that the Ministry of Tourism has developed strong interest to partner with Ummah Initiative Group (UIG), even as they prepare to unveil the Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub Platform during the Madini Mazingira Na Ustawi wa Jamii Annual Conference in March 2022.
CREATING AND PROMOTING DIGITAL TOURISM ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES TO SUPPORT YOUTH AND WOMEN IN THE COUNTIES
The Faraja Safaris, Events and Bookings platform is a perfect linkage between tourism investments and local youth and women economic empowerment activities. Registered Bodaboda Associations, Youth and Women Groups can establish meaningful business relationships as we embrace modern day online buying and selling, door to door delivery services through the community online platforms. This is a concept we would like to support as a Ministry.
The MARKET BASKET online community store seeks to organise small and medium business vendors within the counties for strategic positioning to exploit and sustain supply chain opportunities within their surroundings, including the extractives sector and the hotel sector. The platform has been custom built with consideration for each of the 47 counties. The platform includes market basket stalls for individual vendors from each of the 47 counties, making it possible for hotels to establish meaningful relationship with the community vendors in their surroundings. As a Ministry we welcome collaborations with County Governments and other development stakeholders to ensure optimal utilization and economic empowerment of local communities.
Within the ECOPRO – Community Integrated Environmental Solutions, custom opportunities for community environmental solutions have been created, contributing to the growth of the tourism sector at large. For instance, the ECOPRO platform has created opportunities for generation of innovative waste management solutions. Through partnerships with County Governments, hotels and other development stakeholders, the ECOPRO campaign has the potential to ensure our towns are clean from garbage menace, and our oceans and beaches safe from toxic waste products. As we continue to support youth and women groups through the ECOPRO initiative, ultimately this will translate into major contributions in modern day circular economy business model. The ECOPRO Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub Program, makes it possible to showcase and market community led ecotourism initiatives across the country, with strategic and deliberate stakeholder involvement, to help the initiatives overcome challenges and optimise tourism economic benefits.
SUPPORTING THE TUJENGANE TUINUANE CAMPAIGN AGAINST VIOLENT EXTREMISM – Tourism and related businesses thrive in a peaceful environment. The sector suffered a major blow from the time of the Kaya Bombo clashes and the 2007 post-election violence. This situation was exacerbated by the emergence of extremist terror groups. Through the Tujengane Tuinuane Skills for Business and PCVE, the Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub platform has created enormous opportunities for stakeholders to join the campaign to change the narrative of hopelessness and violence, to a narrative of hope and peaceful coexistence. As an industry let us step up to improve our relationships with surrounding communities to earn the requisite social capital our investments need, help build community resilience against VE push pull factors, and make it difficult for the enemies of peace to spread hate messages that lead to radicalisation and violence. Let us all embrace the Virtual Resource Centre and Business Hub community initiatives for Local Supplier Development, Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism.
KHADIJA SAID OMAR
EVITO Project Associate
Khadija Said Omar
EVITO Project Associate
Extractives Virtual Tours – EVITO, is a community empowerment platform of Ummah Initiative Group (UIG), in partnership with Base Titanium Limited, established in the wake of COVID – 19 pandemic to mitigate the challenges and comply with the emerging new normal protocols, and as a strategy to maximize local content opportunities. EVITO offers a perfect one stop platform connecting investors, stake-holders, and communities. As a grassroots community organization, Ummah Initiative Group (UIG) is happy and sincerely grateful for the partnership with Base Titanium, which has made it possible for EVITO to feature the Kwale world class mineral sands mine operation, as the first project on the platform. As the largest mine operation in Kenya, Base Titanium offers invaluable lessons and experiences for other investors, the government, other development stakeholders and the community at large. As an interactive platform, EVITO is creating the most favourable environment that enables effective engagement, and pursuit of diverse development agenda and interests, with the ultimate objective of furthering the growth of the sector itself, and maximizing local content community benefits in the overall. As an Extractives virtual hub, EVITO does not only build direct linkages among existing current and potential future investors, but also creates ample space for participation of other development stakeholders and communities.