Saturday 15 May 2021 - 12:39:25 am

Community Development Department holds retreat to shape future of Abu Dhabi social sector

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ABU DHABI, 19th April, 2021 (WAM) -- The Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi recently hosted the second Strategic Retreat for the social sector in the emirate to define its plans and discuss the current operational systems within the vital sector.

The retreat was organised virtually and attended by representatives of 11 entities from the social sector who engaged in in-depth discussions on ways and mechanisms to set up strategic plans that will help accelerate the pace of social development in Abu Dhabi.

The participants proposed solutions to emerging and potential challenges in the sector while also showcasing the 2021 goals of their respective organisations.

Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the DCD, said that the social sector had tangible achievements in 2020 as it launched more than 150 initiatives and programmes for families, children, people of determination and senior citizens. These efforts had a significant impact on the happiness and satisfaction of community members in Abu Dhabi, especially given the unstinted support provided to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, Under-Secretary of the DCD, said that a clear picture of future social development-related issues was formed during the second Strategic Retreat. He reiterated the DCD’s keenness to consolidate the efforts of all concerned authorities to continuously improve the operational processes of the social sector and ensure a decent standard of living for all members of society.

During the virtual event, the DCD presented a research paper on social innovation and its importance in developing the human economy and finding innovative solutions to contemporary social challenges. The department also shed light on the proactive efforts of the Abu Dhabi Government to strengthen the emirate’s leadership in the field of social innovation.

Maryam Mohammed Al Rumaithi, Director-General of Family Development Foundation (FDF), said, "In accordance with the directives of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, we were able to provide distinguished social services in 2020 despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic. The foundation was one of the first government agencies to offer remote services and programmes as part of its efforts to preserve the health and safety of all community members."

Abdullah Abdulalee Al Humaidan, Secretary-General of the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO), said, "One of our many achievements in 2020 was the implementation of remote work, education and treatment systems to overcome the repercussions of the pandemic."

The organisation has also launched the "Remote Work" initiative for people of determination, and the "Initial Remote Evaluation" initiative that was implemented by ZHO’s Comprehensive Assessment Department. A new community service called "Sports and Fun for People of Determination - Remote Training" was also announced for the athletes in the organisation’s sports clubs and centres in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the rest of the Arab region.

Basheer Khalfan Al Mehairbi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Housing Authority (ADHA), said that the ADHA seeks to provide adequate housing options to Emirati families, one of the Abu Dhabi social sector’s key goals.

"We have been taking steps to achieve the Abu Dhabi Government’s goal to accelerate the digital transformation of social services in the emirate. In line with this, we have enabled the digital application procedures and have been using robotic technology to automate our work operations," he added.

Salama Al Ameemi, Director-General, Authority of Social Contribution – Ma'an, said, "Under the ‘Ma'an Social Incubator’ initiative, we inaugurated 30 social start-ups to provide social services, empower people of determination, enhance family cohesion and spread cordiality and love in society. The ‘Together We Are Good’ programme is one of our several campaigns launched in 2020 to help address the health and economic challenges brought about by the pandemic. An estimated AED1 billion worth of cash and in-kind contributions were collected under the programme last year to support more than 400,000 individuals affected by the pandemic in Abu Dhabi."

She further noted that through social innovation and community participation, Ma'an was able to launch 14 new programmes in cooperation with 40 strategic partners that will make a positive impact on lives in Abu Dhabi.

Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary-General, Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), emphasised the role of the retreat in supporting the social sector’s gains in 2020.

"We will launch initiatives and activities to urge our community members to adopt a healthy lifestyle and raise their awareness and knowledge about the importance of sports in their lives. Our previous online initiatives, which received a positive response, produced constructive outcomes and great societal impacts," Al Awani said.

Hamad Nakhirat Al Ameri, Director-General, Dar Zayed for Family Care (DZFC), said, "We work on rehabilitating and positively integrating into society all children who left without family care. We are also keen to raise the public’s awareness about the DZFC, its role and education-related plans to help the integration into society of its target individuals, whether through adoption or facilitation of marriage for young men and women. We will also continue to create programmes to empower and nurture the talents of children and youth."

Dr. Nidal Al Tunaiji, Director-General, Zayed House for Islamic Culture (ZHIC), noted that the organisation has updated its methods of delivering services in light of the pandemic. It now uses modern technologies for remote learning and communication to provide educational programmes.

"The ZHIC launched the fourth edition of the virtual ‘Tolerance’ forum themed ‘The UAE: homeland of tolerance and peace’ to promote the values of tolerance, coexistence and openness instilled in Emirati society. It also organised the fourth edition of the ‘Social Workers’ forum remotely under the theme ‘The role of the social workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Meanwhile, 20 interactive initiatives were launched to raise awareness about the epidemic. Our other initiatives included the ‘Thank you, My Family’ community campaign, which emphasised the role of the family in containing the spread of the virus, and the ‘Never Mind, Your Rations on Us’ initiative, which supported 200 families of ZHIC’s students affected by COVID-19," Al Tunaiji stated.

Rashid Ateeq Al Hameli, Director-General, Social Care and Minors Affairs Foundation (SCMAF), emphasised, "Reinforcing its role in supporting minors and similar cases, the SCMAF has offered digital services using unified government digital platforms according to the highest international standards."

Sarah Ibrahim Shuhail, Director-General, Ewa'a Shelters for Victims of Human Trafficking, said, "Ewa'a, which aims to serve victims of human trafficking, violence and all forms of abuse, is currently working on a strategy that can help achieve the goals for which it was established. These include the provision of safe shelter and proper health and psychological care for human trafficking and abuse victims and the implementation of a programme to rehabilitate and help them to be reintegrated into society."

Abdullah Humaid Al Ameri, Acting Director-General, Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority (ADSSA), affirmed that the ADSSA is keen to support and empower low-income national families and achieve their social stability and financial independence. This is in line with the vision of the leadership.

Al Ameri added that the ADSSA has supported 3,332 families to date. He also confirmed that the recent updates on the policies of the "Abu Dhabi Social Support" and the improvement of the social support request application for the seamless submission and evaluation process were rolled out for the benefit of Emirati families. To achieve this, the authority completed the electronic linkage with 21 relevant entities to facilitate data-sharing between each other.

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Hassan Bashir