Abu Dhabi launches 60 community initiatives in response to the coronavirus outbreak
29 May 2020
In cooperation with its partners in the social sector in Abu Dhabi, the Department of Community Development, DCD, has launched a package of initiatives that are aligned with the efforts of the Abu Dhabi government to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
The total number of initiatives that have been launched since the beginning of the crisis has reached 60, in areas related to Community Engagement Initiatives, Awareness Campaigns, Contributions and Family Support Initiatives, Support for Vulnerable Families, and Business Continuity Services.
Among the most prominent initiatives that were introduced is the "Together We Are Good" programme announced by the Authority of Social Contribution, Ma'an, which was established by the Department of Community Development as the first official social fund. Ma'an was chosen as the official government channel for receiving contributions from the community to address urgent social challenges. The programme aims to direct incoming contributions to support different segments of society that are affected by the current circumstances, in areas that include educational support, health support, and food supplies, in addition to basic living needs.
Following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to devote special attention to senior citizens, the Department of Community Development has launched an awareness campaign with the slogan "Our wealth lies with our elders" to educate community members on the importance of caring for the elderly, who have devotedly served their country alongside our Founding Father.
Furthermore, the department has strengthened communication channels with different communities and places of worship, to check on them and their subjects through meetings that are held remotely and periodically, to spread awareness messages in different languages.
The Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority also launched an initiative titled "Stay home and food baskets will be delivered to your doorstep" to ensure that full support is provided to eligible families. Meanwhile, the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination has announced support for the "Fund of the UAE: Homeland of Humanity", in addition to providing six centres for the use of Abu Dhabi Health Services Co., SEHA, and providing 13 beds for Al Mudeef Center for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, as well as supplying SEHA with highly-qualified medical staff.
In the list of community interaction initiatives is the "Fit@Home" programme launched by the Department of Community Development as part of the series of initiatives introduced within the Abu Dhabi Inspires campaign. The Abu Dhabi Sports Council also launched a challenge that aims to combat diseases and boost immunity through the implementation of the social sector "active community" strategy, in addition to the launch of the Stay Home Abu Dhabi Chess Tournament. Meanwhile, as part of the Stay Home initiative, the Family Development Foundation organised "Captured family moments", and "Share your ideas with your children" initiatives.
The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority participated in the "Digital Month" and the competition for generating ideas for indoor activities with children. The Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority launched the "Your Health is Important to Us", while the Zayed House for Islamic Culture, ZHIC, launched the "ZHIC Virtual Board".
As for the initiatives targeting the beneficiary groups, the Family Development Foundation has introduced three initiatives which are, "Do not carry any concern", "Together to support you" and "Your food to your Home". The Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination has also launched the "Hmmm Initiative" for specialised family counselling services; while, the Zayed House for Islamic Culture introduced several remote lectures in addition to the "Do not carry any concern" initiative that delivers food baskets to homes.
Partners from the social sector introduced 18 awareness campaigns. Among them is the initiative launched by the Department of Community Development to prepare a guide as a resource for families supporting children of determination during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination has launched a set of social and psychological care initiatives such as an awareness campaign titled "Your Health is Important to Us", an awareness campaign that provides prevention and quarantine guidelines, as well as a campaign for people of determination titled "We are committed".
Other initiatives include braille publications to raise awareness on prevention and quarantine guidelines and a campaign in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development offering important guidelines for people of determination in sign language.
The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, on the other hand has launched a campaign devoted to offering advice on how to communicate and interact with young children. The Authority has also issued guidelines on the means of communication with children at home, along with providing tips to facilitate the distance learning process for parents and children.
In addition to these campaigns, the Family Development Foundation announced the launch of the "100 Days Challenge" sports programme, and the "Captured family moments" campaign. The foundation also organised numerous virtual workshops explaining the role of families in crisis management, as well as ongoing radio campaigns broadcast weekly on Al Emarat FM. The Abu Dhabi Sports Council launched several fitness campaigns including "Stay Home, Stay Healthy", and "Fit@home", to raise awareness on the importance of being physically fit and staying active during these circumstances.
In terms of awareness campaigns, the Zayed House for Islamic Culture, as part of the "We are committed" campaign launched four official Facebook pages to address non-Arabic speaking communities to keep them updated regarding the latest decisions, regulations and measures taken across the nation to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Social sector entities have also provided high-quality services to ensure business continuity including 18 digital services that aim to address the current situation in line with the government's directions to activate remote work systems. For instance, the Family Development Foundation provided several remote services including, the integrated family social welfare service, the effective parenting skills service, premarital preparation workshops, family budget management and financial planning workshops, the Better Family Life Discussion Council, Al Dar Children and Youth Club, and the Promotion of Men's Positive Role in Parenting workshop, in addition to several excellence in entrepreneurship workshops.
The Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination has provided distance learning services, remote fitness training services and telemedicine services to ensure that the daily lives of people of determination have not been disrupted entirely. Additionally, the ZHIC, also provided distance learning services for its students promoting the values of tolerance, compassion, and coexistence with different cultures, along with social counselling services, and introduction to Islam sessions.
The Social Care and Minors Affairs Foundation announced its "We are always close by" service that seeks to reach out to minors and vulnerable groups and facilitate social and counselling services electronically. Similarly, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council provided remote training services for free, as well as a training service with the slogan "Dedication at work and safety at home" which targets professional athletes in sports clubs. The Abu Dhabi Housing Authority launched its "Mustasharak Service" a free technical consultation service that provides advice and support to citizens who wish to build their own homes.
In light of these initiatives, Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of Department of Community Development, stated that these collaborative efforts undertaken by all entities during the coronavirus pandemic, are in line with the directives of UAE’s leadership which is keen on providing a dignified life for every member of the community, noting that all government entities are working tirelessly in a calm and collected manner to contain the current situation and to highlight UAE’s ability to overcome all challenges.
He stated that despite the current global crisis, what has been evident ever since the beginning of the crisis is that people in the community have demonstrated a heightened sense of responsibility and awareness, by following all directives issued by the official authorities and responding positively to recent developments in a manner that reflects social cohesion.
He added, "We have launched various educational initiatives in collaboration with our partners in the social sector during this past period, along with a set of interactive community initiatives, as well as support and contribution initiatives that have received great participation from all individuals and entities, which is a testament to the great people of our beloved nation and their strong sense of social responsibility and consideration for their fellow society members."
Abdullah Abdul Alali Al-Humaidan, Secretary-General of the Zayed Higher Organization For People of Determination, affirmed that "The organisation, with all its staff and assets, is an integral part of the national fabric of the United Arab Emirates, which has proven its capacity and efficiency in facing challenges. In light of the current conditions, and as part of the organisation’s keenness on ensuring the safety of all people with determination, the efforts of social institutions have been greatly intensified which contributed to the success of numerous community and awareness initiatives. These efforts have been directed towards enhancing distance learning and remote working systems, ensuring the continuity of the educational process, the continuity of various care and rehabilitation programmes, and supporting the workflow continuity and efficiency in various workplaces, as well as the organisation's care and rehabilitation centres across Abu Dhabi. The role of the Zayed Higher Organization is not limited to providing care and rehabilitation, it also participates positively by offering its medical staff and facilities and joining forces with relevant parties to assist in limiting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic."
Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said, "The sports initiatives and activities that were held remotely witnessed unprecedented participation from all segments of society, which resulted in many positive outcomes that had an important impact on our community."
He noted that the initiatives of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council varied between awareness initiatives and educational initiatives including campaigns aiming to urge all community members to stay active and maintain their physical fitness and health while staying at home by highlight the importance of physical fitness and its positive impact on the immune system and its ability to combat infectious diseases. The initiatives also aim to raise morale and motivate everyone to take full advantage of their free time by engaging in healthy practices as part of the Council’s goal to establish an active community that is highly fit and healthy."
Dr. Nidal Al Tunaiji, General Director at the ZHIC, said, "In light of the current conditions, all government entities have concentrated their efforts to ensure remote service provision continuity noting that the ZHIC has implemented and launched a package of initiatives that aim to enhance communication, cooperation, cohesion and compassion among society members, to achieve societal happiness, strengthen societal values among different social segments and establish a positive atmosphere that contributes to improving the standard of living. In support of new reverts, the ZHIC has focused its attention on boosting social solidarity by supplying students affected by the coronavirus crisis with food baskets to help reduce the damage caused by these conditions."
Salama Al Ameemi, Director-General of the Authority of Social Contribution, Ma’an, stated, "The Emirati society is well known for its interconnectedness and generosity. For this reason, Ma’an’s Together We Are Good’ programme was set up to provide a platform that unifies societal efforts and highlights the community’s sense of social responsibility towards addressing high priority social challenges. The programme gives the community a chance to contribute directly and support the Abu Dhabi Government’s efforts to address urgent social issues. This is a reflection of the Authority’s objectives that include creating collaborative communities and achieving integration between various sectors to ensure sustainable community development. She added that the Authority is committed to managing contributions wisely to ensure long-term and sustainable financing to solve social issues in Abu Dhabi. The first campaign shall focus on the current health and economic challenges and the Authority welcomes all contributions whether large or small, she noted, while stressing that it will work tirelessly with its government partners to properly prioritise the allocation of resources.
On the occasion, Abdullah Humaid Al-Amri, Acting Director-General of Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority, said, "During these current circumstances, the Authority shall continue to direct its efforts towards supporting families benefitting from the Abu Dhabi Social Support Programme to alleviate their burdens, in line with the directives of UAE’s wise leadership that seek to ensure a dignified life for all, and establish social stability for families living in Abu Dhabi. He noted that these efforts are a part of the rapid response strategies efficiently implemented by the government to address the various changes and developments caused by the coronavirus crisis. For this reason, the Authority launched several important initiatives that aim to support citizens, satisfy their needs, and ensure their happiness."