A strong culture of volunteering is vital to building a better future for new generations : Abdullah bin ZayedJun 19, 2012 - 04:36 -
WAM Abu Dhabi, 19th June 2012 (WAM) - A strong culture of volunteering is vital to promoting sustainable development and building a better future for new generations in the UAE, the Foreign Minister and Board Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stressed today.
Speaking at the opening of a volunteers' forum and workshop organized under his patronage by the Emirates Foundation, Sheikh Abdullah said there was a need to enhance cooperation between individuals and corporations involved in various voluntary activities through joint initiatives and programmes across the seven emirates.
He paid tribute to the leading efforts made by all individuals and national organizations engaged in volunteering and relief and humanitarian work, and to their role in promoting the culture of volunteering and community service across the country.
Addressing the representatives of civil society and government institutions who attended the forum and workshop at Abu Dhabi's Westin Hotel, Sheikh Abdullah expressed deep thanks and appreciation to UAE President His Highness Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brother Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness General Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan for their wise leadership and limitless support to volunteer work.
"This forum", Sheikh Abdullah said, "represents an ideal opportunity for the participants to better know each other, share their experiments and exchange views and ideas about all aspects of volunteering and discuss issues that may obstruct further progress in the field of volunteering, which is vitally important for building the UAE future." "Right from the beginning, we have called for this forum as a means to help volunteer workers get a firsthand look into voluntary projects and unite their effort to maximize benefits from their shared experiences in this vital sector," he added.
Sheikh Abdullah noted how the UAE leadership attached great importance to volunteering and provided the support which enabled leading organizations to fulfill their missions at a time when the UAE was experiencing wide strides in sustainable development and economic and social growth.
"This support has yielded fruit through developing and inculcating the culture of volunteering and the launching of numerous initiatives of volunteer, humanitarian and relief work," he said adding that strong and effective partnerships between organizations is now needed to build on these achievements and provide new opportunities for Emirati youth willing to serve their local communities.
Topics of discussion included: ways of establishing effective voluntary projects learning from leading volunteers' experiments; ethics of volunteering; the importance of volunteering networks; and the case studies of successful voluntary work from around the world.
A workshop, organized on the sidelines of the forum, exposed participants to volunteer and community service essentials, and developed their skills in planning and managing successful voluntary projects and budgets.
The programme is based on a 50-hour training curriculum upgraded by the Takatof Programme in partnership with the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Abu Dhabi. This includes 30 hours of theory and 20 hours devoted to on-field training in a specific voluntary project.
Chief Programmes Officer of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development and Director of Takatof Programme Maytha Al Habsi expressed her deep thanks to H.H Sheikh Abdullah for his call to hold this forum which brought together, probably for the first time, all organizations interested in volunteering across the UAE.
"The workshop represents a starting point for a series of workshops especially designed for all those who concerned with volunteer work, be they are employees or volunteers. It is a short version of a five-day comprehensive training course at the end of which participants will get an accredited certificate in essentials of volunteering" Al Habsi said.
HCT Director Dr. Al-Tayeb Kamali said "HCT is proud of cooperating and working in partnership with the Emirates Foundation and Takatof to develop this training course which aims to enhance cooperation with the corporate social responsibility programmes, improve skills of individuals and agencies interested in volunteering, and enhance their abilities to launch successful and effective voluntary projects.
The Emirates Foundation is a fully-integrated national initiative designed to enable young Emirati people reach their full potentials. With its strategy based on social investment, the foundation focuses its efforts to assist young people, associated institutions and community organizations to contribute to the nation's long-term progress and sustainability. The foundation's programmes and projects relates to three key themes: leadership and empowerment, social Inclusion and community engagement.
The Foundation launched Takatof Programme in 2007 as an initiative aimed to promote the culture of volunteering, encourage young people to volunteer in various community service projects. More than 26,000 male and female volunteers are so far registered in the programme.