Inside the enterprising Abu Dhabi government organisation that puts children first

The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority is on a mission to support the emirate's next generation

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Staff at an Abu Dhabi authority dedicated to championing the needs of young children across the emirate never lose sight of their crucial mission.

For each time they walk into work at the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, they are reminded of the significance of their roles.

The authority's offices have been carefully designed to hark back to the innocence of childhood, with colourful artwork adorning the walls, a display of giant pencils drawing the attention of visitors and even a multicoloured printer taking pride of place.

It focuses the minds of team members on just who they are there to serve each day when they start work, say officials.

The ECA shapes key policies on health, family support, child protection and early learning aimed at supporting the capital's next generation.

Inside the Abu Dhabi office designed to remind staff of their childhood

Inside the Abu Dhabi office designed to remind staff of their childhood

“We are trying to create this environment to remind everyone why we are here, for whom do we work and who is our focus group,” said Thamer Rasher Al Qasimi, executive director of special projects and partnerships at the ECA.

“It is basically the children. And that is why you see this fun, joyful ... place.”

ECA general director Sana Mohamed Suhail told The National the authority sets out its goals to support families and to work with other departments across various sectors to achieve this.

“Our primary mandate is to oversee the early childhood development sector. So it's a very specific mandate,” she said.

“We work a lot with health, child protection, family support and early learning and education."

The ECA has an enabling and enriching role in its relations with these different entities, supporting children up to the age of 8, Ms Suhail said.

“We are very eager, we are very passionate. We do not claim that we are the best or have all the solutions."

Ms Suhail emphasised the work done by Mother of the Nation Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.

“There definitely is a lot of programmes and we know that with Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak our leadership have always been active on the children's agenda.

“We do believe that we do have the passion to pioneer this field.”

The authority was established under a decree by the President, Sheikh Khalifa in 2019.

On Tuesday, it will bring together more than 50 speakers concerned with child development at the two-day World Early Childhood Development forum Yas South Skate Park in Abu Dhabi.

Experts will debate and suggest the best family-friendly policies to help with raising children.

The forum will also focus on age-appropriate technology, 21st-century lifestyle, emotional well-being and social interaction for young ones.

It will also discuss how to let children play and exercise safely in a hot climate and how Covid-19 has affected disabled children.

Updated: March 12, 2022, 9:08 AM