Abu Dhabi will soon launch a comprehensive platform for volunteering and social innovations as well as a new government department dedicated to community development. .
The new initiative called Maan – meaning together in Arabic – was announced by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, on Monday.
He said it will “activate social cooperation and contribution in Abu Dhabi for all sectors of society, including nationals, expats and organisations [and] will also support the efforts of government organisations to strengthen volunteer work in the emirate.”
While there have been previous volunteer and social responsibility initiatives in the emirate, Maan will ensure that volunteers’ efforts are put where they are needed.
“The reason why Maan why was created is because there is no specific organisation on the ground to promote everything relating to community management and participation,” explained Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of the new Department of Community Development.
“There is no platform that encourages the creation of NGOs in the third sector.”
Maan will fall under the realm of the Department of Community Development, which was also announced by the Crown Prince on Monday.
The department will regulate community activities and issue licenses to those who wish to carry out social projects, while Maan will execute initiatives on the ground and provide a platform for members of the public to share their ideas and efforts.
While the introduction of a licensing process and new department to carry out social support projects may seem complicated to some, Dr Al Khaili said that it will in fact provide more opportunities.
Once an individual has registered with the department, they are in the database and can browse a variety of options for volunteering and to offer support.
“[Maam] was created on the concept of providing a decent life for every member of society,” explained Dr Al Khaili. “You should be able to use members of society to create a cohesive, robust and inclusive society for all individuals, departments and organisation to work together.
“If you look at the models around the world, and [specifically] the West, it is built on this shared responsibility approach, but unlike there, where you have a lot of NGOs and partnerships that promote this kind of work, this is a big gap we have in society today.”