A major humanitarian drive by Dubai has supported an estimated 70 million people in the past year.
From vaccines to tackle disease to funding for schools, more than Dh1.5 billion was spent on projects, mostly in the developing world.
An annual report released on Tuesday night also detailed humanitarian aid efforts and support for entrepreneurs at home and abroad.
The work of 33 government departments, NGOs and philanthropic groups is brought under the banner of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.
“Our goal is creating hope and building a better future for people wherever they may be through meeting the fundamental needs of societies,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
“I thank my team who devoted themselves to serving humanity. I am proud of them and their achievements in humanitarian work.”
The project’s five main pillars are: Humanitarian Aid and Relief, Spreading Education and Knowledge, Healthcare and Disease Control, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Empowering Communities.
At an event at Dubai Opera, the report set out that Spreading Education and Knowledge dominated the largest share of MBRGI’s total expenditure, which amounted to Dh628 million and benefited more than 41.1 million people across the world in 2018, while Dh313 million was spent on Healthcare and Disease Control projects and programmes, affecting 13.1 million people.
The expenditure on Humanitarian Aid and Relief totalled Dh271 million, supporting 11.9 million beneficiaries, in addition to Dh126 million invested in various projects and initiatives dedicated to Empowering Communities, which benefited 3.2 million people. The total spending on initiatives and programmes for Innovation and Entrepreneurship amounted to Dh131 million, directly benefiting about 640,000 people.
“With the leadership of my brother President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE carries on Sheikh Zayed’s legacy of giving. We believe that the more we give for humanity, the more His Almighty blesses our country with prosperity and peace,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Crucial to the Global Initiatives project is ensuring that help is not simply in the form of handouts, but long-term investment that will empower communities and lift them out of poverty.
“MBRGI’s initiatives, projects and programmes invest in the vital sectors that form the core of human development, primarily focusing on improving the educational and healthcare systems in less fortunate societies of the region and the world, besides dedicated efforts to knowledge, cultural and technology empowerment,” said Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, secretary general of the global initiatives project and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future.
“The foundation’s overarching mission exceeds donations and contributions to lead a long-term investment in people’s progress and promoting human values. This, by all measures, is a profitable investment.”
Another campaign is ensuring people in the developing world have easy access to clean water, ensuring they are not held back from education or growth by shortages of basic necessities.
About 216 water projects, including wells, water purification plants and water networks from UAE Water Aid (Suqia) were provided to 8.2 million people in 2018. The International Humanitarian City recorded 2,000 tonnes of aid dispatched to 619,000 beneficiaries across the world.
Closer to home, the UAE Food Bank distributed 74,000 meals to low-income families and workers.
As part of Dubai Future Foundation, the One Million Arab Coders Initiative was launched to teach young Arabs the language of the future, empowering them with essential technological skills to improve their career prospects and, in return, create a better future for the region.
“One of the noblest jobs of all is one that strives to make a positive change in the world,” added Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.